Words by: Andrew Bruss | Images by: Kenny Pusey
All Good Festival :: 07.09.09 – 07.12.09 :: Marvin's Mountaintop :: Masontown, West Virginia
While Ben Harper and Relentless7 drove through their headlining slot, Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk told JamBase, "All Good Festival is an absolutely wonderful festival. It's awesome. You've got a fuckin' mountainside and from what I've seen - we played All Good three years before - it's one of the better festivals." Dumpstaphunk played an appropriately scheduled slot right before Harper took the stage, and Neville couldn't have been happier with his audience. "It's a fucking sea of people, man, absolute music lovers and they love different genres of music. [You've got] bluegrass fans, electronica fans. It's sick that different kinds of shit all goes down."
|All Good 2009|
Neville pinned the proverbial tail on the donkey when he called All Good one of the best festivals with a collection of devoted music fans from the greater mid-Atlantic and beyond. All Good took place on Marvin's Mountaintop, a location of panoramic beauty on the outskirts of Masontown, WV. Although greater Masontown seemed to have been carved out of the earth with TNT, the event's Masontown location provided nothing but ideal geography for a four-day music festival. The rolling hills gave ample room for camping and vending, with wooded areas offering more adventurous campers some extra legroom, but the icing on the cake was the stage-grounds. With no overlapping sets, two stages were set up side by side against a backdrop that Jake Cinninger (Umphrey's McGee) called "the concert bowl." From within the air-conditioned confines of their tour bus, he added, "I'm a huge fan of festivals that have some sort of geography. I like this, 'I can see your house from here,' mentality. Just sitting here on the bus, we can look 60 miles in one direction and see a bridge, and in the other direction, a city of tents."
For as much as the grounds proved to be a major player in the weekend's smooth production, the festival would have been nothing but a major campout without the lineup. Topping the bill, Bob Weir & RatDog shared headlining honors with Harper. Official late night sets were given to jam titan's moe. and Umphrey's McGee, with Bassnectar and SOJA playing abbreviated sets on the side stage while things on the main stage transitioned from headliner to late nighter.
It seems as though every festival these days is stretching its length with an unofficial kick-off Thursday night, and All Good was no exception. While the main stage was still being erected, a smaller, more intimate performance area was set up deeper into the campgrounds. Keller Williams followed BoomBox, a DJ/guitar duo that raised the flow of blood in everybody's veins. Without his Keels or WMD's, Keller was left alone, performing his looped-out, one-man band shtick that won his audience over in the first place. Set highlights like "Freaker By The Speaker," and Nirvana's "All Apologies" demonstrated Keller's technical proficiency, in addition to his natural talent as a performer. Throughout the set, he did some vocal soloing through the buzzing of his lips that sounded like it came from Louis Armstrong's trumpet, and while playing an air-bass solo, he tossed his imaginary instrument into the air and caught it on the beat.
|All Good 2009|
Lotus followed Keller with a set that raged well into the a.m., giving all those early birds something to keep their feet moving to. For as much fun as the glow stick wars may have been, their set left something to be desired. A great deal of All Good attendees seemed to have come from Rothbury (read our review here), where Lotus performed a "secret" late night set, and many-a-head agreed that they were having an off night.
Continue reading for Friday's coverage of All Good...