All Good | 07.08-07.11 | West Virginia

Word by: Jarrod Dicker | Images by: Jeffrey Dupuis

All Good Festival :: 07.08.10-07.11.10
Marvin's Mountaintop :: Masontown, West Virginia

All Good Music Festival is the premier summer event that completely satisfies its cheerful, laid-back moniker in both an audible and societal sense. Nestled comfortably on Marvin's Mountaintop, the four day extravaganza flaunts over 40 hours of music on three different stages with no overlapping acts, period. Celebrating its 14th anniversary, this year's mid-Atlantic holiday held nothing back, scheduling over 35 bands for around-the- clock performances that left you sacrificing sleep for fear of missing anything.

Unofficially, this year's All Good Festival had become a multi-day tribute to the music and culture of the Grateful Dead. While other mega-acts were peppered throughout the lineup, Dead affiliated groups were undoubtedly worth their salt, drawing packed crowds throughout each of their respected sets.

This year, the ingredients for "goodness" were simple: Great music, laid-back vibes, beautiful scenery, and friendly people. Dash on some of the best musicians on the scene like Widespread Panic, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, George Clinton and Parliament- Funkadelic, etc. and you had a recipe that bolsters the truly celebrates 14 years of sights and sounds where life is actually "All Good."

Bob Weir
Forever Grateful
Friday evening, festival juggernauts Furthur took the stage and performed nearly four hours of material for the 15th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's last performance with the Grateful Dead. Repeating only three tracks that were performed at Garcia's last show in July of 1995 ("Cumberland Blues," "So Many Roads" and "Sugar Magnolia"), Furthur injected vigor into various Dead classics from "Brown-Eyed Women" in the first set to kicking off the second set with "Uncle John's Band" and encoring with "Ripple." They even glossed over original work with new track "Colors of the Rain," which fit soundly with the unruly weather Friday night.

On Thursday, the Donna Jean Godchaux Band opened the musical celebration, honoring the Dead with "Sugaree" and "Help on the Way/Slipknot!," where guitarist Jeff Mattson further promoted his ability to mimic Jerry's playing (and even physical demeanor) to a T. Dark Star Orchestra, who headlined Thursday night's festivities, were the talk of the festival. Faced with categorical adversity, the Grateful Dead "cover band" truly lived up to their insistence that they are prolonging the message of the Dead as a "spirit band." Performing an original set, DSO highlighted a series of hits including "Cassidy," "China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider," and "Not Fade Away." A beautiful sight to be seen and heard, DSO successfully made believers out of doubters atop Marvin's Mountain.

Donna Jean Godchaux
Late Night Revels
Customary to most festival's late night acts, All Good provided an overnight scene packed with electronica and DJ sets by The New Deal, Bassnectar, Lotus, DJ Harry and others to offer some momentous fuel to keep the audiences' tanks off empty.

However, two major highlights of this festival were from late night performers who are not wedged into the hip- hop/electronica field. On Saturday night, improvisation laced experimental jazz quartet Garage A Trois took the stage and launched the audience on a journey via manipulated horns, keys, circuit bent toys and doorbell sounds. Amassing the best improvisational artists on the scene, this jam band mega-group of Marco Benevento, Mike Dillon, Stanton Moore and Skerik have further positioned themselves as forces to be reckoned with when considering the must-see groups on the jam circuit. They performed their staple cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," which left half of the crowd struggling to lift their jaws from the grass and muck.

Following GAT's Saturday evening performance was bluegrass favorite's Yonder Mountain String Band, who carried the musical torch energetically into the night. The group hit some newer material ("Out Of The Blue") and rested lightly on covers, channeling Ozzy Osbourne ("Crazy Train") and J.J. Cale ("After Midnight"). Diehard fans were pleased by the band dipping into their first album Elevation with "Mental Breakdown" and "If There's Still Ramblin' in the Rambler." Even late into the night, YMSB can re-ignite the sky with blazing bluegrass riffs and high energy on stage persona that make the audience in attendance oblivious to the chirping birds and impending sunrise as they edge into morning.

Keller Williams
K-Dub Sandwich
Sunday, the final day of the festival, was reserved for Keller Williams, bookending the festival with a morning and afternoon closing set. The morning run, dubbed Keller's Moonshine Breakfast, involved husband and wife duo Larry & Jenny Keel for a set that focused primarily on their new album, Thief (a collection of cover songs), but peppered in some hits to the crowd's delight. Passing out moonshine to all the early risers, fans were pleasantly bopping to bluegrass renditions of Marcy's Playground's "Sex and Candy" and Kris Kristofferson's "Year 2003 Minus 25" 'til they tipped over. Later in the day, the All Good legend closed the festival with Keller Williams & The Added Bonus, comprised of Claude Arthur, Jay Starling and Toby Fairchild. As stated earlier, All Good 2010 unofficially paid homage to the Grateful Dead throughout the weekend and as expected, the Added Bonus put the icing on the cake with renditions of "Bertha" and "Shakedown Street."

Widespread Panic
Beyond the Music
Beyond the spectacular variety of music and festivities All Good provides for its fans, it also contributes its altruistic nature to the residents of Masontown, West Virginia as well. In a town where the population tops out at 1,000 strong, it can often be overwhelming to see tens of thousands of "strangers" roll through your neighborhood for one weekend each year. But as Tim Walther of Walther Productions explains, All Good donates funds throughout the local community and other departments around the neighborhood as a symbol of gratitude for their space.

"We generate a ton of revenue to all of the local retail outlets," he told the Meadville Tribune. "We generate a lot of taxes for the state, we put local folks and companies to work for the week and we hire local nonprofit groups."

The festival also donates funds to the local Masontown Fire Department, who provide a shower service for the event. All Good also prides itself on working with even larger non-profits like the Rex Foundation, Conscious Alliance, Headcount, and Rock the Earth. All Good is truly a festival where the name fits the place (and the people).

New Mastersounds
Key Covers
Umphrey's McGee wowed the crowd on a hazy, grey afternoon. Rolling through hits old and new, the jam band princes performed an instrumental " I'm On Fire" (Bruce Springsteen) and a flawless "It's About That Time" (Miles Davis). Greensky Bluegrass woke up Shakedown dwellers with "We're an American Band" (Grand Funk Railroad) on the Grassroots Stage. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi kicked off their performance with The Beatles' " I've Got a Feeling" and teased Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock" midway through their set. Donna Jean Godchaux and Jeff Mattson channeled The Beatles as well, displaying dual vocals on "She Said, She Said."

Key Collaborations
Derek Trucks sat in with Widespread Panic to close their first set with "Second Skin," "Gimme," and "Henry Parsons Died." Earlier in the evening Panic's Jimmy Herring sat in with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Jennifer Hartswick played trumpet with Tea Leaf Green on "Georgie P" as well as joining the Rex Jam during the Everyone Orchestra set. Dark Star Orchestra's Rob Koritz sat in with Donna Jean Godchaux Band and Baltimore's The Bridge for "Geraldine."

JamBase | Mountain High
Go See Live Music!

View more photos below or flip over to page two to check 'em all out on one screen.

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



To read comments and participate in this story, please visit the Articles forum »