Word by: Jarrod Dicker | Images by: Jeffrey
All Good Festival :: 07.08.10-07.11.10
Marvin's Mountaintop ::
All Good Music Festival is the premier summer event that completely satisfies its
moniker in both an audible and societal sense. Nestled comfortably on Marvin's Mountaintop, the
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
Funkadelic, etc. and you had a recipe that bolsters the truly celebrates 14 years
of sights and sounds
where life is actually "All Good."
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.
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.
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
Following GAT's Saturday evening performance was bluegrass favorite's Yonder Mountain String
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.
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
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
throughout the local community and other departments around the neighborhood as a symbol
of gratitude for their
"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
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).
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."
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
"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."
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