It was an epic Friday night on the mountaintop!
Here, now, is this week's All Good edition of News of the Absurd.
(Photo: Keller Williams)
Jarrett Bellini reports from the 13th annual All Good Festival in Masontown, West Virginia
With clear skies and a comfortable chill in the air, All Good 13 finally kicked off last night at the Grassroots Stage, giving early-bird fans just a small taste of what is to come throughout the weekend. Keller Williams seemed to be the fan favorite of the first night, which also included sets by SeepeopleS, BoomBox, and DJ Harry. Instrumental electronic-rockers, Lotus, closed out the evening (er, morning) with a late night performance that began well after this blogger's bedtime. I'm sure it was wonderful – they're massively talented – but after a long day of setting up camp, sleep was wonderful, too.
The festival really starts off later today at 2pm when Hill Country Review finally opens up the All Good Stage at the base of the main concert hill. The music will continue, non-stop, straight into Saturday morning, with notable performances by Jackie Greene, Galactic, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Todd Snider, Les Claypool, and Bob Weir & RatDog.
The progressive rock band, moe., will close things out, and are scheduled to play until (gasp) four in the morning! Known for jamming longer and harder than almost any other band, they're definitely worth staying up for.
Thus, it looks like it's going to be a long night for Old Man Bellini.
(Photo: Ryan, Jarrett, and Andrew)
It all started in 2007 when my buddies and I decided to skip the usual bachelor party clichés – Vegas, strip club, Disney on Ice – and, instead, head up to the mountains of West Virginia for three days of music and camping. Now, it’s become a tradition… so long as we agree to loose standards when it comes to quantifying “tradition.”
In my eyes, there are three things that separate All Good from the other big summer gatherings – three important attributes that make it worth coming back year after year to see some of the very best of improvisational rock and roots.
For starters, All Good provides no overlapping sets. With only two main stages, nestled next to each other at the bottom of the same hill, one needs only to turn his or her head from the big stage to the small stage, and vice-versa, upon the completion of each set. The next act will already be geared up and ready to go, making the experience completely stress free. You never have to choose between bands, and there’s no wasted time walking from one stage to another. Though, it is recommended that you actually get up and move around from time to time. Festival hillside bed sores are totally not rock n’ roll.
The second thing that makes All Good all good is the setting. Believe it or not, the mountains of West Virginia offer far more than just fodder for cheap Appalachian humor. Quite simply, Marvin’s Mountaintop is beautiful. And while those other festivals manage to cram a large town’s worth of people into an open field, baking everyone under a hot sun, All Good folks camp out within scenic trees and valleys, enjoying mild summer weather that even manages to get chilly at night. And the sunsets… they’re truly unbeatable.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, All Good Festival likely offers the most bang for your buck. In fact, tickets for this weekend-long event start at $109. The other big festivals start at about $250. I’ve never been good with numbers, but that’s like a $400 difference. (Was I close?) Now, I’ll grant you that the likes of Bonnaroo and Rothbury offer considerably more bands and some truly world class big acts. However, as I already mentioned, with all those overlapping sets, fans are forced to make tough decisions. Personally speaking, making tough decisions has never been my forte. I believe I still have an unfinished text vote from the second season of American Idol. It's a rather unfortunate personality trait, and I'm fairly certain that having to make said tough decisions in the intense summer heat would likely lead to an afternoon spent crying inside my tent, curled up in the fetal position. Again, totally not rock n' roll.
So, really, when it comes right down to it, for far less money, you end up enjoying the same amount of entertainment at All Good, but without having to miss a moment of music. Plus you get mountains. Mmmmmm... mountains.
And with that, the music starts later this evening. Thursday is early-bird arrival day, and Keller Williams looks to be the big act of the night. More to come from the mountaintop where, already, things are feeling all good.
We're back with another episode of NOTA. To our regular viewers – sorry for that week off, but Paul and I felt we earned a short breather after cranking out 100 of these ridiculous things.
Naturally, the theme for one-oh-one is 4th of July. Not sure how you all are spending your holiday, but I just got back from running Atlanta's famous Peachtree Road Race 10k. Not my very best effort, but I'm proud to report that I didn't end up lying dead in a gutter near 10th street. Generally speaking, that qualifies as "having a bad race."
So, here's our latest episode. Enjoy!
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