July 12th, 2009
03:52 PM ET

All Good Festival :: Saturday Madness


(Photo: Yonder Mountain String Band)

Jarrett Bellini reports from the 13th annual All Good Festival in Masontown, West Virginia

“These guys are good.”

Cornmeal had an early 1pm time slot on Saturday, but those four words were overheard multiple times throughout the hill as the Chicago-based progressive bluegrass band treated the few early risers to a beyond solid set – one that goes down among the best of the fest.


However, Cornmeal wasn’t alone when it came to wowing the audience. Steve Kimock Crazy Engine also shined in the early hours, giving fans an opportunity to see the latest project by the guitar virtuoso. And joining him on this new venture is the legendary Jerry Garcia Band organist, Melvin Seals, providing a real extra special treat.

But it wasn’t either of these sets which will likely leave people still talking long after the festival. That honor belongs to the one and only Buckethead. All I’m going to say is that this set, while not my favorite performance of the weekend, was certainly the most memorable. It’s sort of a long story, so I’ve posted it separately, here.

The trophy for best musical set goes to Yonder Mountain String Band who, as the sun began to set, left it all on the stage for an hour and a half. The pickers from Colorado had the audience dancing and shaking, kicking up a joyful storm of dust into the cool summer sky. Of all the times I’ve seen them, this was the most fun they appeared to have, and their playful vibe carried on perfectly over the hill.


That being said, the evening went a little downhill from there. Ben Harper & RELENTLESS7 were the big Saturday headliner, but I just couldn’t seem to get into the show. Other people said they really enjoyed his new sound, but, for me, having already seen several great sets early in the day, and the night peaking with Yonder, everything else was kind of a let down.  It shouldn't have been, but that's just a testament to how great of a day we had out there.

Fortunately, I didn’t feel at all obligated to stick around into the wee hours of the morning; Umphrey’s McGee owned the late night hours, much to the pleasure of their younger audience. However, not being familiar with their music, I was more than happy to call it a (relatively) early night.

All in all, it was a solid day on the mountain.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Kayla Stoltzfus

    Umphreys was awesome, as was Ben harper. Bass Nectar sounded really good, but was not nearly loud enough to make me want to dance. One of the main reasons I went to All Good again was to see Bass Nectar and it was a complete disapointment.

    July 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Meredith Parr

    I agree!! I thought Umphreys was awsome! Sorry if its not your cup of tea. This year all good rocked! I will be going back again and again!

    July 18, 2009 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Perez

    since you like Jeff Austin, did you see Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin? That show was badass as well.

    July 17, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    First time I'd ever seen Umphrey's live. I'll have to admit, they TOTALLY BLEW ME AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved Yonder as well (Jeff Austin is GOD!). All in all, a VERY successful weekend. I'll be going back!

    BTW – this was my second all good, and I've seen 100s of dead shows. I'm (only) 41~! 😉

    July 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Perez

    Agreed. If Jarrett made it out there he obviously likes good music and not the awful stuff that gets media attention like the god forsaken Jonas Brothers.

    July 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EasyTanya

    Easy there Tanya – there's more than one perfectly fine reason that someone of normal health would need to chill out and not stand and see music after 10-12 hours of doing so for 2 days in a row...The writer obviously 'gets' music – he took the energy to make it to the mountain AND file all these stories while taking in the music.

    A young, hip scene needs a little less harshness, especially from people like you, and a little bit more compassion. I honestly feel that....

    July 14, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tanya

    Honestly, If you can't stay up late enough for Umphrey's, should you really be reporting about music festivals in the jam scene? You say you don't know much about them. Please please find someone who is actually in the jam scene to report about the music. Seriously, YOU don't know much about umphrey's? Umphrey's is EVERYTHING that is new and hip and fun about this scene. If you can't hang for bassnectar (who was clearly amazing), please, start reporting on the grand ole opry. A young and hip scene needs a young and hip reporter.

    July 14, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jarrettbellinicnn

      "Umphrey’s is EVERYTHING that is new and hip and fun about this scene."

      I'll be sure to pass that on to the other 30-plus bands that rocked All Good. 🙂

      (PS: I was there for Bassnectar and thought it was an awesome set! Watching from high up the hill gave me a really cool perspective of all the crazy fans.)

      July 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Perez

    Umphrey's is what I went for, there was no way in hell I was gonna miss it.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jarrettbellinicnn

    Hey guys. Didn't mean to suggest that U.M. didn't play a good set. The people I spoke to on Sunday morning said it was great. I've just, personally, never gotten into them. Sounds like it was a perfect time slot for their set, and everyone enjoyed.

    Trying to see ALL the music AND working was a bit tiring, and I was quite ready to head back to the RV-section to crash out in the tent having stayed up for all of moe. the previous night.

    Joe, you, on the other hand, are a warrior! You hugged that rail all day and night. Well done! Glad you enjoyed.

    As for Ben Harper... I saw the entire set, but I just wasn't feeling it. It rocked pretty well at the beginning, but I just lost interest. Doesn't mean it was bad, but that's my take on it. Personally, I would much rather have seen Dark Star Orchestra headline Saturday, and let Ben Harper take the Sunday close out. But, hey, we can't get everything we want – just have to enjoy all the good.

    Thanks for reading, guys. I mean that.

    July 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gordon Green

    I cannot believe Ben Harper was the 'head liner' for saturday night, I wanted to slit my wrists sitting there listening to his depressing rants. Aside from two times when he kicked it up from a 4 to a 7 by dancing around with a shaker and yelling into the mic, it was a lame show to get the night started. Line up should have been Ben Harper > Buckethead > YMSB (to bring the sun down) > STS9 > and Umphrey's to cap the night.
    p.s. Umphrey's F'in Killed It.
    p.p.s. If you're that old and can't take the heat, stick to VIP or Family Camping.

    July 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe Perez

    I met you! I was the guy that you talked to on that was on the rail all Saturday night! I saddened that you didn't write about the awesomeness that is Umphrey's McGee, but it is what it is. Told you I would look this stuff up.

    July 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aaron Coppock

    I TOTALLY agree Tim, NEVER should you even question a guy that can bring together John Paul Jones, Q-Love w/ himself..... You are a lazy reporter, and horrible writer...... U.McGree will rock out ANYwhere, and to this day, and I've yet to see Jack Johnson, Ben Harper is and will be my 2nd most memorable artist to see next to Ian Anderson....
    That does not count my 100's of Dead Shows...... And BTW I'm 33!!!

    July 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tim Miller

    I don't know how old you are but you better find something else to write about. Your opinions of the earlier bands are totally on, everybody was great. But you somehow managed to miss out on two of the best sets of the weekend which were Ben Harper and Umphrey's McGee! Other than moe.'s awesome set Fri night those two were the highlight of the weekend. Oh, and by the way I'm 43!

    July 13, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |

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