It's ALL GOOD! Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis, The Lumineers!
Hipsters to Hippies, senior citizens to strollers, folks of all walks of life converged on the small town of Thornville, Ohio this past weekend for four days of good feelings and good music. After spending the last 10 years in West Virginia, The All Good Music Festival and Camp Out settled in quite nicely into its new Central Ohio location at Legend Valley, an established concert and festival venue that has been hosting acts like The Allman Brothers for over 30 years.
What makes All Good stand out from most other Summer music festivals is its promise to its patrons that they will never have to miss a set because of overlapping performances. To manage this, All Good is set up with one main concert venue that has two stages side by side, allowing one stage to get set up while a performance is going on on the other. As soon as a performance is done, the next act is often on the stage ready to take it away, and the audience simply has to turn and look, or shuffle their feet a bit to get a better view.
The concert area was set up beautifully and the idea worked like a charm. Credit to Legend Valley though as there doesn’t appear to be a bad seat in the house. Set up as a natural amphitheater, the ground slopes up gently a ways from the stage, and then the slope of the lawn increases as you get further back, allowing for even the relaxed crowd on their blankets to have a great few of the show going on in front of them.
Dead Heads old and young alike flocked to All Good this year to see such prominent Grateful Dead alums such as Phil Lesh & Friends, The Mickey Hart Band, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby featuring Branford Marsalis, and of course, the legendary Grateful Dead cover band, Dark Star Orchestra. Other highly anticipated headlining acts included Yonder Mountain String Band, The Flaming Lips, and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
I had only seen a couple of the artists appearing at All Good this year, and so I was excited to get my first taste of what these acts had to offer. Not wanting to miss a moment, Autumn and I set out from Lancaster, PA at around 3 am on Thursday morning and set out due West for a seven hour drive and an anticipated long wait at the gate. We arrived with plenty of time, which is good, because we then, as expected proceeded to wait in line for two hours before actually getting to our campsite.
Upon arrival, we immediately noticed a dark and ominous storm cloud creeping up behind us, and made an executive decision to wait it out before setting up our tents. Minutes later it started down pouring, soaking all of our neighbors but leaving us happy to start setting up our site, bone dry, just a half hour later.
Though admittedly, neither of us are camping experts, we set up camp with little difficulty, and with plenty of time for us to get in a power nap before the fun got started for the night. Trampled By Turtles opened up All Good, but because of poor event planning, most people missed it. There was only one entrance/exit to the concert area of All Good, causing a back up at the gate where many festival goers waited well over 30 minutes just to get in.
Once in though, All Good did not disappoint. The headliners throughout the festival impressed, of course, but it was some of the other acts that weren’t as well known to the Average Joe (aka me) that were truly highlights of the weekend. I start with exhibit A, The Lumineers. The Lumineers helped open the festival as the second act, the first on the Crane Stage. As fans were trickling in, they were immediately drawn to this up-and-coming folk act.
After rocking the crowd, Wes Schultz, guitarist and singer of the Lumineers was kind enough to talk with me for a little bit. He enlightened me with a fun little factoid. Last year, the Lumineers were asked to play exactly zero summer music festivals. However, after extensive touring throughout the fall and winter months, word spread of this band and their raucus live shows, and this summer, Wes says they’re playing over a dozen festivals, and they can really see the results.
The crowds are getting larger, they’re singing along, and Wes says they’re starting to come to see them specifically, rather than sitting through their set while waiting for another to start. When asked to what he attributes their of-late success, Wes, a New Jersey native, reverts back to the old adage, “The harder we work the luckier we get,” and says that they have a great fanbase that is constantly getting the word out.
The Lumineers helped the crowd forget about long lines and downpours, but it was Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis that got them remembering why they came. Then Phil Lesh & Friends convinced them to stay. Unfortunately, after a long day of travel and dead camera battery, Autumn and I were too tired to catch what we can only assume was a wild, trippy, adventure of a set by Shpongle, but from all other accounts, it did not disappoint. Stay tuned for Day 2 and 3! Check out the photo gallery below.