Would the move to Ohio make entry to All Good Music Festival easier this year? Andrew Bender checks in.
After a Saturday jam-packed with music at the 15th annual All Good Music Festival, I was looking forward to Sunday’s lighter lineup. One of the biggest challenges of open field tent camping at a music festival is partying into the wee hours and trying to get adequate sleep, without being cooked alive in your tent in the morning summer sun like broccoli in a bamboo steamer.
After waking up in my own personal sauna and cooling off in the West Virginia mountain air I headed up to the stage area where Sunday openers All Mighty Senators were already on the main Dragon Stage. The Baltimore-based funk-soul quintet was working hard to bring their P-Funkesque sound to the noontime set; unfortunately, their set was one of the less well attended of the weekend, probably because so many folks had taken full advantage of Saturday’s final All Good late night sets – or they were still in their tents, being braised in their own juices.
Following the Senators on the Dragon Stage were Michigan-based stringsters Greensky Bluegrass whose Saturday Rock n’ Roll in Disguise playshop set at the Grassroots Stage showed one reason why they continue to garner attention. Unlike the previous day that featured covers of songs by Talking Heads, Prince and Traffic, Sunday’s set featured mostly originals and roots covers. A sizeable audience was on hand to see GB play mostly older tunes like All Four, the Reverend and No Idea which were supplemented by a strong cover of Townes Van Zandt’s White Freightliner Blues. Closing our their hour long set mandolin player Paul Hoffman took lead vocals on a newer original tune Don’t Lie (not to be confused with the Black Eyed Peas song of the same name) that demonstrated even greater maturity in their consistently skillful songwriting.
READ ON for more from Sunday at the All Good fest…
The setting sun behind the rolling hills of West Virginia provided a fittingly bucolic backdrop for the opening performances of the 15th Annual All Good Music Festival. The mountaintop festival site was already well filled in when we rolled in just before noon, and by the time dusk approached, the party was in full swing.
Opening the weekend’s long roster of festival favorites was the West Coast’s Hot Buttered Rum. At most festivals I’ve been to, the audience attendance at opening act is somewhat lacking. Luckily, this was not the case at this year’s All Good, a festival that sold out their 4-day festival passes almost a week in advance of the event. Estimates of attendance at Thursday night are approximately 18,000. According to festival sources, last year’s festival was capped at an attendance of 25,000, and there’s some expectation that this year should approach or surpass last year’s total attendance.
This was only the second time I had seen HBR since their transition from Hot Buttered Rum String Band a few years, and I continue to be impressed with their direction from the straight-up bluegrass roots to a rhythm infused act more in line with Railroad Earth or String Cheese Incident of many years ago. Notable highlights from Hot Buttered Rum’s set included a hot cover of New Minglewood Blues, an enthusiastic and well received Limbs Akimbo, and Busted in Utah. In betweet sets, DJ Who laid down some beats and kept the party going while the main stage was cleared and set up for Beats Antique – a trio act merging members of Yard Dogs Road Show, Aphrodesia, with dance and drums for a mutli-instrumental, rhythm and heavy bass laden performance.
READ ON for more from Andrew about Day One of All Good…