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W.Va.'s All Good Festival lives up to its name

Masontown outdoor concert features national acts

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, July 16, 2010

Updated: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:07

 MASONTOWN, W.Va. – The 14th Annual All Good Festival rolled onto Marvin's Mountaintop last weekend, providing attendees more than 40 hours of live music and countless other spectacles.  More than 20,000 music fans packed onto 300 acres of rolling hillside from Thursday to late Sunday evening.

Kicking off the weekend's festivities was the sounds of Grateful Dead alum Donna Jean Godchaux.  Following her set was Fort Knox Five and Dark Star Orchestra, all performing on the main stage, dubbed the Dragon Stage.  DJ Harry performed between each group's set on the smaller, adjacent Crane Stage.

By the time Dark Star Orchestra hit the stage at 10:45, the venue was packed with attendees.  The band, which usually re-enacts full sets from the Grateful Dead, played an original setlist including songs such as "Scarlet Begonias," "I Know You Rider," and "St. Stephen."  Canadian electro-rock band The New Deal kept the music going until just past 4 a.m.

Bands such as The Bridge, Tea Leaf Green, Everyone Orchestra and Femi Kuti and the Positive Force got things started on a rainy Friday afternoon, but things kicked into gear with the quick-paced bluegrass of Old Crow Medicine Show.

"There's something about these guitars and fiddles that make ‘em sound better in West-by-God," exclaimed Ketch Secor, who handles fiddle, banjo, harmonica, and lead vocal duties for the group.  

After the trance-infused sounds of Dr. Didg had ended on the Crane Stage, Lydia Main, the mayor of Masontown, welcomed the crowd.

"I'm sorry, I can do a lot of things in my town, but I cannot stop the rain," the mayor said, followed by a loud cheer from a crowd unbothered by the steady downpour. After stumbling through her introduction of Umphrey's McGee, Main succumbed to the eager audience and simply said, "OK, now you'll hear some music!"

Umphrey's McGee broke into "Booth Love" after taking the stage. The band kicked into overdrive with high energy songs "Bridgeless" and "Miss Tinkle's Overture." The set also featured a cover of Miles Davis' "It's About That Time." Closing out the hour and a half set with "Divisions," the band placed an instrumental version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" in the middle of the song. 

Guitarist Jake Cinninger said avoiding getting burned out on life as a touring musician comes down to the nature of the music played by the band.  "There is a million ways to play a song, and you can play with different emotions.  We try to play like old jazz players, mixing things up as much as possible."  

Once Cornmeal ripped through its set on the Crane Stage, Lesh joined Bob Weir and the rest of Furthur. The crowd was treated to two more sets full of Grateful Dead classics.

Providing DJ duties after Furthur was Bassnectar, who riled up the crowd into a glowstick-throwing frenzy. The other late night on Saturday belonged to another electronic-oriented band Lotus. 

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