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Transplanted, 'transcendent' All Good is this weekend

Courtesy photo
A fan at the 2012 All Good Music Festival dances to the music. The 2013 All Good Music Festival runs Thursday through Saturday at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio, approximately two-and-a-half hours from Charleston.

WANT TO GO?

All Good Music Festival

WHERE: Legend Valley, Thornville, Ohio

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday

TICKETS: 4-day pass $250, 3-day pass $195, 2-day pass $135, Sunday only $70 INFO: Visit www.allgoodfestival.com

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See the Gazette's slideshow of last year's All Good Music Festival here.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The All Good Music Festival returns to the area this weekend, and, while it's no longer a West Virginia-based music festival, it's still pretty close. (From Charleston, the distance to Legend Valley is almost the same as it is to Masontown, where the festival was located for nine years).

The gazz spoke with All Good's media director and biggest cheerleader, Dave Weissman, about how the festival is settling in its new digs and what's worth checking out this weekend on the festival grounds.

Q:It's been a year since All Good relocated from Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown to Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. How's that working out?

A: "It's great. The venue is very well set up. I mean, The Grateful Dead, did 60,000 people there for a half-dozen shows in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It has a nice, sloping concert bowl and is centrally located. It's just outside of Columbus, a little west of Zanesville and about a quarter mile off Interstate 70."

Q:What changes has All Good undergone lately?

A: "We're still continuing to improve the production, improve security, like with the check-ins into the concert bowl. We've got RFID wristbands, but we're also staying modern, listening to feedback and are close to launching an iPhone and Android app for the festival. It could be out any minute, and it's an app that will help you plan what you'll be doing at All Good."

Q:Are you still using the double-barreled, side-by-side stages with one band getting set up while another plays?

A: "Exactly! That's something [All Good founder] Tim Walther prides himself on. Every band on our lineup that you paid to see, you get to see them. You don't have to run to another stage and see 10 minutes of this band, then run somewhere else and see 15 minutes of that band.

"We try to stand out, not with 100 bands, but with 45 bands that you could see all of them if you chose -- if you had enough sunscreen and food to stay in the concert bowl that long."

Q:There are a lot of returning acts at this year's festival, including Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Further and Primus. These are pretty well-known acts, but what about some of the lesser-known performers? Who should people watch for?

A: "That's true. We have a lot of returning acts but, obviously, we've got some rising artists, too. We have a great late-night band performing in the afternoon called Kung Fu. They're from out of Connecticut and have some members from Deep Banana Blackout and The Breakfast, a band that used to be Psychedelic Breakfast, and they're just this fun funk supergroup.

"We also have the Everyone Orchestra. This is where we get some people from each band, anywhere from 8 to 10 people or more, and put them together. Say ... we get a couple of guys from Leftover Salmon and maybe the drummer from Primus. You never know. We've had Bob Weir [The Grateful Dead, Furthur] play in the Everyone Orchestra.

"It's just an improvisational wonder set.

"Matt Butler conducts, and he writes out different instructions on a dry-erase board and these different musicians, some of whom have never worked together before, come up with something. You just don't know where it's going to go -- and they don't know either.

"To me, it's the top of what jam bands and improvisation is all about. It's transcendent."

Q:How soon until All Good starts work on next year's festival?

A: "We start to look at feedback from patrons by August, and then start planning and locking in headliners for next year as early as September. It usually takes three or four months for it to solidify, and then we make our announcement in February. All Good is a year-long process."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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