By Ryan Smith
THORNVILLE, Ohio —
THORNVILLE, Ohio — Legend Valley’s about to be All Good.
This year’s All Good Music Festival — grown over the past decade-and-a-half into one of the mid-Atlantic region’s premier summertime live music and camping events — is July 19 to 22, being presented for the first time at the historic Thornville venue after its years in West Virginia.
Headliners of this year’s festival include the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Flaming Lips, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with special guest Branford Marsalis, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus and Dark Star Orchestra plus more — a lot more.
We recently caught with up a couple of the bustling festival's very busy organizers — founder Tim Walther and spokesperson Dave Weissman — to ask a few questions about all (well, some) things All Good.
Here’s what they had to say:
Q: With the All Good at an all-new location this year, tell us about some of the ways festival organizers are working to create the foundation for the All Good community that’s born each year and that so many people have come to love and look forward to. Some festivalgoers have said things like the All Good “just won't be the same” now that it’s somewhere new. In what ways do you agree or disagree?
A: “The spirit of the venue is certainly the canvas on which the event takes place,” says Weissman. “While Marvin’s Mountaintop (in Masontown, W.Va.) set the artwork of the festival on a nice, tilted, hilly canvas, it just could not contain this event at this size. It was perfect in 2003 and as we began to grow, so did the growing pains of having the event in that rural of a spot.
“The magic of the event is really with the people attending: My mantra is ‘It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with.’ And that is so true with this event. We’ve got all the magic of the All Good Festival present and primed for 2012: Chris Kuroda (lighting director for Phish) doing ambient venue lighting, (and) we’ve got so many components and surprises and hundreds of people working to present an event just as epic or more than previous festivals we’ve thrown.”
Q: What’s made Legend Valley a good fit for the All Good? Tell those who’ve never been there a little of what we can expect.
A: “The layout of Legend Valley is ideal for an event of this magnitude,” says Weissman. “The gently sloping hills provide a much better footing than a steep mountainside. And who can argue with the historical factor that the Grateful Dead did half a dozen of their biggest shows at this place?
“Everyone will have a chance to meander the grounds with ease, and everyone can have a really great view of the world-class stage production we have showcasing some of the world’s best musical talent.
“Additionally, the ease of access is a huge factor! The parking lot entrance is less than 2,000 feet from Interstate 70, and this makes for much easier arrival and prevents delays from piling up and starting the festival without traffic backups.”
Q: Tell us about this year's lineup. What kind of thought/philosophy went into developing this year's long and wide list of performers?
A: “The goal,” says Walther, “is to have an energy that’s growing throughout the day. The goal when booking the lineup is that each band fazes into the next band with a good, strong transition where it all makes sense. And you’re right, when you have everyone in your festival all in one place and they have a band they haven’t heard of you want to make sure that band is going to turn everyone on and get people excited about their music. That’s certainly something I try to do and most of the time it comes off fairly well. I can’t recall any time that people were turning away from the music. The fans are great, they’re open-minded, they’re excited about new bands, and they give every band a shot.”
Q: Tell us a bit about what the All Good is and what it's become over the years. As the festival continues growing, in what way has it fundamentally changed, and in what ways has it stayed the same?
A: “Way back in the day with our first event in Brandywine, Md., we had 800 to 950 people," says Walther. "At that time I had a goal that 10 years from now, I’d like All Good to be up to 20,000 people. But my sense is that it doesn’t really need to grow beyond where it’s at now because I feel like we’re at the tipping point of having a larger festival that can still feel intimate. I think we have that, I think we have that charm, where every fan can feel like they’re a part of the event, as opposed to being at an even larger festival where you’re just one of the many thousands of fans.”
All Good to go
The 16th annual All Good Music Festival — the mid-Atlantic region’s largest summertime live music and camping event, featuring performances by dozens upon dozens of the summer festival scene’s most celebrated names — is July 19 to 22, for the first time at the historic Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio.
Headliners of this year’s festival include the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Flaming Lips, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with special guest Branford Marsalis, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus and Dark Star Orchestra plus more.
For the full lineup, pictures, live clips, ticket information and more, visit allgoodfestival.com and facebook.com/AllGoodMusicFestival.