Festival Report—2015 All Good Music Festival and Camp Out

The "Welcome To All Good" signs at the venue. Original photo taken by David Wilder.

The "Welcome To All Good" signs at the venue. Original photo taken by David Wilder.

The 2015 All Good Music Festival and Camp Out took place from July 9-11 at Berry Hill Farm in Summit Point, West Virginia. Headliners included Primus, moe., Cake, Thievery Corporation, Lotus, SOJA, and STS9. The full artist lineup for this year's festival can be found here.

Lineup and Performances

All Good Festival always offers a superb mix of genres, featuring jam bands, funk, rock, bluegrass, jazz, hip hop, and electronic—there's something for nearly everyone to enjoy. As usual, I was more-than-thrilled with the lineup this year. There were plenty of my favorite acts from previous All Good Festivals that I have attended: Yonder Mountain String Band, Dark Star Orchestra, Primus, STS9, Lotus, moe., SOJA, Lettuce, John Butler Trio, The Bridge, etc. There were some bands that I had seen before, but not at All Good: TAUK, Turkuaz, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and Keller Williams. And there were a few bands that I had never seen before that I was really looking forward to: Twiddle, The Motet, Antibalas, Thievery Corporation, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Cake, BoomBox, and Big Something.

Out of all the bands that I had the privilege to see, I thought Primus put on the most entertaining show, really captivating the crowd with some hilarious anecdotes and outrageous antics from bassist Les Claypool, in-your-face rock 'n roll, and psychedelic visuals (complete with two larger-than-life amanita muscaria mushrooms that framed the stage). Claypool told a story about a woman who shot her television while her children were watching Primus videos and how Nancy Grace from Fox News found fault in not the woman's act, but in Primus for coming up with a song named "My Name is Mud". Naturally, the band launched into the song immediately after the story—to worshipful applause from the audience.

Other highlights included Big Something, Turkuaz, The Motet, Antibalas, and Dark Star Orchestra. I wish I could say that I saw all the bands that I wanted to see, but as usual, it wasn't feasible to make it to all of them during the course of the weekend.

Location

This was my fifth consecutive All Good Festival, my first being back in 2010 at Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia. The festival took a hiatus last year in an effort to find a more permanent location, after spending two years (2012-2013) at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. A lot of folks didn't care for the Legend Valley location, which most likely led to All Good's decision to take the year off and move back to West Virginia. Many attendees I spoke to preferred Marvin's Mountaintop over any other location the festival has experimented with, but most were generally favorable about the new location in Summit Point.

Berry Hill Farm is flatter than Marvin's Mountaintop, and much smaller than both of the aforementioned festival grounds. There was not an actively-trafficked road to cross on the walk from the campgrounds to the venue, which was an oft-cited complaint I heard from festival attendees that followed All Good to Legend Valley, but crossing the road to get to the venue didn't bother me. Overall, I found the festival grounds at Berry Hill Farm to be nice. It is small enough to be cozy and run into the same people over and over again, but not so tiny that it became cramped with the roughly 12,000 people in attendance. 

Vendors

There were some solid vendors selling clothing, artwork, memorabilia, musical instruments, and food. Although all I purchased was an official festival t-shirt, there were some pretty impressive items for sale. I considered purchasing a hand drum, but was shocked at the price and decided against it. My campsite group brought a ton of food, but we were lucky to find a local vegan tent that had a scrumptious falafel pita sandwich with tempeh bacon, which we enjoyed several times throughout the weekend.

Weather

Aside from a brief, yet violent, rainstorm on the first day of the festival (which occurred shortly after—and not while—we set up our campsite, thank goodness!), the weather was pretty reasonable this year. It was hot, but it wasn't so unbearable that you couldn't make it from the campsite to the venue if you had the proper motivation. The fact that the walk from campsite to venue wasn't very long helped!

Overall Conclusion

I had a pretty good time at this year's All Good Festival. It wasn't my favorite year (that would be 2012), but that wasn't the festival's fault—it was mostly due to to how my group approached the festival this year and some uncontrollable events that occurred. I feel like I spent more time at the campsite than usual, mainly to stay out of the heat or just to rest. If I had to do it all over again, I'd make myself go out to the venue more often, even if all I could do was lie down and listen to the music by myself. I'm not sure if I'll go back again next year, but I'm not ruling it out. I would definitely recommend All Good Festival to anyone who is interested in listening to a lot of great music and hanging out with interesting people. Since attending All Good Festival 2010 (which was my first music festival), it has been a big part of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone to the ones that I did. Thanks to the festival organizers for putting on yet another solid event this year, and maybe I will see you back at the farm next year!