Marvin’s Mountaintop (host and venue for the All Good Music Festival) is, in fact, a legitimate mountain. It took approximately 4 hours to get from the start of the line to our camp home for the weekend; winding roads, steep hills, and wide open fields were common characteristics of the scenery. Special findings on the trip to the top included a donkey sighting in a roadside pasture, fields of round hay bales (which made perfect cover for females emptying their bladders), and one house along the way who had installed a water sprinkler in close proximity to passing cars. The cold, flying water landing on arms hanging out of windows offered a split second of refreshing relief from the sweltering heat.

Paved stretches of road leading up the mountain sounded like splashing water as rubber tires made contact with sun-soaked, nearly-melted blacktop. Further along the trail, pavement disappeared and was replaced with gravel. Visibility reduced to almost zero as festival goers entered Marvin’s dustbowl. Craters big enough to accommodate basketballs peppered the road, inviting motorists to an involuntary game of car Frogger as they attempted to avoid breaking an axle on the potholes.

All Good did a great job of communicating via signage while patrons waited in line. “Both lanes, one way” was the biggest aid; “Respect private property” reminded us that we were invading the normalcy of the permanent residents on Marvin’s Mountaintop; and “Port-a-potties just a head” signaled upcoming strategically placed relief stations all along the trail. One such sign had been edited by a Jerry Garcia fan; the revised sign read: Port-a-potties just a dead head.

My personal wait time was perhaps longer than the average person’s delay. After approximately 40 minutes at a standstill, the road was full of restless hippies drinking beer outside of their vehicles, making friends with their line neighbors, and trying to discover the cause for the line stagnation. Although it was never confirmed, I heard through the grapevine that two RV’s had broken down next to each other, impeding the ability to move forward in either lane.


  • Liz O'Donnell

Entrance to the official venue occurred after one last climb of a super-steep hill that gave way to a beautiful on look of the concert field. The message “Welcome to All Good” greeted festival goers from a fence atop the giant hill. At approximately 5 p.m. on Thursday evening, the “Big Meadow” camping area was already at capacity and new arrivals were filling in space at the back of the mountaintop- certainly an effect of the four-day tickets selling out.

  • Scarlet Rayne

I caught the latter half of (former Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia Band vocalist) Donna Jean Godchaux’s set, but was less than impressed with the mildly active performance and barely stimulating music.

Fort Knox Five followed Godchaux. The four-piece DJ band from D.C. used the existing jumbotron screens to display vintage 60’s footage of urban culture. Their show, super funky and slightly reggae, relied heavily on crowd participation.

The highlight of my Thursday Throw Down was unquestionably DJ Harry. Between sets, the Colorado native spun for the crowd from the smaller Crane Stage while bands switched out and set up on the Dragon Stage. His beats made my feet dance and moved my body, despite it weariness from a day of travel, waiting in line, and camp erection. In a word, his musical selections and mixing are best described simply as “fun”.

It was here that the first Big Nazo sighting of the weekend occurred. Large, brightly colored, extraterrestrial beings invaded the open space surrounding DJ Harry. Two of them bared resemblance to wrinkly, wart-infested reincarnations of Patrick, the starfish from Spongebob Squarepants. Another, much taller than his buddies, resembled a rounder and friendlier-looking Creature from the Black Lagoon. After the crowd was fully alert, two additional one-eyed Nazos joined their posse on stage and jumped around to DJ Harry’s music.

Admittedly not a follower of The Grateful Dead gospel, Dark Star Orchestra offered little appeal to my ears. I stayed long enough to hear the absurdly appropriate “Fire on the Mountain” and soon retired to camp. What began as a nap to prepare for The New Deal (whose set commenced at 2 a.m.) unknowingly turned into an overnight slumber. Disappointing? Yes. Necessary? Perhaps. The extra hours of rest proved to be vital preparation for the next two nights of raging; bed time at All Good doesn’t fall until at least 3 in the morning.


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