Friday, July 25, 2008


Good question indeed. Wonder where this was taken?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Good? Well, Mostly

Another year’s festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop has come and gone, leaving behind a mountain of trash and 18,000 hangovers. I must admit I was better behaved this year than in the past; however, still wild by most folk’s standards. What can I say? I’m still twelve and get excited when I visit the “Island of Lost Boys”.

I had hoped that gas prices would keep the attendance down this year but that was not to be. It was the biggest All Good I have been to with reported crowds of somewhere between 18 and 20 thousand. We arrived by early afternoon on Thursday and by that night the place was packed. With the heavy crowds came the usual headaches encountered at this type of event: longer lines, more burnout wookie wastoids, a longer hike to the main stage, and definitely more noise 24 hours a day. One of our fellow campers, when pleading for a nitrous vendor to shut up at 4:00 am, was admonished for her request and reminded that All Good is not for sleeping. Reluctantly, the low life nitrous tank jockey relocated only to be replaced by another at 6:00am awakening our group with shouts of “Ice cold fatties, five for twenty!!” The Philly Nitrous Mafia was definitely out in force for this one and by the looks of all the blue lipped, oxygen deprived wookies shuffling around, they made a freaking killing.

All things considered, All Good was still a great time. I witnessed some great performances by some of my favorite artists. Grace Potter, Phil Lesh, Derek Trucks, DSO, and Michael Franti all kicked butt. I was even turned on to some new acts that I hadn't heard before like Lettuce and Bassnectar. This year, the live music was pumping till 4:00 am each night and the food vendors served food around the clock. This was a partyer's dream come true in many ways; but, still I’m wondering how long I’ll be able to stand the low life elements that are becoming increasingly present at this festival. Because Tim Walther (the promoter) has found private land as a permanent home for his festival, cops and other law enforcement types are not an issue for the numerous outlaws and free spirits that thrive on these type of events to support their lifestyle. All Good has become known for its “friendly” atmosphere where anything and everything this side of murder goes unnoticed or, at least, unpunished. With this type of reputation, it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand and someone gets killed. I haven't heard any official stats from the weekend but I do know that breakfast goers on Sunday were treated to an overdosed wookie in the middle of shakedown street being administered CPR and having his balls chilled with an ice pack. Certainly not a pleasant thing to see first thing in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, most all festival goers are peaceful and well behaved, but there is an undeniable presence of organized crime that’s becoming more and more evident each year. By organized, I mean serious drug dealers that recruit an army of young teenage wastoids to hustle their shit and employ mid level redneck hippie thugs to guard their "zones" and beat up independent dealers that infringe on their designated turf. Turf wars were the cause of several violent confrontations I witnessed while there. This is concerning to me and many other regulars I’ve spoken to. As with most “good things”, there are always abusers that ruin it for everyone by having no consideration or restraint. I would urge Tim Walther to begin taking measures now to deal with these forces before they shut down his party for good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thoughts on Celebrating My Independence

Uncle Sam Says: "BE HAPPY...OR ELSE"

As we approach the July 4th holiday, I can’t help but ponder all the hoopla that has come to surround this big birthday celebration. According to our history books, July 4th is the day this country achieved it’s independence and became the United States of America. With the official severance of British ties we became a nation characterized by concepts such as “liberty and justice for all”. So grand was our achievement that we came to set aside that special day in July to celebrate ourselves as members of the greatest nation on earth. We adorn our windows with red, white and blue, display the star spangled banner, eat shitty food and swoon over our great fortune to be free americans.

While I’m all about a party, I like to to feel good about what I’m celebrating. If we are celebrating this nation's birthday that’s cool. This country has come a long way and lasted a pretty significant amount of time so a birthday recognition is certainly in order. However, if we are celebrating the “liberty” and “freedom” that this country has supposedly “given” us, I have to respectively withhold my enthusiasm. Virtually every established country has a bill of rights or recognized list of freedoms that are sanctioned. The U.S. has'nt cornered the market on this concept by any means. When I visit other countries, I’m often struck by the amount of actual freedom people enjoy as compared to most of us in the US. We, the yankee flag wavers, blunder about extolling our libertarian virtues yet remain enslaved by concepts designed to control our behavior as humans beings and actions as citizens. Hell, the very act of overt patriotism is often a means to infringe on the rights of those who dare to dissent. I have discovered this many times while being attacked verbally and physically by flag waving Piranhas, frothing at the mouth to get at me as I marched and protested against senseless wars or inhumane treatment of others. Dare to step out of line in this country and pay the price. That’s what this country’s government (as well as most others) is all about. Freedom, or something like it, is the barter that governments hold over the citizenry’s head to maintain control. So, if it’s that type of freedom we are celebrating, I think I’ll sit this one out.

I believe it’s time to establish another major holiday to celebrate liberty and freedom. After all, true freedom is not something any government has the ability to give. The concept of freedom and liberty come from within each of us and we are in control over how much or how little we afford ourselves. For that matter, to hell with a separate day. Since we as human beings are in control of our own happiness and well being, we can all pick our own day to celebrate our liberation. Just let your boss know what day you have designated as your independence day and ask for that day off to celebrate.

So, tomorrow as I’m drinking, noshing, and watching fireworks, I will remain as reverent as I can in honor of the birth of the country we have come to know as the good old US of A. I’ll try to feel something akin to pride in the accomplishments of its people. I’ll attempt to feel good that I’ve been given the day off by our government. But, I’ll save my liberty and freedom celebration for a more appropriate time.

Countdown to All Good

Hot damn, a week from now I'll be on the road once again to the 12th annual All Good Music Festival on Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, WV. This is probably the only festival I'll make this summer so I'm pretty psyched. The line-up is good this year featuring Phil Lesh & Friends, Widepread, DSO, Grace Potter, Derek Trucks, Franti & Spearhead, and Brazilian Girls just to mention a few. Another cool thing about this year's festival is there will be late night sets every night beginning Thursday for the early arrivals. We always get to festivals early to avoid long lines and hassles and this year we'll be rewarded for our effort with a killer line-up on a small intimate stage. Thurday looks like this:

Early Arrival in the Campground:

2 AM The Join *Late Night*
(Shields & Shearer w. Benevento & Russo)
11:45 Brazilian Girls
9:45 Perpetual Groove
8:30 PM Jazzam

I'm really looking forward to Brazilian Girls having caught them a couple of years ago at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore. I've been a big fan ever since. They are a bit of a departure from many of the acts one sees at All Good but their groove is infectious and I expect them to get a good reception from the early birds getting their initial vibes on next Thursday. Perpetual Groove should also be a treat. Local boy, Brock Butler, originally from Fredericksburg is a co-founder of this band that got its start in Savannah while Brock attended Savannah College of Art and Design. I spoke with Brock a couple of weeks ago in Savannah and he told me he originally studied Sequential Art at SCAD before becoming a full time musician. Lucky for us he chose music as he's an incredible guitarist.

Here's the rest of the weekend musical itinterary:

Friday, July 11th

2:00 AM Gov't Mule *Late Night*
1:15 SOJA
10:00 Phil Lesh & Friends
9:15 Lettuce
7:45 Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
7:15 All Mighty Senators
6:00 Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
5:40 Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
4:40 The Avett Brothers
4:20 Basshound
3:20 RAQ
3:00 MJ Project
2:00 PM The Wood Brothers

Saturday, July 12th

2:00 AM Dark Star Orchestra *Late Night*
1:15 The Bridge
10:00 Widespread Panic
9:15 Bassnectar
7:45 Keller Williams w. Moseley, Droll & Sipe
7:15 Pnuma Trio
5:45 Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival
5:20 Telepath
4:20 Mike Gordon
4:00 Scrapomatic
3:00 Tea Leaf Green
2:40 Rex Jam
1:40 Hot Buttered Rum
12:30 Outformation
11:30 AM Eric Lindell

Sunday, July 13th

5:00 Michael Franti & Spearhead
4:20 Danielia Cotton
3:00 Railroad Earth
2:30 deSol
1:15 JJ Grey & Mofro
12:00 Bonerama

It's not too late! You'll be able to get tickets at the gate, so grab your tent and a case a beer. It's always a good time and the crowd is a friendly one. Most are too wasted to cause much trouble.

I personally can't wait to get to West, by god, Virginia for this throw down. Music, parties, camping, freaks, hippies, wookies, wastoids, and mayhem. What more could a guy ask for? Hope to bring back pictures.


Unbelievable Catch

Check out this video of a ball girl showing up the left fielder by making a spectacular catch in foul territory. As an ex-ball player, I know how hard these types of catches are. Amazing!