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.

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