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Fests are the best

By Staff | May 26, 2009

All Good Music Festival

Where: Masontown, W.Va.

When: July 9- 12   

What: For years, it has been West Virginia’s best keep music secret hidden on top of Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, but now All Good Music Festival has established itself as one of the most popular summer festivals in the country.

The gig delivers on every essential ingredient for a summertime jam festival. A vast green landscape acting as the perfect natural venue, All Good has it. Multiple stages creating four days of never-ending entertainment, All Good brings it. A line-up of top- notch live bands all with the ability to ignite a field full of thousands of people, well, you know the answer.

Music festivals depend solely on the cause of the music and the effect of its audience, and All Good has always distributed a satisfied reaction. This year’s line-up has all the promise of keeping with tradition.  The new Ben Harper and RELENTLESS7 experiment will be taking the main stage as All Good veteran’s moe. will also make its annual appearance.

Historically, All Good has been the epitome of jam band festivals.  Jam bands like Bob Weir & Ratdog, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Gratful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra will fill the necessary slot this year, but the variety of genres will also be represented.

Over 30 bands will plug-in bringing its own trademark to the mountaintop. There will be the experimental artist Buckethead wailing off guitar licks in full “bucketheaded” costume. Dread locks and all, SOJA is scheduled to bring the funk as well.

Looking for some brass instrument music in your life? Well, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Trombone Shorty, and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk are ready to provide the proper dosage.

All Good Music Festival is not the biggest national festival of the summer, nor does it bring every chart-topping artist of the year. Yet, it still continues to be one of the best summer festivals in the country because it stays true to its purpose: music.

This is the festival for the fans of drawn out songs and on-stage theatrics. This is the festival for the fans willing to camp out in the middle-of-nowhere woods for four days. This is the festival for the fans that are not hypnotized by the standard musical module, but gravitate to new sounds.

If you are looking for a landmark experience this summer, take All Good Music Festival while you still can.

Cost: $139 weekend package available.

For more: www.allgoodfestival.com

FestivALL 2009

Where: Charleston

When: June 19-28, Time: all day.

What: A grand sight to see, hear and participate in at the state’s capital, FestivALL presents the arts at full circle. Offering 10 days of visual arts, music, theater, dance, and film as well as interactive activities, this festival is a staple promotion of West Virginian culture. The city is practically handed over to a collaboration of organizers dedicated to enthrall the community with the best variety and most nourishing artistic entertainment the state has to offer.

In 2008, over 41,000 people enjoyed 83 events with 169 performances throughout the long week. Art tents and stages lined the streets for spectators to poke in and out of while jugglers, belly dancers, and stilt walkers roamed among them. This year major events include: The Mountain Stage with Larry Groce, soul band Booker T. & The MGs, new stage performance by Ann Magnuson “Back Home Again (Dreaming of Charleston),” Blues, Brews, and BBQ, and The Charleston Light Opera Guild as well as many other free performances spread through the week. FestivALL is the epitome of West Virginian cultural diversity. The gathering brings art out into the open delivers Charleston as its most enchanting.

Cost: Admission is free for most activities, but tickets for major events can be bought at Clay Center Box Office at (304) 561-3570.

For more: www.festivallcharleston.com

MountainFest Motorcycle Rally

Where: Morgantown

When: 9 a.m., July 23-26

What: Each July, Morgantown is strewed with the sounds of mufflers and the sights of leather jackets from motorcyclists from all over the country. With two interstate highways connected in the area among the rolling hills of the state, this week Morgantown becomes the hotspot for thousands of easy riders. Downtown restaurant parking lots will be lined with chrome and rubber. At Mylan Park, a camp of tents will be pitched marking attractions like a stunt bike show and classic motorcycle showcases. Don’t forget to head out to Triple S Harley Davidson store and dealership for all of your motorcycles needs.

Those without “wheels” do not be discouraged, MountainFest has something to offer everyone. This year MountainFest will be hosting America’s Strongest Man®, midget wrestling and a performance by country star Travis Tritt along with a line-up of other enthusiast attractions hosted all around the city. Families can enjoy the daytime shows and displays, while adults can celebrate into the night at The Coal Bucket Saloon with live music. MountainFest is a non-profit organization contributing over $200,000 to the community over the last four years, which makes this one of West Virginia’s best festivals not only for the fun, but also for the cause.

Cost: Admission: $10 for a 4- day pass

For more: www.wvmountainfest.com

31st Annual West Virginia

Italian Heritage Festival

Where: Clarksburg

When: Starts at noon, Sept. 4, 10 a.m., Sept. 5, and 11 a.m., Sept. 6.

What: A cultural way to end the summer and celebrate Labor Day, Clarksburg’s biggest weekend is filled with a pasta pot full of activities. Some of West Virginia’s finest Italian cuisine will be offered while many musical performers will take three different stages free of admission. There will be the crowning of a festival queen “Regina Maria” and a concluding festival ball. This festival is not only for Italian bloodlines, but anyone interested in the cultural, food, and willing to have fun Italiano style.

The West Virginia Italian Heritage festival celebrates the deep roots of Italians that have called West Virginia home for a long time. This is a festival where bragging rights for the best pasta around are solidified at the “Pasta Cook-off.” It is no surprise to see dancing in the streets, while a circle onlooker’s clap aligns with the rhythm. Accordion players stretching out Old Italian tunes have been known to walk among the tables of people indulging in pasta, peppers or sausage. The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival is a community organized gathering on a nationally recognized level with a fine international flavor.

Cost: Free Admission

For more: www.wvihf.com 

Jamboree in the Hills

Where: St. Clairsville, Ohio

When: July 16- 19

What: The country music spectacle of the summer is not in Nashville, Tennessee, or in some Texas town George Strait has sang about, but instead in central eastern Ohio?

Seated over the Ohioan border from Wheeling, West Virginia, for over thirty years, Jamboree in the Hills has doled out some of the biggest names in country music. If you are a fan wanting to see the next big thing, or an artist wanting to be the next big thing, then attendance to Jamboree is required.

This year, Jamboree has a solid list of next generation country stars, while upholding the reputation for getting absolute legends to take the stage.

New to the scene artists like Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown Band, and Jason Michael Carroll are scheduled to sample the new directions of the country sound.

Current superstars like Big & Rich, Lee Ann Womack, and Toby Keith will be present to familiarize the audience with their past and current hits.

What makes Jamboree so special is the fraternity of legends willing to come back again and again to perform.

Country royalty like Merle Haggard, Lee Greenwood, and Alan Jackson will bring the fans in droves and set the bar for quality as this year’s festival.

More than 100,000 fans make their way to Jamboree every year. Tents are dotted throughout the long field full as cowboy hat- fitted onlookers’ pack tightly close near the front hoping to get their best look at the stage.

Weather has traditionally been windy, rainy, and extremely muddy in past years.

Yet, the atmosphere is generally safe and sufficient. There is an on-site emergency staff, and even a post-office on the grounds.

The artists headline the event, but the fans are the ones who make the festival a reality.

Bad weather, nasty conditions and all, fans from earth’s every corner will undoubtedly be present in full force ready to sing and celebrate the country music they love.

Cost: Four-day pass $190.

For more: www.jamboreeinthehills.com

Heritage Music Blues Fest ‘09

Where: Wheeling

When: Starts at 5 p.m., Aug. 7, 12:30 p.m., Aug. 8, and 1 p.m., Aug. 9.

What: Set at the Heritage Point Amphitheater, this festival may be the summer’s most award-winning lineup. With a list of Grammy Award nominated and other recognized blues musicians playing, this festival is a top blues gathering in America. For three nights, Wheeling roars with the guitar clangs and harmonica squeals of top-rated blues music. 2009 has a line-up of experienced, decorated blues masters still with an edge to shriek out the classics and contemporaries of blues music.

Legends like Elvin Bishop, Bobby Rush, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Walter Trout, and Ruthie Foster among others each bring an exclusive brand of blues to the stage. Not only performers, but also music lovers from all over the country gather for these three nights to celebrate the tradition and promote the future of blues music all over. Whether it is some soggy bottom Delta Blues or Chicago Street Blues, they all come together as a fan-fared celebration at this festival.    

Cost: Three-day admission pass: $55.

For more: www.heritagemusicfest.com

13th Annual Appalachian Festival

Where: Beckley

When: Aug. 28-30

What: While keeping in line with the traditional festival ingredients like quilt shows, car shows, and folk music, this festival also delivers a ghost tour, coal mine tour, and a “hillbilly breakfast.” Appalachian Festival illuminates Appalachian culture with a “good time” attitude.

Cost: $8.50 a person; fees vary by attraction

For more: www.appalachianfestival.net

Three Rivers Arts Festival

Where: Pittsburgh, Pa.

When: June 5- 14; times vary according to performance.

What: Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Three Rivers Arts Festival will surely spark a jovial aura around Pittsburgh. The gathering will be located at the renovated, Point State Park, which was the festival’s original location. Three Rivers Arts Festival may be the “best bang for you buck” of the summer. With a line-up of multiple nationally recognized bands, the entire festival is free of admission sponsored by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Performances include: The Black Keys, Apostle of Hustle, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, The Wailers, Toubob Krewe, Donora, Booker T., Shemekia Copeland, Formula 412, Trombone Shorty, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood.

In addition to the headlining events, Three Rivers Arts Festival also has other performances taking place throughout the days. Smaller stages are set up throughout the park with local musicians providing some musical breeze. Booths are set up along the area so passersby may try different ethnic foods. Three Rivers Arts Festival is a chance to see culturally enriching side of Pittsburgh while in the soul of the city itself. It is one of the biggest free concerts in this summer’s tri-state area as well.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.artsfestival.net

Augusta Festival

Where: Elkins

When: Starts at 8 p.m., Aug. 7, 10 a.m., Aug. 8, and 10:30 a.m., Aug. 9.

What: Produced by the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, this festival is a celebration of Appalachian heritage through art, dance, and music. Traditional folk dance, hand-made crafts, and a steady wave of mountain music will be on hand for these three days. This festival encourages the family environment with a number of kid’s activities and a young performers showcase free of admission.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.augustaheritage.com

14th Annual Mid-Ohio Valley

Multi-Cultural Festival

Where: Parkersburg

When: June 19-21

What: The Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival is a worldly experience all in one place. With the goal to promote diverse cultures and find common traditions among them, this festival takes a piece of culture from every continent. Chinese egg rolls can be found next to Polish kielbasa, while Scottish bagpipers follow-up a performance by Indonesian dancers. This festival is a real melting pot of fun.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.mov.mcf.org

Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl

Where: Pittsburgh, Pa.

When: July 17

What: One night of free art showcases and entertainment held in the cultural district of Pittsburgh. Along the streets, viewers run free in and out of art galleries, photography showcases, and cultural exhibitions. Live music from Pittsburgh’s up and coming musicians can be found among the cultural conglomeration. It is a city-sponsored celebration of the art produced by its own citizens.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.pgharts.org

West Virginia Blackberry Festival

When: Nutter For, W.Va.

Where: July 30- Aug. 1

What: A classic festival mold including carnival rides, fireworks, free entertainment, and a talent contest all topped with a variety of blackberry dishes. An appreciation of the simpler ways of enjoyment, this festival hails to the deliciousness of blackberry pie and the freedom for good honest fun.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.wvblackberry.com

Appaclachian String Band Music Festival

Where: Clifftop, W.Va.

When: July 29- Aug. 2

What: One of the largest music competitions in West Virginia, this five- day event has a history of worldly string music presence. Thousands of string bands and fans gather ever summer on top of Camp Washington- Carver to crown the string band players of the year.

Cost: Admission per day $15, packages available.

For more: www.wvculture.org/stringband

41st Annual Heritage Days Festival

Where: Cumberland, Md.

When: June 14-15

What: A fun-oriented interactive historical experience that includes Caboose rides, military drill lessons, a living history Civil War encampment, tour of an Underground Railroad station, but also a line of performance entertainment and art exhibits.

Cost: Free admission, but fees for certain attractions

For more: www.heritagedaysfestival.com

St. Albans Riverfest 2009

Where: St. Albans

When: June 25- 28

What: One of Kanawha Valley’s biggest events of the summer, this four-day festival includes over 15 music performances, a parade, pageants, 5K run/walk, and “kiddie tractor pull.” A non-profit festival, Riverfest continues to be a community organized and enjoyed experience.

For more: www.saintalbansriverfest.com

West Virginia State Folk Festival

Where: Glenville

When: June 18

What: A festival promoting Appalachian culture that includes street music sessions, banjo/ fiddle contests, parade, square dancing, car shows, quilt show, and its unique spelling bee.

Cost: Free admission

For more: www.wvfolkfestival.org

Contact Joel at jmoore@graffitiwv.com