Updated Tue, Jul 16, 2013 8:48 am
When Tim Walther, creator of the All Good Festival, first organized his annual jam band-based event, it didn’t exactly attract the thousands of people it does today.
"We had, I think, 950 people there. It was more like a big party," he said.
Thousands of people are expected at this weekend's festival, being held July 18-21 at the Legend Valley concert venue, located in the rolling hills of Thornville, Ohio.
This is the second year the festival has been held at the Legend Valley location, located approximately 30 miles from Columbus and about an hour drive from Athens.
Although they haven’t been there long, it already feels like home to Walther and his crew.
"The community is amazing," he said. "When we first thought to have it at that location, we went to a local pub to eat and talk to people. Everybody was extremely supportive of it. Most people would tell stories about 20 years ago when the Grateful Dead would come to town and how that would affect them. They seemed very welcoming to the whole process of us coming to the area."
This year the festival will host more than 50 acts, including original Grateful Dead band members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of Furthur, Pretty Lights, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys, John Butler Trio, Dark Star Orchestra, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, former Athens band Papadosio, Leftover Salmon, North Mississippi Allstars, John Scofield Uberjam Band and many others.
For Walther, the festival is not just a show, but an experience.
"For some people, the experience is life-changing. For others, it's their favorite event of the year," he said. "They just go out and get to become a part of the community and really enjoy hanging out with friends and strangers."
And sometimes, people experience more than just crowds and music at the fest, according to Walther.
"A lot of children have derived from the All Good Festival," he explained. "We have people who are interested in getting married at the event. It’s pretty amazing."
Walther and his crew said last year’s production went smoothly. This year, festival-goers should expect slight changes to traffic routes and entrance locations (travel information is available on the festival's website).
Fest organizers are also encouraging attendees to bring food donations for Conscious Alliance, a non-profit organization that distributes much-needed food to communities across the U.S. This weekend's donations will benefit the food pantry in Lancaster, Ohio. Attendees who donate 20 non-perishable food items will receive a free concert poster.
In addition to music, the festival includes food and craft vendors, regional microbrews, bonfire pits, kids' entertainment, drum circles and more.
For more details, including ticket, vendor and camping information, visit www.allgoodfestival.com.