All Good has long been the little festival that could — and in it’s 15th year, it finally became the festival that did, and did it big.
That’s not to say All Good was ever short of great in years past; rather, something clicked on Marvin’s Mountaintop in way-out-there West Virginia July 14-17, and you’d be hard pressed to find a festival-goer who wasn’t struck by just how smoothly the 4-day weekend went, from the near-seamless ‘no overlapping sets’ practice, to the not-too-hot sunny weather, to the reasonable costs of food and, of course, the undeniably peak quality of so many of the festival’s acts.
All Good began a decade and a half ago in Maryland with less than 1,000 people, staffed by founder Tim Walther and a handful of friends. In 2011, the fest maintained its friends-and-family vibe while brimming with about 30,000 people. The venue certainly didn’t hurt — All Good is tucked into the foothills of West Virginia, so while walking to your campsite might be a hike, it’ll be a breathtakingly scenic one. Hidden streams, treks through the woods and a huge cliff outlining the campgrounds were just part of the package. Continue reading
A good teacher is hard to find, and maybe harder to keep.
As the nation’s economy continues to sag, local Jewish day schools are fighting to retain their teachers through professional support, even working with outside sources.
“We fight [to retain teachers] on a regular basis. We often have to,” said Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, dean of Yeshiva Schools in Pittsburgh. “We’ll often have teachers with us for several years, then move on to where they can get a better salary.”
According to the National Education Association, the average starting teacher salary in Pennsylvania is $38,229, with an overall average of $57,237.
That salary scale makes it that much more challenging to retain quality teachers in Jewish day schools.
“When teachers in Jewish schools have a family to support, that’s the moment when the money comes in,” said Amanda Pogany, associate director of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel. “Teachers often still feel committed to the field; they just seek another position in Jewish education.” Continue reading
It took 14 years, but Tim Walther finally got the nod of approval he’d been waiting for.
It was July 10, 2010, around 12:45 a.m., and Walther was standing just offstage at All Good Festival, the annual music festival in West Virginia that he founded. The night’s headlining band was Furthur, featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of jam-band godheads The Grateful Dead. As the applause of more than 20,000 people rained down onstage, Lesh slowly walked toward Walther and leaned in.
“You guys throw one hell of a party here.”
With that, 14 years of hard work running All Good all seemed worth it — especially as 2010 was the festival’s biggest year to date.
A year later, Furthur is back as the crowned Friday-night headliner and Walther says ticket sales are set to outpace 2010. But he can’t daydream about another smiling compliment from his heroes quite yet.
“We’re managing 1,300 staff at this point, and 500 volunteers,” plus more than 40 bands, he says from the All Good office in Jefferson, Md. “It’s a lot to manage. People think I’ve got this glamorous job as a rock-concert promoter, but we’re working 24/7 as of a month ago, and this is a year-round project. It’s 90 percent work and 10 percent enjoyment. But I’m getting close to the enjoyment part.”
In 2009, Animal Collective shot from weirdos’ favorite rock band to rock bros’ favorite weirdos.
Its album Merriweather Post Pavilion, which held a massive blogosphere hit in the neon-quivering “My Girls,” was the most critically drooled-upon album of that year. The album pushed Animal Collective (David “Avey Tare” Portner, Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox, Brian “Geologist” Weitz and Josh “Deakin” Dibb) to the forefront of online music obsession. So even while “My Girls” put Animal Collective on the radar of many a radio-rock dude, bloggers and their mustachioed kin remain fiercely possessive.
But where does that leave the band’s members? Trying their best to ignore the hype. As Animal Collective heads out on tour, the group will play new music and experiment with tweaky, psychedelic sounds, like always, amidst the most deafening buzz in indie rock. We checked in with Dibb to talk shows, new jams and hailing the rock ‘n’ roll greats. Continue reading