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Organizer hopes to make new Snowshoe music festival a vacation getaway

Festival organizer Tim Walther knew he wanted to bring another music festival to West Virginia. He just wasn’t sure where.

“I’ve spent half my life in West Virginia,” the founder of the All Good Music Festival said. “I love the people here. I love the culture. I love the mountains.”

Next week Walther opens a brand new event, the 4848 Music Festival at Snowshoe Resort, in Pocahontas County. The three-day festival gets its name from the elevation of the mountain, which is 4,848 feet.

“It makes perfect sense if you know that,” Walther said.

The festival features a mix of jam bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Lettuce, along with progressive bluegrass stars Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters and blues rocker Marcus King.

“We want to keep the vibe and the spirit of All Good,” he said.

Walther is referring to the All Good Music Festival, which began in Brandywine, Maryland, in 1997 but then moved to Masontown in Preston County from 2003 to 2011.

Walther wants to bring back the good parts of All Good, the free-spirited music beneath the summer sky that began early in the day and went deep into the night under the stars.

“You can expect there will be fireworks at some point,” he added.

Typically held in the middle of the summer, All Good attracted top jam and indie rock acts like Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band and different musical projects featuring various members of the Grateful Dead, but the festival ran into trouble with Preston County residents who complained of the strain on local resources because of the crowds.

All Good also became embroiled in legal woes following a fatal accident on the festival grounds and was a magnet for the police, who annually arrested dozens of festivalgoers.

The festival moved to Ohio for two years, returned to Summit Point in Jefferson County, then was retired. But Tim Walther continued on.

The new 4848 Festival at Snowshoe Mountain Resort aspires for the good feelings of the old festival but will also be much different than All Good.

There’s much less of a focus on camping.

“There are a lot fewer places to camp,” Walther said. “Somewhere around 2,000.”

That concerned him at first. Camping is frequently a feature of summer music festivals, but Walther said the more he got to know Snowshoe, the more he thought that maybe that was a good thing.

“All the people I know who come to the festivals, we’re all getting older,” he said. “And maybe not all of us want to camp as much as we used to. Maybe we’d just as soon wake up in a comfortable bed, make breakfast and then go downstairs and find the bloody mary bar before going off to see some live music.”

Along with the usual festival camping, the resort will have lodge rooms, condos and hotel rooms available for guests, which will put the music in close proximity, while also offering other activities like mountain biking, kayaking and zip lining, not to mention clean sheets and hot water.

Walther said resort-based music festivals are still growing in the U.S. and there aren’t many like 4848 in the eastern half of the country. For people looking for a music festival and a vacation getaway, 4848 could be something that gives them both.

“There’s just a lot to do and the space is beautiful,” he said.

The festival organizer said the goal was to create a memorable, but relaxing experience for festivalgoers.

A lot of work has gone into preparing for the crowds and the concerts.

“The staff here at Snowshoe have worked so hard to help put this together,” he said. “I want them to see how all that hard work pays off.”

Walther hoped for a success with 4848, but understood that great music festivals aren’t usually made overnight. It will probably take some time and good will to do that.

“I just want people to come out and have a good time, so they’ll go home and tell their friends to come back with them, next year,” he said.

Reach Bill Lynch at

lynch@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-5195 or follow

@lostHwys on Twitter.

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