Catching the Golden Hour at Deep Roots Mountain Revival

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written by Austin Allen

Let me start this review off by saying that the drive from Chicago to southern West Virginia was absolutely breathtaking. We ended up leaving around midnight, driving through the night and arriving in Pittsburg as the sun rose over vacant highways that would lead us all the way to Marvin’s Mountaintop. I actually had to pick my jaw up off the floor upon entering car camping…Deep Roots Mountain Revival was held in the most beautiful venue I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this festival season. Green hills and valleys as far as the eye can see with massive trees full of life greet your eyeballs at every turn.

Music genre: Jam, Bluegrass, Rock, and Country

Camping: So much land with amazing scenery. Plenty of space for VIP as well.

Capacity: Small, around 2000

Crowd type: I could probably count the amount of young adults on one hand. Mainly older people with their kids and a few dogs. Very family-friendly vibes, kids errywhere.

Water stations: There were a few on the pathway into the main two stages and one toward the wooded stage they called the “Roots Stage.”


For the first timers:

Anyone deep into the bluegrass/country/jam scene will feel right at home; I however I found myself with the unique opportunity to venture outside my comfort zone as a 21-year-old Chicago native with pins all over my hat in a crowd of West Virginia families. One day I wore a Grateful Dead tie-dye shirt and was often asked whether I’d been to a Dead show. My most recent Dead & Co. experience at Alpine Valley lead to several Mayer vs. Garcia discussions, and while no one will ever truly replace Jerry Garcia, I must say John Mayer is a very skilled musician Bob Weir’s decision to bring him in. A few purist Dead heads weren’t such a fan of that opinion, but hey, it makes for a good story.

Standout food:

Hash Browns’ slow roasted BBQ pulled pork with sweet pepper slaw on a soft brioche bun melted in my mouth. Bacon, egg, cheese hash, potatoes, more smoked bacon, fried egg, and chile cheese drizzled on top made for one of the sexiest compilations I’ve ever indulged in. The chipotle chicken grilled cheese was a close runner up, spicy and savory at the same damn time.

Steal Your Plate’s “steal your salmon” dish stole my hunger right out from the depths of my belly. Complete with a 6oz portion of Alaskan Wild caught salmon, lettuce, tomato, a squeeze of lemon, and drizzled with their homemade dill mayo that wrapped up in a soft vegan flatbread danced with my taste buds until the last bite.

Musical highlights

Big Something was the most surprising and the most unexpected group that I thoroughly enjoyed. The entire band is full of extremely talented artists, with a saxophonist who shred that instrument like one would a guitar and guitarist shredding, perhaps, like one would a saxophone.

VIP or nah

Talk about fannnnnnncy! Special viewing platforms at all stages, a beer and wine garden for all you 21+ readers, complimentary Deep Roots Mountain Revival beer mug, discounted beer in the GA area. Plus, kiddies under 12 get in free with the purchase of a VIP ticket.

Story corner

I’m a big fan of sunrises. Some of you may know that I make a habit of watching at least one sunrise at every festival I have the pleasure of covering. I’ve seen so many sunrises in Chicago, and for whatever reason, its important for me to watch that early morning glow fall on different scenery when I have the chance.

While watching the Rumpke Mountain boys jam deep into the morning, I discussed everything from Chicago house music to best venues to favorite seasons with my buddy Marshall and a member of the production staff. As the crowd withered down and people returned to their tents we decided it was time to seize the morning, so with ambition in our hearts and moonshine warming our bellies we made our way east in hopes of finding the perfect sunrise spot. I am no stranger to the chasing of the golden hour, but the morning sky was littered with clouds and fog was not far behind. Defeated, we sat down in the grass overlooking miles of valleys and trees, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and waiting for light.

As festival magic would have it, over the course of the next hour the clouds parted just enough to see the sun spill its rays on Marvin’s Mountaintop, illuminating all of its morning glory and confirming my opinion that Deep Roots is a festival worth experiencing. A totally different vibe with a totally different view, Deep Roots Mountain Revival holds the potential to host a groundbreaking music and arts festival experience.

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