We recently spoke with Claude Ryan, founder of Deep Roots Mountain Revival, about the festival he helped put together this summer on Marvin’s Mountaintop.
Most people associate Marvin’s Mountaintop with All Good Music Festival. This lineup focuses on country, bluegrass, and jam with a “roots revival” theme. You’re clearly trying to create your own roots theme and your own festival identity, can you tell us how the initial phases of this came about? Then why did you go the book the bands you booked. Did the environment of the lush mountain landscapes lead you to think string bands would a good route to go?
Claude: You are correct; we are in fact trying to create something new so we can reintroduce folks to one of the most picturesque landscapes on the festival scene. All Good is a legendary festival that was ground breaking on so many levels, we know we can’t ever be All Good, and we don’t aspire to be them. But, Marvin’s Mountaintop is equally just as legendary, and there has been this underground buzz from people wanting to get back to the Mountain for years now.
So after kicking the idea around the last 2-3 years, we felt that the timing was right to try and “revive” the Mountaintop. We are just three local fellas with lifetime roots to the Great State of WV, all with completely different ties to Marvin’s Mountaintop. We each have a common passion to build a family friendly festival that will be embraced by the region, because we feel there was a disconnect in that regard in the past. So we listened to what the people of the community were looking for in the way of a music & arts festival, and we started to build around their ideas.
There is a long history of Country and Bluegrass in WV, and the surrounding states, and we want to highlight those genres at this event. We feel like we can fill a void in the festival scene by offering people a combination of musical genres unlike anything else out there today, at a festival site like no other, in a family friendly environment, supported by the community, where everyone can create a lasting memory. That is our vision for Deep Roots Mountain Revival.
What non headliner type bands on the bill are rising acts you decided to bring on and why?
Rising Appalachia – Because they are more than a band, they are a message that inspires individuals to be better people, not only for one another, but for Mother Earth. We LOVE Rising Appalachia.
Cabinet – Because they are one of the best regional bluegrass bands you may have never heard of, that you need to hear. These guys are awesome.
The Hip Abduction – Because their blend of reggae, world & dub make you smile from the inside out, and create a vibe that just makes your body want to move. These guys have an infections vibe in their sound that people are going to love once they hear them.
The Marcus King Band – Because he is a young, up and coming, guitar gunslinger that is going to blow people’s minds when they see him live.
Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns – Because he is our best good buddy, he represents everything great about the beautiful state of WV, and we felt sorry for him cause he’s our best good buddy.