Inaugural 4848 Festival Impresses on West Virginia Mountaintop
The inaugural 4848 Festival took place this past weekend at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia. As the name suggests, the mountain-top festivacation was held at nearly a mile high overlooking the surrounding Allegheny Mountains.
Now that I am back and re-assimilated into society, we wanted to bring you a recap. We are a small group here at Grateful Music, so there is no team of folks to scour YouTube to be first to bring you fanshot videos of the musical highlights. So you have likely already seen the now-infamous Nothing Too Fancy that saw Billy Strings and the Greensky Bluegrass duo of Anders Beck and Paul Hoffman join Umphreys McGee on Saturday night. (scroll to the bottom of this article to watch) And video has circulated of the parade of guests joining festival hosts Greensky Bluegrass during their 2-set headlining show on Friday. Billy Strings gave us the first live Taking Water the day after Rolling Stone debuted the new single of their upcoming album Home. But 4848 Festival succeeded beyond its fantastic lineup — so let me instead describe a day on Snowshoe Mountain.
There were two options for lodging at 4848: the condos on the mountain near the stages or camping down at Shavers Lake. I chose the latter, and was rewarded by getting to wake up listening to a creek in the woods still rushing with water from the Thursday rainstorm. After throwing on a sweater for the cool morning walk, I stopped by the permanent structure bathrooms (!!) and admired the lake before catching the ski lift up to the resort.
Once on top of the mountain, the view back down toward the lake never got old. After grabbing a breakfast sandwich from the food trucks and chatting up the vendors shaking the cold morning dew off their tents I sipped my coffee while riding the lift back down. Friday and Saturday mornings started at the Boathouse lakeside restaurant and bar with acoustic shows on the deck from Nathan Moore and Joshua Davis. The pop-up bloody Mary/white Russian bar was a nice touch as everyone warmed up in the sun, said hi to neighbors, and shared their favorite moments from the night before.
The mainstage (Sky Stage) was on the bunny slopes up the mountain and had more than enough room to find sun, or shade, or standing room by the stage, or a place to lay out a blanket while catching the afternoon shows. As early evening approached, the music transitioned to the Village Stage nestled among the condos, bars, and restaurants of the resort. The smaller area helped pick the energy back up as there was only standing room if you wanted to see the stage (unless you were only of the lucky VIPers to have a room balcony facing the stage).
One of the great features of 4848 is that the mountaintop – which has the infrastructure to handle large ski crowds all
Winter long – had bars and restaurants open that weren’t affiliated with the festival. I grabbed some Mexican food and cheap beers as the Village Stage was winding down in preparation for the main sets at the Sky Stage. The feeling of taking over a town and walking into a Starbucks to just see the folks partying with you all weekend gave a different but strong sense of community that was a welcome change to the vacant field setup. The cool weather and combination of permanent resort buildings and open spaces around the stages left me feeling refreshed – not exhausted – as the late night shows rolled around.
There are plenty of festivals that procure amazing lineups, so now we live in a “What else can you offer me?” world. 4848 more than met that challenge and exceeded expectations for a first time festival. Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass self-proclaimed 4848 as the best new festival on the planet from the mainstage on Friday, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone to argue.
Photo credit: Eye of the Storm photography.
Jerry Day photos by Susana Millman.
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