Music on the Mountaintop celebrates five years with Railroad Earth

Anne Buie

Students and Boone locals camped out at Grandfather Campgrounds over the weekend to attend the 2012 Music on the Mountaintop.

This year’s lineup consisted of familiar faces, like Bush and Boone natives Naked Gods, as well as some newcomers – Dr. Dog and Future Birds.

“We tend to work with more rootsy music and stuff even though our sound is a bit more electric, rocking and increasingly more sounds on the palate,” Scott McMicken, Dr. Dog guitarist said.

“But we’ve always seemed to work well in festival settings like this with more traditional, rootsy music because I think at the root of things, in our band, it’s a respect for tradition, a love of tradition and music and so I think that those elements are there.”

The festival was hosted by New-Jersey based band Railroad Earth. The band played a set each night, hosted yoga sessions in the morning and instrumental workshops.

Asheville residents River Whyless graced the stage Friday, making their second appearance at Music on the Mountaintop.

“We just kind of let the surroundings influence what we’re doing,” said Ryan O’Keefe, River Whyless guitarist.

In addition the bands at the festival, university clubs made their presence known as well.
Appalachian’s Solar Club not only took care of recycling and trash pickup, but educated people with their Delivering Appropriate Innovative Sustainable Energy Education Trailer and utilized its solar power to provide energy to neighboring vendors, including the VIP tent.

“Right now we have roughly about 8.9 solar amps continuously, so we estimate we’re running 100 watts instantly as we speak right now, which are charging our batteries,” said Solar Club President Grant Williams.

Appalachian Voices also attended the festival, to teach the public about mountaintop removal in surrounding states and its ramifications.

“It’s very interesting because we get all the benefits of living in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world… and we have all the benefits,” said Sheila Ostroff, junior interdisciplinary studies major and App Voices volunteer.

“We get to have this amazing Music on the Mountaintop experience and yet we’re not suffering those same consequences as those communities that happen to have coal underneath their mountains.”

For more details on the outcome of the festival, visit


Story: MICHAEL BRAGG, Senior A&E Reporter