We're an optimistic bunch. That's a good thing, as most of us were able to salvage the weekend. However, we've gone way too far the other way. It's almost become a competition to see who can be the most "glass half full" about the event, to the point where I'm expecting a think piece explaining how this was actually the best Phish festival ever because it was so relaxing, and we actually had plenty of time to talk and hang out!
And while that's fine for those who believe it, I'm feeling like it's putting pressure on others to buy into that. Don't do it.
It's OK to be disappointed. Especially if this was your big summer blowout and it was yanked away, or if you kind of extended yourself to go, but you figured you only get the memories once, and somehow money will figure itself out; you can say that you're mad at how this turned out. Sure it's not the fault of the band or management, but if you're upset over this, and don't feel like it was a magical weekend that taught you all sorts of life lessons about letting go, that is fine.
For me, there are things I definitely regret:
I was looking forward to having people read articles---that I had put hours of work into---for the on-site Curveball daily newspaper Ahead of the Curve (to be published by Relix).
I was excited for the 5K and--in the game show tent on Saturday--Subtle Sounds (fans would compete to identify Phish songs based on only a few notes). I had some plans this year as a judge that I was hoping to use.
That 4th set looked like it had a lot of potential and losing that definitely hurts.
After hearing about the cloud on Mike's hotline, I thought that could have been amazing. Perhaps after the 5k, I would have used it. "Hey, I'm just going to rinse off under the cloud for a second and then meet you there," sounds like it could have been one of those definitive festival statements, something that we'd remind each other about years later and smile.
A definite playfulness had entered into the band's playing in the week before, and I was looking forward to seeing how it played out in the festival environment. Between the layover and the stress from this, I'm scared it will be gone by Dick's.
Like many, I also did my best to make the best of things. I hung out with friends. I saw a new venue. I ate at a favorite restaurant. I went to the Hot August Festival in Baltimore, and ran around in 90 degree heat to the Whiskey Shivers. I saw people there in (custom) Curveball jerseys, with names and numbers on the back. I was impressed by the Baltimore Talking Heads cover band Psycho Killers---especially when they launched into a "DwD" jam for us refugees---and I got to see Trampled by Turtles play "Alone" and KDTU do an amazing "Whipping Post."
On Sunday, I went back to Philadelphia to go to the Curveball Consolation Prize, an event thrown by Phish cover band Control for Smilers. I had a joke planned for the event. I was going to go in full Phish outfit and time it and tweet about it like it was Phish. That'll show the gods out there that I was just rolling with this just fine!
Three songs in, while I was definitely enjoying them, the joke got old. I was having fun enough, but the reality of just how much money I had spent to go out and see a fun cover band was sinking in.
So, if I have the one message for everyone, it's - yeah - we did a good job rolling with the punch, but acknowledge that it was a punch. Stop feeling the need to trivialize it or write it off. We were going to experience something amazing and then we didn't. Feeling sad over that is normal. The good news at least is that, unlike Coventry, we do still have Dick's and fall scheduled!
And at least we did get a new life-long memory out of it, even if some of us will wish we could forget it. Let's just hope that by the end of the year we have the better kind of life-long memory.
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