To understand why this past weekend and it’s turn of events was so painfully emotional for me, it might help to understand part of why I feel as passionately about Phish as I do.
Not everyone knows how and why I came to fall in love with Phish… the reasons are certainly plentiful…
They gave me hope following a very challenging time – a sudden, profound hearing loss – that I was still going to be okay, and I was still going to be able to enjoy music. I know, it seems SILLY to worry about, but it was real for me. Music is the great unifier, so at a time where I felt overwhelmingly “different”, the music kept me from feeling completely shut out.
While many of their songs are lyrically prominent, Phish has an equally impressive catalog of songs where the instrumentals are what shine; the jams, improvs, and zany little tangents you can just close your eyes and feel with every fiber of your being…
So as someone who can’t stand genericness, while I love them for their unique, goofy, off the cuff lyrics, I also love them for the tasty jams where my inability to always make out lyrics doesn’t matter. Again, they serve as some sort of great equalizer.
And I have spent countless hours listening, relistening and listening again. I have taught myself the lyrics to be able to sing along with an impressive number of songs for someone teetering on the line of deafness.
And every time I see them perform, every time I am in the moment and enjoying the music, I am always GRATEFUL that my hearing loss didn’t extend just a little further, rendering me unable to fully enjoy the music. It’s actually really powerful and I really do send up some gratitude for this daily.
Outside of the music… the connections, the community, the reunions, the vibe, the friends who travel from near and far, the ‘strangers’ that instantly become your family, the moments and memories you make with your crew, the escape from the sometimes stressful realities of this beautiful little ride called LIFE… yeah, you look forward to that!
In this setting, all truly seems right, and that’s not a feeling I experience often in today’s world, but there, ensconced in a community of love, light and positive vibes… it just all feels RIGHT. If it makes me selfish to want those moments, then I’m selfish and I’m okay with that.
Live music – festival or not – feeds my soul. It lights me up and elevates my whole being. When the world works hard to jade you, the music is what keeps me from falling too far down that rabbit hole. The vibe of “we’re all in this together” reminds me, as someone who has spent a good chunk of her life feeling left out and isolated, that I’m not alone. You ALWAYS have phamily.
Those close to me tend to know how passionately I do everything that I do, and a weekend such as this was certainly not exempt from that, so to be there, to be set up, experiencing the excitement and beginnings of what had promised to be an amazing weekend, to then have it pulled out from under us at the 11th hour was ROUGH. It doesn’t MATTER that we knew it was the right decision based on health and safety. Disappointment is disappointment.
There is simply no way to properly describe the brutal descent from such a vibrant, high-on-life high to such a silent, empty-feeling low. There was nowhere else for the intense emotions to go but out of my tear ducts.
To feel… to see… to hear the happy, noisy, delighted and excited vibe drop to crushing silence and people just wandering, dazed and confused, in disbelief, was brutal. The energy shift was UNREAL. We made the best of the time we had, because that’s what this community does, but there was a really sad, bummed out undertone.
The months of build up, planning, excitement, logistics… the anticipation. The wondering what we missed. The sadness for the boys – you know it kills them that the party they spent a year planning would now never see the light of day.
All the artwork, installations, experiences, memories… all that hard work that would never fully be seen and appreciated by 35-40k people. As a creationist myself, that’s just gut wrenching. Phish is well known for their attention to detail, and I was bummed not to be able to check it all out, as a detail-oriented soul myself.
Life is sometimes really tough, and this was something to look forward to; this was a bright light for me after some dim bulbs.
They put their heart and souls into this and you can’t help but feel for them.
Yet, as bummed as we all are, we all are sending up healing vibes to the residents of the area. We KNOW they are the priority. We all realize life goes on, Phish WILL play again, and this is now part of Phistory.
It’s more than okay to feel sad and disappointed – if you were able to get over this instantly, you probably weren’t going for the right reasons; just my .02!
As for the people saying “it’s just a concert; get over it”, I understand you may not get it; Phish is not for everyone, that much is clear. But have you never been excited for something? Would it not bum you out if it vanished into thin air?
There are few bands who have more of a dedicated, passionate following, THIS MANY years later. I am proudly one of them and have been since my freshman year of high school – I’ve seen them through their highs, I’ve seen them through their lows, and my heart hurts for them just as I know their hearts hurt for us.
I’m forever grateful to be part of this community 💕
But we’ll just keep swimming; there IS more Phish upstream 🐠