Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

If Coventry embodied the dark debacle that Phish and their scene had become by 2004, Festival 8 represented all that is right in the current world of Phish. The most accurate word I can use to describe Festival 8 is “paradise.” We had arrived at a tropical site of dreams, and the entire place was set up for our ease and comfort. When contrasting Coventry’s mud-covered clusterfuck with Indio’s days of delight, things couldn’t have felt more different.

To begin with, as we approached the gate with a caravan of five RVs, we expected to wait in some traffic. After sitting on roadways for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to enter previous festivals, this obstacle seemed like a given. But to our shock, we didn’t wait for one minute. After the thorough search for glass bottles and pounds of weed, the security let everyone through free of hassle. The only thing seized from any of our RVs were two glass-bottled Starbucks drinks. Onward and Upward!

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

After our team captain convinced the attendants to allow us to park in formation, we set up our home base within 45 minutes of approaching the main gates. Given maps upon entering, some exploration was in order. Prepared to walk a couple miles, everyone was pleasantly surprised to discover the concert field just around the corner from our campsite, about 100 times shorter than any festival walk in memory. The vibe of the Eight remained incredibly laid-back throughout the weekend, with well-behaved fans who appreciated the blissful setting. The entire event seemed like a Phish festival all grown-up. With amenities at every turn, shuttles to and from the lavish, nearby resorts, we certainly weren’t in Limestone anymore. Conducive to the band’s family-oriented atmosphere, the guys could hop back and forth between their loved ones and the festival in minutes.

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The ease of Festival 8 seems to be the evolution of the Phish festival – easy access and hassle free. Providing a different feel from the absolute isolation of Limestone, this new model is quite  logical for the band’s place in time; just as Limestone defined the late ’90s. Virtually incomparable, Limestone possessed a Phishy magic that Indio could not. Just knowing what everyone had to do to reach the tip of America made those ritualistic weekends irreplaceable. The entire events were bigger, vaster, and more adventurous. We had our own city on the edge of the earth, and no one even knew. The unique majesty of those experiences will live inside us forever. But again, that was then and this is now. I’m not sure anyone who attended Festival 8 would have traded Indio for Limestone in a million years. Just as Phish and their fans continue to mature, and their music evolves, so will their signature events.

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

On top of everything else, the choice of locale – the Palm Springs desert – made the weekend flawless. With sunny days and cool evenings, the weather never intruded on our good times – something that can’t be said for virtually any other Phish festival. In addition, the site’s proximity to the highway provided easy access for the sundry artists, vendors and attractions. An amalgam of the Phishy spirit and the over-the-top west coast creativity of Burning Man, the art installations at Eight upped the ante from previous festivals, creating the feel of a psychedelic carnival. Throw in multiple bars, shade tents, countless couches, a jumbo-tron showing sporting events and movies, and golf cart taxis to get around the grounds, and this was most definitely not your father’s Phish festival!


Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Perhaps the biggest difference between Indio and Coventry is the utter joy engulfing the entire community these days. Back in ’04, we were there to celebrate a legacy – an irreplaceable time in our lives that was coming to a pre-mature end. And regardless of how much fun we had, the weekend possessed an irrefutable sadness.  Indio could not have been more opposite. With Phish back in 2009 – happy and on the rise again – everyone wore ear to ear smiles, and the positivity was absolutely infectious all weekend long. I never saw one incident, argument or bit of beligerence from anyone all weekend long, just people rejoicing to be back in the promised land.


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

2001 > Curtain > Tweezer” 11.19.95


A standout sequence that kicked-off Charlotte’s second set along the road of Fall ’95.



Festival 8 (Photo: Russell Gibbs)



11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Torrent

11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Megaupload

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Making their tour of Florida universities, the band stopped at The University of South Florida a day after playing their legendary Orlando show the night before at The University of Central Florida, and three days after playing Gainesville. Amidst a tremendous run in the Sunshine State, a fierce “Mike’s Groove” holds down the second set of this show.

I: Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fast Enough for You, Rift, Prince Caspian, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

II: Wilson, Theme From the Bottom, Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Life on Mars? > Weekapaug Groove, Fee, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

E: Suzy Greenberg

Notes: The band won the first chess game with the audience.

Source: Unknown

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435 Responses to “Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Neemor, yes I heard about the A-Team remake. I have a bro-crush on Bradley Cooper.”

    ^ lol, he’s a high school friend of my best friend….used to kick it in college..back then we though he was grasping at theatre..now he;s the pimp of hollywood. pretty absurd…

  2. Corey Says:

    @Mr. Minor

    Sweet, what do I win?

    …just kidding.

    Thanks. Oh, and sorry that I didn’t get over to your “gathering” in Indio. My wife and I hung tight in the Genesis lot, taking it all in. What fun that weekend was. I STILL can’t get past the traffic issues (as in, “there were none.”) I guess <40000 on the west coast can have that result. And MY car-search-agent not only saw my 12-pack of cold guiness bottles clearly exposed, not only commented on them, but let me keep them so long as I disposed of them properly. How cool was that?

  3. Corey Says:

    Uhh, somehow I managed to misspell my favorite beer.
    That’s GuinNess.
    Wow, I guess my students wore me out today.
    Kids improvising over new chords is always intense.

  4. sumodie Says:

    hhmmm…..hard to top neemor’s non sequiturs tonight: shoreline 03>gold bond>worcester 03>a-team, or something like that

    Never expected him to come out with that gold bond story either 🙂

  5. Corey Says:

    @Mr. Miner

    Clearly, I’m tired tonight. Sorry to replace your name with a chord quality.
    See (read) you in the morning.
    Here’s looking forward to the DOTD to re-live that experience.
    I’ve been fortunate to see many of the shows “down front,” but never the center seat, in the front row. That Rupp show was such a great experience all around…walking to the show from an all day prePHISHparty in the light rain with a cast of about 30 all sharing in the experience, catching glances of those within eyeshot during the show, and of course the great, exploratory music, hilarious henrietta on the vacuum (“Thanks for bring me out of the penalty box,” said he,) Tela, and the postPHISHparty that went on for days in Lex. Ahh, college…

  6. rizlamon Says:

    @Mr. Miner


    The Jam of the Day link for Curtain is wrong (it is the 2001 again)

    haven’t red all posts so not sure if anyone’s already mentioned this



  7. Kenny Powers Says:

    sorry, annoying techie question here for computer peeps – disregard if uninterested in that sort of thing:

    for external hard drives you have a choice of either a USB or eSATA connection. i know eSATA is way faster in terms of file transfer, but will having one over the other one make a difference in upload/download speed, specifically with bittorrent?

    of course your internet speed will be main determinant i would assume, but independent of that would eSATA give me significantly faster up/down speeds?

    also, if i’m transferring files from a USB hard drive to an eSATA drive (or vice versa), will the USB involvement make it go at USB speeds, or will it be a half-way point between USB and eSATA speeds?

    sorry…read on.

  8. Kenny Powers Says:

    FYI re: Joy Box: (email received just now)


    As you are probably aware, we have experienced some production delays beyond our control, and the product is not yet available to ship to pre-order customers. We want to thank you for your patience and understanding. This manufacturing process has proved to be quite complicated, but we do think that it will be worth the wait. Barring any more delays, we should begin shipping during the week of 11/23/09.

    If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.


    Customer Service
    Toll Free (US): 888-487-4171”

  9. Kenny Powers Says:

    is this site screwed up or has no one posted in the last few hours for real?

  10. oneshowatatime Says:

    Thanks for a great SPOT-ON review of the Festival 8 environment and community. This is exactly how I described it to friends who couldn’t make it–110% positive vibes, luxo-camping, great weather, well organized, an altogether well-behaved crowd and a grown-up Phish festival. Good times!

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