Dear Phish: Words from Coventry

Coventry 2004

This weekend I received an email from George Pratt, a stagehand and musican that was part of the crew hired to work Coventry. While breaking down the stage long after the band had left the mud-filled site, he found a notebook that a bunch of fans had filled with letters to the band and thrown onstage. With their band crashing and burning, none of the guys saw it or cared to pick it up. George has kept it through all these years and has recently made arrangements with a moderator to send the book to the official Phish archives. However, he also scanned the entire thing to share with fans, and he has already done so on Phantasy Tour and

When I began to read this, I was fascinated. All of these people, none whom I know, were telling Phish what they’d always wanted to tell them—deep emotions from the heart. Laced with clever comedy, these letters provided an emotional throwback for me, and halfway through I found myself in tears. But these weren’t tears of sadness—for Phish is alive and kicking, but tears of awe at the power of band. So many strangers shared my powerful emotions, and to see these notes that were written down as Phish was bowing out felt nothing short of magical. A predominant theme throughout of the letters is how Phish changed lives and provided people with unmatched happiness and the experiences of a lifetime. Take ten minutes of your day to read through the notebook yourself. You won’t regret it.


We also have a way we can show George appreciation for this priceless piece of Phish history. Here’s an anecdote from his email that explains how.

In 2003, one of the companies I worked for was hired to provide all the labor for “Coventry” so off we went. We spent nearly a month in that town on that land both before and after the show building the venue, setting up the site, building the stage, and setting up all the lights, sound and video, and eventually all the band gear. The community of stagehands backstage was a show all on its own. We had various types of lodging. I was housed in a ski lodge nearly 45 minutes away but it was very nice. Since we are all crazy and were used to getting little sleep, each night turned into a party. Our house being the largest often played host. One particular night when all the stagehands were there, I grabbed my guitar— as I always do—and started playing some songs that I had written along the way. One of the guys there had a 4-track recorder and he quickly set it up. One of the songs I played that night was titled “Piss Wall.” It’s all about the giant wall we built that surrounded the entire corn field-turned-venue and enclosed the performance area.

I have had this song and book for years, and recently pulled this all out as part of my plan to win a contest for free studio time. I have made it to the finals in large part from the help I received from a lot of Phish fans on various forums. But I have fallen back to 3rd place and could use more help. Voting goes until Tuesday, so I still have a chance. I thought that since your blog is all about Phish, perhaps you might be interested in this book and song. People are really loving it and I hope you enjoy it as well.

Here is a link to vote for George in the contest. Hook it up!


Jam of the Day:

Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.23.03 I, Noblesville, IN

The opener of night three of three at Deer Creek.


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128 Responses to “Dear Phish: Words from Coventry”

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  1. RoosterPizza Says:

    I really like the note about getting out and seeing the country. Think about the tourism these guys have generated to cities and rural areas alike…crazy

  2. MiA Says:

    I’m looking forward to this. Thank you.

  3. Coventry Was Epic Says:

    Thanks for the story.

    I’ve always maintained that Coventry was a one of a kind Phish experience. There has never been and will never be a weekend of shows filled with that much pure emotion as Coventry.

    There are plenty of reason to not like Coventry. But the moments that were had there can last a lifetime.

    Just watching thousands of people walk their way in was defining reminder of the true dedication of our fan base.

    Watching Page lose it durring Wading pretty much sums it up for me. No other band could be that heartfelt or that real.

    I hold Covenrty in a special place in my heart.

    In spite of all the sadness, there was a sense of true community and triumph for just being there.

  4. thedayman Says:

    can’t focus. four more days of this bullshit then summer. boom, roasted.

  5. xpun Says:

    should be a good read, i saw the band from 96-00 and missed all of 2.0 due to real life stuffs

    it is amazing how many memories and how much of my life was shaped by those 5 years, they were the wildest most carefree years for sure

    there are shows looking back that i wish i had made more of an effort to get to, but can honestly say theres not any i wish i hadn’t gone to

    been thinking a lot lately over how these shows and experience are a finite thing. i cannot afford to miss another further show, who knows when that train will come to an end. i would hope phish can carry on for many more years, but even if their hearts are in it, you still never know how life will play out.

  6. poop goblin Says:

    24 days!!

    Woostah excitement building!

  7. BTB Says:

    For the record, I peed on that wall!!

  8. Guyute711 Says:

    Ok, who is staying at the Chelsea Pub and Inn for AC. Are there extra rooms, do people need more tenants or less? Trying to pull a gameplan together.

  9. RoosterPizza Says:


    We need to resume our story-telling song tt Sesh sometime!

  10. Tanner Council Says:

    “So long and thanks for all the Phish”

  11. George Pratt Says:

    Hey everyone. I am so happy that this book is making the rounds!!
    Here are 2 more links to the Phish Coventry Fan Book file just in case that dropbox link gets too much traffic (and I am sure it will since Dropbox only allows 20g of downloads)

    Thanks for all the support on this contest Phish fans are amazing!!!!

    also lots of content on and I iwll be adding more throughout the day and tomorrow

    George Pratt

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    Hey hey hey, Happy Monday folks! I feel like I haven’t left the office in 3 weeks…was here for about 18 hours this weekend while sister is in town from NYC helping Mrs. Weaver with the house and Wee Weaver.

    Inside a month now! I spun a bunch of these recently posted tunes this weekend and am getting pumped for shows.

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    can’t wait to hear what goes down in Woostah. Not sure if i’ve ever been so nervous for Phish shows.

  14. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers.

  15. George Pratt Says:

    Here is another link to the book. Dropbox is already dead hahah

    George Pratt

  16. George Pratt Says:

    Phish Coventry Book From Fans.pdf

  17. sumodie Says:

    Hardbody – first press review:

    will a good Hardbody review translate to more phish jam…?

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    the PDF file is linked below the contest link

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    Wow, that sounds terrible.

  20. butter Says:


    i just started to read thru the beginning of the thank-you book

    smeared ink and mud really give this thing a throwback authentic look, holy smokes

    the irony of these fans heartfelt words just lying in the mud, never to be read by the band is unreal

    thanks for picking that thing up George

  21. Guyute711 Says:

    Phish doesn’t care about you or your feelings.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    TT. i’m in there x 2, if you need it.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    scarp the x 2. just me. come on down.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Pumped for Worcester. Think i sealed the deal yesterday with the wife. Got tix, a place to crash, and a tepid yes from the wife!

    Let her sleep in until 10am ( a world record around here), fixed a gourmet breakfast in bed, and then topped off with gigantic chocolate covered strawberries.

    Nervous with excitement, Telas? I get that sometime. Never nervous that i could possibly walk out disappointed.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    atta boy, palmer.

    you got the phish spirit. inspiring.

    I am in phish plan limbo. have not pulled the trigger on tix; don’t know up from down.

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