“PhanArt” – A Record of Us

The Phish Community – 8.9.04 Hampton

Beyond the musical masterpieces and vibrant fantasy lands that comprise Phish tour, there is a community; a people who have defined the cultural significance of Phish as much as the band’s music, itself.  Phish fans play an integral role in the energy flow to and from the band every singe night, and it is this dynamic interplay that separates the live Phish experience from that of most other bands and their fans.

But this exchange of energy and creativity overflows beyond the confines of arena and amphitheatres, and into the lot.  The Phish lot, taking its cue from The Grateful Dead’s, has been a traveling psychedelic bazaar of artists and merchants- a revised throwback to the Renaissance days of atria and bartering.  People vend, congregate, drink, negotiate, share smokes, and celebrate- like an ancient rite that has been passed down through generations- creating a living, breathing community.  In this nomadic open-air market, art created by fans has long been a centerpiece of creativity, expression, and transaction; the collective art of us.

Phanart: The Art of the Fans of Phish

This art represents the intersection of musical inspiration, individual creativity, and the communal experience- and this is where the book “PhanArt: The Art of Phish Fans” comes in.  In a sprawling visual epic, editor Pete Mason has compiled a definitive history of the Phish community.  Combining fan contributions, memoirs, historical writing, interviews and anecdotes with a visual archive that will blow your mind, “PhanArt” is a trip through Phish lots of yore, and an essential piece of recorded history for our largely underrepresented sub-culture.


“PhanArt” was first conceived by Mason and friends as they drove away from Coventry, coming to the realization that IT was really over.  But beyond the somber truth, they felt a need to record what had happened, to document the community and phenomenon that lived around the music of Phish.  Mason had the idea to collect relics from lot- those nuggets of Phishy culture that we would never see again- the stickers, the t-shirts, the posters, the artwork- the expression of fans through the years.  Within weeks of conception, a Gmail account was setup and word began to spread for submissions.  The goal of 1400 items was reached in 2006, and Mason began to edit and compile this mass of memories.  What resulted is an overwhelmingly comprehensive and entertaining tomb that Phish fans of any age- but particularly ones that have been around- will enjoy for hours on end.


Combining the writings of community members and chronicling the art of so many people you know, recognize, or have bought something from, “PhanArt” is a vibrant record of we have created.  With every piece of lot regalia you’ve ever seen- and many that you haven’t- this book will definitely bring you back, while reminding you of some shirts you lost along the way. This book-based museum contains amusing sections,  including a compilation of the eternally-popular “corporate-logo-turned-Phish-song” art and an archive of  Simpsons / Phish mash-ups, as well as fan-artist profiles with samples of their work.


Mason is the first person to take the time to chronicle the artistic offshoots of this circus act we call Phish tour.  With all net profits going directly to The Mockingbird Foundation, Mason has truly done a selfless service for all fans, providing an external hard drive of memories to compensate for those lost over time.  A joy to read and a legitimate archive of Phish tour, I highly recommend picking one up.  And, if you were wondering, I am not getting anything to write this- it’s really that good.



Guess the Halloween Album – Win Money While Saving Antelope!


Speaking of fan artwork and community participation, over at “Antelope Gatefree Paradise,” they are running a “Guess the Halloween Album 50/50 Raffle,” with half the proceeds going to the winner and half going to the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge out west.  While you are there, you can also pick up some classic Antelope T-shirts for the second leg of tour.


Winged music note

Jam of the Day:

Twist > Piper” 7.5.97 Como, Italy

This “Twist” was an offshore highlight from the Summer of ’97.  Part of their funk explorations through Europe in June and July, this jam sprouted in the middle of a free, single-set, outdoor show in Italy.  Seamlessly jamming in and out of  Deee Lite’s “Groove Is In the Heart,” this one is a great piece of improv you may of never heard.  Segueing unfinished into “Piper,” this was an early incarnation of the oft-combined songs.



6.20.97 Prague Poster

6.20.97 Divaldo Archa,Prague, CZ ^TORRENT

6.20.97 Divaldo Archa,Prague, CZ ^MEGAUPLOAD

Taking it from Italy over to Prague, we have another chapter of the funk-laden story that was Europe ’97.

I: Taste, jam > Cities, Horn, Ain’t Love Funny,* Limb By Limb > I Don’t Care > Run Like an Antelope

II: David Bowie, Ghost, Bye Bye Foot, Ginseng Sullivan, Cavern, Twist, Bouncing Around the Room, Julius

E: When the Circus Comes, Rocky Top

**First time player, J.J. Cale cover

Source: Schoeps cmc6/mk4 > Sonosax SX-M2 > DA-P1

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