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. Mitch Says:


    the 4 night link

  2. Mitch Says:


    check ’em out. this really needs to be the after party for thursday 12.3

  3. oneshowatatime Says:

    for some reason I’m not seeing the post i just made so I’ll write it again:

    Holy shit, has anyone seen any of TylerPenn’s videos from Festival 8 on Youtube? This guy has a plethora of RIDIC HD videos from the weekend.

    Check out this Tweezer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctp85dFZs7c

    Here’s his page: http://www.youtube.com/user/TylerPenn

    Great picks for Videos of the Weekend–enjoy!

  4. fromthetub Says:

    @worthless swampy – I have an extra Cincy 11/20. Mail order Sec. 235. Just want it to find a good home, so less than face would work… just let me know! I’m in CA but will be in Cincinnati on Monday. My email is fromthetub at yahoo.

  5. oneshowatatime Says:

    my post just got tossed twice–had two links to Youtube in there, is that why?

  6. BTB Says:

    MR. C is spot on. The whole reason the Cavs got Shaq was for the playoffs. Now if our moron coach Mike Brown would stop playing Shaq and Z at the same time, we’d be moving forward.

  7. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @lycan – I think the plan right now is Hoffbrau Haus post Friday show. I know its a late night affair, but we are all going to be pumped up after a throwdown right? The place will be crawling with heads, so I will have to figure out a way to arrange where we will meet. Probably use facebook to accomplish that.

  8. beepaphone Says:

    Hoffbrauhaus is less than 2 block from my hotel, so I imagine I’ll be posted up there all weekend, unless they don’t have TV’s to watch the Oaken Bucket game

  9. beepaphone Says:

    @BTB yep! Cleveland learned the hard way that basketball isn’t necessarily all about talent, it’s about matchups just as much. Orlando was their nightmare.

  10. GuitarPicker420! Says:



    Plan on Friday post show, roughly midnight?

  11. BTB Says:

    I think the Cinci debate was PRE-POST-PRE-POST for friday or sat.

    I’ll probably go Post-Fri and Pre-Sat.

  12. BTB Says:

    My buddy, who watches a lot more NBA than I has been saying that for years. And he’s right. A 4th seed can beat the 1st seed in the playoffs if they have match-ups that work for them.

  13. beepaphone Says:

    LLFA – click 420’s map link, then click reviews…the first review is titled “Do you like an Oom-Pah band?” Well….YEAH.

  14. fromthetub Says:

    Anyone have ideas for Cincy pre-game? I’m going solo and would love to grab a beer beforehand… maybe near the venue on the OH side?

    re: Fest 8. One of the best moments for me was realizing how relatively close I was to the stage, yet I had at least 5 feet around me clear for dancing space. Other than security taking my water bottle on entrance to the concert ground I had zero hassles. The whole weekend was truly a huge contrast to being mud covered and extremely sad at Coventry.

  15. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @beep – Oaken Bucket kicks off at 3:30, so it will be tight to get to the show from Hofbrau Haus depending on when the game is over. However, since Purdue is going to blow IU out of the water, kicking them in the ribs while they’re down, I think we should be able to leave early!

  16. BTB Says:

    It’s an 18 minute walk from the Crown to Haufbraus.

  17. beepaphone Says:

    YES I LOVE IT! Yeah…might have to watch that one on the OH side of things

  18. BTB Says:

    @ GP 420 – Congrats on beating tOSU this year. My balls are still sore from that one. Oh well, 6th straight B10 title coming up this saturday. Too bad a B10 title doesn’t mean anything, ha!

  19. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Reading reviews of Hofbrau Haus, and all the bad ones are about too many drunk people falling all over the place. Sounds like our kind of place!

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    so hofbrau haus is standing tall as all pre/post fri/sat festivities then?

    do we wear our pt shirts, or what?

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    @T3 – West was out for the Cavs as well – approximately an equal piece to Rashard FWIW

    Shaq and Z at the same time…WTF

  22. beepaphone Says:

    @ BTB after Saturday we will have officially bean you AND the whole state of Michigan. Sorry bud.

  23. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I think we can make it “official” for Friday post show, and then see what happens for the rest of the run?

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @ beep, everybody knows that the best stories start with some “Oom Pa Pas” 😉

    @ Mr. C, true dat. NBA isn’t usually my cup o’ tea but I had it on in the background while listening to the uber Tube show (Starlake) mentioned yesterday and doing the setlist. I’m more of a college sports guy.

  25. beepaphone Says:

    Sounds like a crazy trip – laderhosen, biersteins, schnitzels, drinking songs, flipped over tables and spilled beer.

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