Sunday, July 10, 2011

Phish Superball IX Festival

Phish Superball IX was Phish's ninth festival and it was the social event of the season for Jack and I. Unlike most music festivals, with several stages featuring more music than you can ever see performed, there was a casual, relaxed vibe that prevailed throughout the weekend in Watkins Glen, NY. Phish was the only act on the playbill this 4th of July weekend and they performed only 8 sets including an unannounced late night psychedelic jam session that rivaled some of Pink Floyd's early work. Other than that the day was spent cooking, camping and visiting with family and friends plus chatting with interesting people and making new friends.
The weekend in Watkins Glen promised to be fantastic and it delivered. The Phish staff at the festival was very friendly and went out of their way to smooth out problems and make us feel like guests, but the police and fire department presence at Phish IX was too much. The mounties can handle things and call the officials in if needed, they don't need to drive around and around creating more dust. The weather was quite nice with a passing rain shower one morning while most festival goers were sleeping.
We were in the Glen Close Campground at Superball IX which was considerably closer to the stage than the general camping area where we actually spent most of our time in between music sets. The problem for us was that the 2 camps were separated by the main concert grounds which meant extra walking if you wanted to hookup with friends in general camping and that sucked. Then if you wanted to take anything over to the other camping area it was even worse, you had to walk all the way around the entire race track, which was miles. Overall we'd have been better off in the general camping area. Thank goodness they let me ride the electric bike around. The renegade shakedown took a while to come together, but once it did they raged it thank goodness. I like the Renegade Shakedown St. They are such an important part of it for many customers like me. It adds a necessary element to the scene. I would really miss some of the products and services. If they got greedy and didn't allow a renegade shakedown any longer, I would not be going to nearly as many Phish shows for sure. It just wouldn't be the same without that part of the family, you know?
Phish was sounding good this weekend too! The stage was weird, very tall and skinny with a nice sized column and a half of speakers hung from each side. It was fairly loud but could have had stronger bass. If I was Phish I'd insist on more bass. With Bass Nectar, Pretty Lights & Girl Talk so popular it's obvious that the fans want xtra bass so why not take it up a notch? Noticeably absent however were the typical video monitors on each side of the stage. It was difficult to get a look at Phish performing the music because there was no slope to the main field. Video monitors would have been appropriate at this location. Phish has been looking and sounding awesome lately with what appears to be new lights and speakers, just double the bass and were there! Fans came to have fun with glow sticks as big glow stick wars broke out on several occasions in the concert crowd.
I'm sure Phish is always looking for fresh ideas, so here's something new and different. How about an ice cream social at the next festival? I'm sure you can pal-up with Ben & Jerry's who was giving away free ice cream at Phish's Superball IX all weekend anyway and hand out Phish Food Ice Cream to concert goers while they mingle around and listen to Phish performing an afternoon set of something appropriate for the moment. I believe an ice cream social would be the talk of the town!
It was so wonderful to see Phish family and friends again, at times it was like a reunion. I just wonder how "twinkle trees" (Electric Forest) went. Wish they were on different weekends, I would have loved to have gone to both festivals.

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