by Russell S. Glowatz
The night before any of my many Phish runs have been adrenaline filled. Full of expectation, gathering of essential staples, packing, making sure my tickets are in tow, etcetera ad nauseam. As I sit here listening to rockin’ good tunes in preparation for what are sure to be a handful of blissed out days and nights, I am attempting to take one step back – one moment from my day to ponder and remember what IT is all about – the deeper meaning behind this band and community that keeps us all so engaged year after year.
For most of us it started with the music. Some were unknowingly catapulted onto our soul planet as they were dragged to their first show. Unbeknownst to them, that show served as a catalyst for a life changing journey. Whether they knew it or not, through the exploratory jams, blissful peaks, and dark and dirty valleys, they discovered meditation through music – a healing phenomenon that adds years to one’s life and often results in incessant smiling for days afterwards. Synchronous happenings began to occur. New phriends and loved ones seemed to materialize out of thin air. All of a sudden that newbie dragged to their first show found themselves at home.
And that’s what Phish is to me: Home. A home that’s open 24/7 all year round, even outside of shows or venues. A place where we can be our truest selves – our best selves. A form of escape from the monotony that daily existence often entails. So we save our pennies for someday, scrimp and get our thrift on waiting for the moment when that New Year’s run gets announced, or the next summer tour, festival, or exotic destination event. But it’s never really about the destination – rather the journey. And when that journey reaches its culmination, we reflect, “was the juice really worth the squeeze?” Always.
So as this multilayered, multifaceted, majestically constructed home is indeed where our heart is, like any other home it requires regular maintenance. How can we make it better? How can we keep it as awesome as it is? No home is perfect – there’s always room for modification or improvement. And with self awareness, community wide reflection, and a little bit of elbow grease, we can make this place shine, as it almost always has.
After a few exceptionally disappointing events that occurred early this summer tour, I already see improvements taking effect. Whether it’s Phans for Racial Equality addressing the racially motivated incidents at the Gorge with the band and fans, GrooveSafe raising awareness about the despicable reality of sexual assaults occurring at shows, or Green Crew and the community making concerted efforts to lower our carbon footprint we often leave in our wake, good things are happening all over Phish land. These groups have been working hard to make an impact long before this summer, however we need them now more than ever. Thank you for being here, and being you!
So as we embark on the final chapter of this summer tour, I feel immense anticipation for the joyous rituals and communion with friends and family that are about to take place. I’m also hyper aware of what I’m bringing to the table to not only help our scene to survive, but thrive for many years to come. Picking up after myself, not throwing my cigarette butts on the ground, and looking after any fellow phan in need is of paramount importance, next to getting my groove on and soaking in the serenity that the days to come will surely manifest.
Phish is my therapy – a conduit to being truly present in the moment. This community is medicinal – together we make a spiritual elixir that’s revives the soul. This in my mind is something worthy of protection and vigilance. Nobody fucks with my Phish – if you do, you’re gonna hear about it! So stay safe out there everyone, satisfy your souls, and let’s get this show on the road!
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