Getting thrown a Curveball – When a Phish Festival Cancels While You Are Already There

Before we even got to New York there were signs that things were not right- texts from the airline saying our flight had been delayed and we wouldn’t make our connecting flight. Getting on standby for a different flight only to be told “never mind! Your original plane is on time now!” Having the computers go down at the rental car place and hearing the young worker say “I quit”. Snagging my Phish necklace and breaking the chain off my neck. Mercury being in retrograde…

Once inside the Curveball campgrounds things started looking up. Easy security, great campsite that was almost under these two trees (if we had been just one car later in line!) and hot sunny weather that laughed in the face of that week’s torrential downpours and flooding.  After putting the tents up we grabbed our schmancy new Phish Nalgene bottles from Glen Close concierge and excitedly went off looking for water to fill them with as we walked on to soundcheck.

This is where things got fishy. They had some blue spigots you could get water from but we continued on to the gates expecting to get some from the filling stations inside. 3:00pm gates closed and gate staff boredly says “come back in an hour”. 4:00pm gates closed but now we are told “The Bunny will tell you”. There were ominous words in retrospect. Walking back one of the big speakers was being lowered down from the stage, and suddenly it made sense as to why they hadn’t started soundcheck yet- there’s a sound issue!

Back to the campsites to settle in and listen to The Bunny for instructions, I decided it was a good time to jump in that nice ice cold shower. It wasn’t. Just as I am finishing my shower I hear the first scream; didn’t even bat an eye until the second guy screamed. As I rushed into my clothes and out of the shower a woman that worked there gave me a sweet smile and taped a sign up “DO NOT DRINK. NO POTABLE WATER”.

Outside the campground was still. People just standing there in shock, hand over mouth, faces concerned. Did a band member die?? Back at my tent I grabbed my phone and saw a ton of texts, the first from my husband asking me “Why does Phish.com say Curveball is canceled?” Now I’m standing in shock, hand over mouth, eyes welling up and then I heard The Bunny.

“We are so terribly sorry…” rang out as people gathered to radios like moths to a flame. Instantly shock and yet acceptance hit. We all had been watching the local weather all week, and the video of the overflowing waterfall was really concerning. We expected potentially rough times. We expected mud. Never cancellation, yet here we were watching the stage and Ferris wheel coming down.

Fortunately the campground made proverbial lemonade, commiserating, contemplating, what nexting and dancing in a ditch in the shadow of a bunch of horse cops. No we didn’t get to hear primordial ooze come out of that big silver ball or see if they were going to play Talking Heads’ “The Great Curve”, but the people there received a valuable life lesson refresher that being together  with respect and kindness is a majority of that collective love high you get from a Phish show. :::enter obligatory “So keep what’s important and know who’s your friend” lyric:::

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