photo by russ simon
After the monsoons of Chicago, I had a few people ask me to write up a “What to Wear to a Rainy Phish Show” article for the upcoming three night Phish run on Labor Day Weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Please note that while I like to dress like some Punky Brewster/army brat reject, the rules apply to even the most basic of colors and pieces. When dressing for Phish, you prepare for war, blood, bile and all, especially Phish shows in late summer in Colorado. It rains here in the early evenings all the time, enough that most locals have complete rain outfits to wear to Red Rocks. Rain doesn’t stop the show, and it shouldn’t stop you. Bring a raincoat. A cheap poncho will do in a pinch, but the wind often makes them fly around. I have a great North Face rain coat that kept me dancing during “Boogie On” in Chicago this year. Things would have been rough without it. I also have a sequined lined jacket that works great in light rain, sequins = water rolling off a duck’s back.
You can get the North Face jacket in almost any color here: best lightweight raincoat
The jacket I got from The Gap years ago in NYC, it was some limited edition holiday jacket. It can be turned inside out for when you want to be incognito, and if you ever see something like it, grab it. I’ve hunted eBay for a back-up to no avail ever since.
Besides rain, it can get chilly at night here, so bring a hoodie or light denim jacket. I usually buy hoodies from the merch table once I’m at the show if I like the design. I also have many ugly hoodies that I had to buy, so check out the merch beforehand, you might want to save fifty bucks and bring your own. I never need my jacket during the show, but it can be straight cold afterwards, so plan ahead and don’t be that complaining shivering person at the end of the night, people like to hang out for awhile.
I often bring an army jacket instead of a raincoat if the temp is supposed to really drop, but you are usually fine with something more lightweight. Ziploc bags are a must, bring extras for everyone’s cellphones. In fact, bring a tarp! I don’t want to bring up CO tarping issues, but it makes a great roof for a group on the floor during a downpour.
Skirts and dresses used to be my go-to bottoms, but in an effort to carry smaller purses, I have embraced pockets and tend to wear primarily denim cutoffs, gotta love that fifth pocket. I bought the ones in the top pic from Venice Beach after the Hollywood Bowl show, they are pretty ridiculous, plain ones work just as well. I don’t like having pants on in the rain, so I’d do my best to have bare legs at potentially wet shows. You know when you use the bathroom and pull your wet bathing suit bottoms up and they don’t fit right? Forget getting sopping wet skinny jeans back on, it’s like that x1,000.
As for shoes, I have an in-depth blog linked below, but in a nutshell, I’m a closed toed shoe person. Many like flip-flops, then tossing them and going barefoot in the rain. I prefer either a thin canvas shoe that won’t get sucked off your foot, like slip on Vans, or my trusty Nike Air Max just because they have some decent stats and are so comfy (they get heavy when water logged, though). My other favorite option is boots, either durable leather ones that can have mud scrubbed off them, or rain boots. Rain boots get cumbersome though, throw some little flats in your bag for when it doesn’t rain at all so you aren’t stuck in them all night.
Also, don’t forget a hat with a brim. Whether it’s a straw hat or baseball cap, you need something to stop rain from splattering in your face. An extra trash bag to put your whole bag in is a great idea if it’s pouring, as well.
Lastly, Phish shows are T-Shirt Fashion Week. Wear your favorite, mine is this Bob Dylan/Misfits tank I found in San Diego:
I almost forgot! My latest must-have rain gear! The dear friend who forced Phish on me until I liked em guessed correctly that I wasn’t able to keep a setlist journal during Chicago due to the rain. He pops up in Tahoe and gives me a new notebook with paper made of waterproof stone. The most thoughtful gift, and I got to give Tweezer not one, but two stars in it (as well as a too hasty Piper call):
See past blog on shoes to wear to shows (as you can see, my VIP’s still reign supreme): Shoes for Shows
And past blog on Showpurses to finish the job: Showpurses