Saturday, August 29, 2015

Party Time! (aka Magnaball Trip Part 4)

Van is packed up with freshly laundered clothes, plenty of food and well rested family.  We head southeast through the Finger Lakes to the town of Watkin's Glen and check in to Phish's 10th Festival, Magnaball!
First order of business is setting up camp ... but oh it's so rainy and windy and dreary!
We were in Family Camping, and there was plenty of camaraderie as parents helped each other stake things against the wind and set up the essentials.  Once the basics were out, everyone pretty much hid out in their cars.  ZB played Cinderella as we waiting for the bad weather to blow over.
And by the next morning, it was dry and sunny and stayed that way the whole weekend!  It was so fun to see how the Phish festivals have evolved with the crowd.  I have been seeing this band for 20 years now.  I have been to one other festival, 17 years ago in Maine.  It was NOT kid-friendly.  It was a huge crowd of 20-ish-year olds having a blast, for sure.  But now, so many of us have grown up and started families, and LOTS of folks are bringing their kids to shows, so there are lots of community-made activities and support for the youngins.

On Friday morning, we trekked to another campground where a fairy-wing vendor was hosting a Fairy Tea Party for the kids.  So sweet!
We met lots of other little girls, who all became fast friends, sipped on pink lemonade and had animal crackers together.
We met up with some of our best friends from Asheville and their 12yo son.  The boys were immediately in search of, and found, a Phish-themed Rubik's cube that kept them occupied a good part of the weekend.
And the music, oh the music!  There were two sets on Friday night, one set on Saturday afternoon, two that night, and a "secret set" late night, then another 2 sets on Sunday night, followed by an amazing fireworks show!  ZB slept through a lot of the music, as she generally goes to bed when it gets dark, and that was fine.  It's certainly easier for me to not have to constantly look out for a wandering a 4 year old.  She did have a blast at the Saturday afternoon set where she could dance and play for the whole thing.
The Secret Set was not formally announced, but was heavily rumored among fans.  There was a big screen on one side of the field that had spacey images on it, and around 1:00 am, the band hid behind the screen and played a fully improvised hour of music.
The fun kid stuff lasted the whole weekend.  There was a promotion from a guy who makes Phish and Grateful Dead band members from Lego minifigures.  He was giving away some of them to kids that made lego signs and walked to the vendor tent where we was set up. 
Phish not only delivered with fantastic music all weekend, they made a genuinely fun festival field.  There was a science laboratory, a marching band that would make sporadic appearance, stilt walkers, a mirror maze, lots of creative art installations, and of course the ferris wheel that goes to all their festivals.
We had SO much fun!  ZB and I shed a few tears when it was time to leave.  I still don't have the heart to take off my wristband!  As Phish sings, "This has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way..."

to be continued ...

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