On a recent RV road trip to Indio, CA to spend the weekend at Phish Festival 8 , I found myself in a surplus of precarious situations. While roaming the aisles of campers and tents, I could smell fresh garlic-grilled cheeses made by the most nomadic of hippies, the aroma of wild fruit from the on-site farmers market and the redolence of dry, desert dust being kicked up by the thousands of anxious fans.
I climbed up the back ladder to the top of the RV and placed a papasan chair next to a copy of my oh-so-invigorating Mass Media Law textbook. There was no way I could study in a place like this. I wanted to explore. It was 9 AM, the desert sun beating down on me with a power that was unfamiliar to me this season. Was it really only 80* ? I hopped down the side of the RV and ran in for a popsicle, came back out and continued my read as I looked out a the vast ocean of people.
To the left I spotted a triple-decker, maroon colored bus whose almost liquid shellacking beamed right into my face. The sign on the rear view mirror read: “Welcome, Come in,” but I wouldn’t actually make it there until the last of the three-day festival. There was something odd about it.
By 10 o’clock the sun shone down with the most intense winter rays. I had soon realized that Indio had no winter before dusk. when the sun sets though, you better be bundled. For the time being, I retreated to the comfort of the air-conditioned RV and studied while I waited out the intense noon-ish heat.
I dressed for the first day of what would be my first jam-band concert. Amongst the dead-heads
and free-spirited adventurers, I spread the blanket out and waited for Phish’s lead guitarist to grace the stage. And he did; they all did. It was a great show. People in costumes (seeing as it was Halloween weekend), children you’d swear were too young for the raucous, and me, in a state of stimulus intake. There were so many exhibits and costumes to see, a wonderland of things to eat and even more comedic conversations to over-hear.
The festival as a whole was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I like doing things like that. By the third day, November 1, I had just about seen the whole camp-ground, ventured around the masses of people and fire-statue exhibits and finally made my way to the big triple-decker bus.
I stepped RIGHT into the midst of what many call a cult. It was their bus,and the mid-sixties aged men and women sat contently, talking about the death sentence that man has been doomed to as a result of inevitable sin. The Twelve Tribes Commonwealth of Israel. As I walked around, in awe of the bus that these individuals had spent 3 years building, the members shared with us their beliefs and their idea of service to God. It was truly unlike anything I’d ever heard, and quite frankly I was a little worried I wouldn’t make it out before they gave me a hebrew version of my birth name. So, I stepped out, passed the 20 beds, full kitchen and hardwood seating area- back into what wouldn’t usually seem like normalcy. This time, it was.
Monday morning came and it was time to go home. Although I’m not one to stay in one place long, I was looking forward to my bed, shower and sea-side residence. Phish Fest Success.