Pre-festival excitement was making it almost impossible to think about anything else besides all the possibilities, new friends and experiences I was going to be a part of at Phish’s Curveball Festival. The festival that I’d been planning for months to attend was to take place August 17-19th 2018.
Our Prius was packed to the brim with our tent, blankets, food, liquor in plastic bottles, beer in cans, rain gear, tapestries, camping chairs, coolers, two boxes of my book (How to Rock Your Life: Maintain the Magic of Live Music in Your Everyday Experience) I ordered special to be sold at a vendor’s tent and an entire closet worth of sparkly attire that I was so excited to wear. My husband Dan and I were bursting with anticipation as I glanced at my cell phone the moment we pulled into the parking lot where we were meeting our friends twenty minutes away from Watkins Glen International.
“Curveball’s canceled,” I read on my phone in the form of a text from my friend Jess who was heading to the festival.
Not believing the text, I thought for sure that someone has dosed my friend because she must be trippin. Frantically searching the interwebs it seemed as though my nightmare was possibly a reality. Still not completely convinced, I checked Phish’s Facebook page where they had just released a statement that confirmed it all. In shock I read these words out loud to Dan:
Curveball Forced To Cancel: Due to the severe flooding that occurred in Schuyler County over the past week, the local water treatment plant that services water to the Village of Watkins Glen, including the Curveball site has been contaminated and the water supply is not safe for human consumption.
No f*ckin way!
Stepping out of the car and seeing the looks on my buds’ faces, I knew right away that everything I read was true. I was having major trouble processing this unimaginable turn of events and even though I knew what has happening, I had to see for myself. After a quick conversation, we decided to head to the festival grounds as a crew, camp there for the night and make lemonade (with a little bit of tequila) out of the most sour lemon we’ve been given in years.
The vibe at Watkins Glen International matched what I was feeling which was a cocktail of all the emotions.
Disappointment that my favorite band wasn’t going to take me on an epic soul adventure by way of their musical instruments and voices.
Crushed that there were so many people I hadn’t met in person that I was looking forward to getting to know that I know because of online forums such as Phish Chicks.
Heartbroken because I wouldn’t get to hang with so many of my favorite people on earth.
Devastated for the band that they had the weight of letting down 45k+ fans, vendors and artists.
Grateful that I have food, shelter and an amazing life full of love, music and adventures.
Guilt for the huge amount of sadness and despair I was feeling. There were people in the Watkins Glen area that lost their homes because of the flooding that occurred that caused the water to get contaminated canceling Curveball. What I was dealing with was significantly better. But I still felt sad. And bad about feeling that way.
Even though most people made spiked lemonade out of their lemons by generating alternative plans for the rest of the weekend, you could feel the disappointment in the air (and see it in many social media posts). Those arrangements would have been the makings of an amazing vacation if the Plan A wasn’t a Phish festival.
Yes, I know what a luxury it is to attend a festival and how amazing it is to have ever seen Phish play live and how special it is to be a part of community of humans that follows them in my life in the first place. I get that and I’m so freakin grateful. For me and so many others, this was the event of the summer and the life battery recharge we were craving.
Time was taken off work, hard earned money was spent, childcare was arranged and months of planning occurred all for it to get cancelled right before our eyes. Even though we’re aware of how fortunate we are and how amazing our lives are doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to be sad because what happened this weekend was really freakin sad.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t care or have no sympathy for the flood victims if you feel sad about your festival getting cancelled.
Now that you know it’s safe to feel all the things that you’re feeling (because you’re a human being and all of those emotions are part of the journey and doesn’t make you an entitled prick), here are some ways (if you feel called) to help those who are dealing with the after effects of mother nature’s wrath in the Watkins Glen area:
- This GoFundMe was started by a Phan for the locals in our area. Fay Cerullo will make sure funds go to those who need it. Donate HERE.
- Phish Merchandise: They will be a launching a Curveball merchandise store very soon and donating the proceeds to flood relief and recovery. The store will include Curveball t-shirts, LE posters and other items (including the Nalgene water bottles intended for their CurveWater program). Curveball ticket holders will have first access to the store once live.
- Know of other ways to help? Leave a comment and let me know.