All photos by Adam Dyda
With Phish set to open a three-show run tonight at Dick’s, here’s a piece originally slated to appear in our Curveball newspaper.
Look around you. Art is EVERYWHERE! It’s not just on the stage, but found in the lights, the trees, the art installations and among the fans too. At every Phish festival since Clifford Ball, artists have worked alongside the band and production team to bring the festival grounds to life in a way that accents the musical experience. Some of these art installations stand out in the lore of Phish festivals:the Sunken City at IT, the Porto-Pagoda at The Lemonwheel, the Ice Pyramid in The Delta at Big Cypress, giant marshmallows on sticks at Camp Oswego, the Burble at Fest 8, the wooden art of festival namesake Clifford A. Ball at The Clifford Ball, the Storage Units at Superball, the Observatory at Magnaball, and of course the giant match that lit the collective art project at The Great Went, just to name a few.
This year at Curveball, Phish brought back some of the artists who brought us various art installations and experiences at past festivals. The team, led by Russ Bennett and working with longtime collaborator Lars Fisk, were given varying degrees of direction from the band and production team, culminating in the variety of art you see before you on the field – and some you might miss..
Abigail Manock has designed “Lucky Inside,” an interactive art experience where each day fans will help to fill pinatas, and a lucky few will be selected to try to break them open. Manock has created three 6-foot tall pinatas and invites fans to donate an item to a ‘time capsule,’ perhaps something of personal significance, and in return, place their phone number on a ping pong ball. Each day, before showtime, five ping pong balls will be selected and fans contacted to take a swing and smash the hoisted pinata. All the contributed items over the course of the festival will be archived on Instagram (@luckyinsideproject) where you can learn more about the item(s) you may get from the defeated pinata. A Burlington native living in Brooklyn, Abigail first worked at IT on three acorn heads with wingnuts, and also developed Mammoth Mart at Coventry, both of which are critiques on consumerism.
In the location where The Observatory was at Magnaball is “Curvature,” designed by Randy Gaetano of York, ME. Gaetano’s past Phish festival experience involved developing the Ice Pyramid at Big Cypress, the New Do Barber Shop, as well as 2-dimensional garden ornaments found in the Wagon Train at Coventry, and at Magnaball where he grew crystals for a month to develop a Crystal Tree that continued to grow during the festival. For Curvature, Randy uses a combination of Native American basket weaving methods and quarter inch thick wooden strips that he burned with symmetrical totem drawings (all done on site earlier this week) that are intertwined in a curvilinear fashion. From above, the structure resembles a three dimensional crescent moon, using curved wood intertwined inside the Curvature. The self-supporting structure is sanctuary-esque and a truly unique spatial experience, with light from the inside illuminating the 100 foot long, 30 foot deep structure.