As a Florida native growing up in the ‘90’s I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by all types of music. I spent my teenage years hopping from clubs, festivals, Lollapalooza, and music in the middle of fields I had seen it all, or so I thought. Enter December 1999 I was asked to go to festival down in the Everglades. I would of course go because it was live music, but I thought the idea of watching the same band for days straight seemed a little dumb, too be honest.
While I sat in traffic with my friends for 13+ hours I was really questioning my decision and couldn’t stop wondering…… “why the hell are all of these people waiting so long and they have license plates from everywhere!” My 20-year-old naïve self just could not wrap my heard around it but at that point there was no turning back.
Atmosphere during Phish In Concert New Year’s Eve – December 31, 1999 at Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Big Cypress, Florida, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
We pulled into the Everglades as the sun was rising over the marsh. It was beautiful, peaceful and washed away all of my frustrations leftover from our traveling. We decided to explore after the car ride; we found a little mock boardwalk, a Ferris wheel, a drum circle hidden in the woods, people on stilts, children running freely, and a giant ice mountain that you could cool off on. I remember thinking, “I don’t know what this is but it amazing.” Little did I know that my 1st Phish show would go down in music history for so many reasons. Over the next few days we were treated to a 7 ½ hour set, combined we were the largest group of people together for New Year’s Eve 1999 anywhere in the world, Trey asked us to participate it was supposed to be a hilarious gag and yell CHEESECAKE! CHEESECAKE! CHEESECAKE! Like we were pissed instead of clapping?! On live TV?! My mind was blown, and I was hooked. Whatever alternate Universe I had entered I was hooked and there was no looking back. Now, I know the Universe is a donut, we’re all in this together somehow pulsating with love and light in a world gone mad almost 20 years later.
The not so clean ice mountain
As crazy as I thought it was to sit in traffic for 13 hours to see 1 band so many years ago, I am now rearranging my kids schedules, work, prepping to fly from Florida to Buffalo, drive a few hours, sit in traffic, give up my comfy bed for a tent, most likely be rained on for days and I couldn’t be more excited! Big Cypress was the best musical Curveball I have ever been thrown.
The article above was submitted to Relix for the Curveball newspaper to be distributed at the festival. As we all are inherently aware, Festival 11 was never able to proceed due to Mother Natures plans. I decided to publish it regardless because it was a nice stroll down memory lane. Yes, I am still licking my Curveball wounds like a batter in the bottom of the 9th beamed by the ball and unable to play in the World Series but we will move forward, together. I always say, if you don’t stop and recognize the highs you’ll never realize when you are there. I suppose this was a hard lesson in grace, one day this band will not tour anymore. Sigh. I need to remember to be thankful for what is instead of upset about what wasn’t meant to be.
**I do apologize to the photographers above, as Big Cypress was almost 20 years ago I had to scour the internet looking for pictures. If any are yours and you would like photo credit, please message me.**