Rolling Stone brought you full coverage of Phish’s reunion sets in Hampton, Virginia, this weekend, but the real scene was going down — where else? — in the parking lot. More than fourteen thousand people, including a good number of accountants, lawyers and insurance brokers left their “normal” lives for the chance to see the Vermont jam legends rock for the first time in nearly five years. Some traded their suits for flip-flops and briefcases for hibachi barbeques. For others, however, this is their normal life — following jam bands from state to state hoping for a miracle ticket. They all drove, flew and hopped trains from just about every corner of the country and spent their hours before boarding the Mothership (the term affectionately given the Hampton Coliseum due to its resemblance to a spaceship) in the parking lot tailgating, trying to score a last-minute ticket, selling food or homemade wares, and even attempting to find some chemical enhancement for the show later (not that we’d condone such behavior).
Every person in the lot has their own story, and Rolling Stone was there to hear as many as we could. There was the insurance broker from Long Island who relies on Phish concerts as an escape from his everyday life. “This is my vacation,” he told us. “After this I’ll be able to make it through the rest of the year.” Then there was the accountant from Manhattan who was once so determined to make it to a New Year’s Eve show at Madison Square Garden that she successfully sneaked into the arena underneath a complete stranger’s coat.
Impressed? Horrified? Confused? Meet the other characters we encountered in the lot here: