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My Coventry Experience


Douglas
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Alright, I’m going to try to get some words out now about how I feel about what went down at Coventry.

First and foremost, I was traveling with a fantastic group of spirited people. Andre, Tom, Pat, and Matty most definitely made my experience as enjoyable as possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget this.

I’ve split this into 5 different chapters. Reason: some people only want to read about certain parts of the weekend.

Part 1: Pre-Road Trip

Part 2: I-91

Part 3: Pine Hill (kudos to the locals)

Part 4: Phish

Part 5: Reflections

So, take your pick and read what you want. This basically turned out to be more of a diary entry than a review. But, hey, I liked it!

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Pre-Road Trip

So Pat arrives in Ottawa on Thursday morning, with plans to leave that evening. However, the weather reports had us put off our journey until the next day. We even (briefly!) discussed waiting until Saturday to leave, but our decision rested on Friday morning. We hit up Canadian Tire for some rain gear and such. Tom makes the drive to Ottawa, and Matty heads across town. By the time Matty arrives, we break the news to him that the van won’t be hitting the highway until sometime in the afternoon. Suzie drops off his gear and heads home for a good night’s rest (alright, I’ll admit that was smart!). The 4 of us grab some beers and anxiously await for Basherman’s next update.

The sun rises, but Booche doesn’t. I head off to the store to grab some breakfast foods, which inevitably gets Booche out of bed. The boys take off in the afternoon to run some last minute errands. If Del hadn’t popped by shortly after that, I probably would have lost my mind to anxiety! (Del - Thanks so much for the company, and the help packing up the van!)

Magic-Pat packed that van like no man could!!! Unbelievable. And we still managed to tuck in 5 cases of beer after that. Beautiful………..

A quick stop at Velvet’s started our caravan to Coventry.

40 minutes later, I awoke from a little nap in a panic – “Where is my purse? Tom, do you see it back there? Andre – is my purse up there???” Flashing lights get Todd’s attention and we pull off the highway. The moment the words “I’m sooo sorry guys” came out of my mouth, I knew that the caravan had to be split. We had to turn around, there was no other option. No need to waste even 1 more minute.

Every single marker on the road going in the opposite direction was heart wrenching. I did everything in my power to not let that tear drop. Actually, it was the guys that gave me that power. Not once did I hear a huff, or an “ah jeez…” There were a few minutes of much needed silence when we first turned back, as it all sunk in. I was not going to get teary-eyed and snotty-nosed since I knew it would either make everyone else either feel sh!tty for me, or be pissed off at me. I was not going to make this worse than it already was. My first Loventry moment happened here – “It could have been worse.” “Don’t worry about – it happens.” “I’m glad you thought of it when you did.” “We won’t tease you about it…yet!” Although I still felt like the biggest sh!t alive, you guys made my sh!t-bed pretty comfortable!

Purse in hand…on the road again.

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I-91

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive.

Border.

Short stop (shorter than most red lights in Ottawa).

Drive.

I-91.

Stop.

Beers.

Walkie-talkie picks up Todd and Cory & Corina.

Walk.

Less than a mile, and there’s our caravan!

People start pulling out of line, and a spot opens up behind Todd’s car. So Todd and I make the walk back to the van, stopping at each group of people still awake to tell the story of our broken caravan. 2nd Loventy moment - 100% agreement/encouragement for us to pull our van up behind Todd’s car to reunite our group!

Beers.

Laughs.

Chats.

Bunny – Phish sdchk

Beers.

Beers.

Laughs.

Pictures.

More laughs.

Beers.

4am-ish…Sleep.

I awake at about 9am. Rub my eyes, sit up, and turn to see Booche still drinking a beer and chatting on the road. As Booche leans over to pick up his beer, there’s sits Pete on a stool across from him. Wide awake now! I start rapping on the window, waving like Forrest Gump at Lieutenant Dan. I can’t get out of the van fast enough, and then appears Tasha! Seeing familiar/beautiful folks (parked right behind us!) is the greatest way to wake up. The thought of beer crosses my mind…but I grab a Gatorade.

“Let’s turn on the Bunny for an update.”

Ouch. I’m numb. I don’t feel anything at this moment. Not anger. Not sadness. Not confusion. Nothing. Just numbness. I just can’t seem to grasp what was being said…over and over and over again. I can’t think. I can’t speak. I can’t look anyone in the eye. Then Tasha starts her mission. Her and Pete start packing bags, ready to head for the hills. This sparked some energy into my body. My eyes finally blinked. What are we going to do? Turning around (again) was not an option. Ideas started flowing, but nothing solid was happening. So we decide that we’re going to hit the closest rest stop, gather our thoughts, and think this through as a group.

Then Angel #1 appears with directions to his dad’s house, where we can all park our cars and get rides to the show.

You have got to be kidding me, right?!?!?!!! Get everything back in the van NOW! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!

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Pine Hill

After leaving I-91 with a map to Pine Hill Road, we hit a road block. No problem! There’s a kid beside us nailing a sign to a post on his lawn “Coventry Parking here.” We park the van and set up camp. How far away do you think we are? Does it matter? Really? No…we’re here, and we’ll get there somehow.

Familiar folks were spilling out of that lawn. Todd, Cory, Corina, Jaybone, Stapes, Freeker, Gentlemonkey, moe.ron, Blane. All together now. (well, aside from the folks already inside.)

I don’t know where to begin here. Loventry-extreme!

Here are some highlights:

- The locals are telling us not to worry about getting to the venue…they’ll be driving us as close as possible. And boy, did they ever come through on that promise! Although with each ride we took on Saturday afternoon we were told, “It’s only a mile from here” we were still so grateful for those rides.

- I realized that my spirit had taken over my mind when we attempted to setup the shade tent. Everyone had their own ideas, and the tent wasn’t going up. I normally get frustrated in these types of situations, but it didn’t even occur to me to sport that mood. The tent eventually erected and all was good.

- The woods were our toilets (with permission), until Sunday. The neighbour’s dog got “curious” and we were turned away from those trees. The boys found a heady pee-jug, but what’s a girl to do??? Andre took me for a walk down the road for the first pee, but damn, those were deep woods with very tall and prickly grass. Not friendly, but hey, at least I didn’t have to try to aim into a 2-inch wide opening. Then I hear that the kind folks across the street have opened their garage-bathroom to all us for a small donation. So very sweet! So on my first visit, I offer up $3. Sweet lady pats my hand, and hands me back $2. Unreal. I hand her back the $2 and tell her that I will be back once more before we leave for the venue. Then she tells me that I’m too kind. Oh, and as I’m walking away she warns me that there’s only cold water. Water? There’s running water? <insert extremely sarcastic tone here> Damn bitch! As if you don’t have hot water for us!!! <end sarcastic tone>

- The couple’s (Rick and Linda) land that we were camping on have a daughter who has been to a couple of Phish shows in the past, and they couldn’t understand why she wasn’t there with Phish practically in her back yard! So they were doing it up right for her. Rick has MS and apparently was extremely grateful for this opportunity to have us there. His neighbour was telling us that the money collected there would help his financial woes during his battle with MS. Can you believe that these people were trying to make us feel good about something that we were so grateful for?

- We bought a t-shirt for Rick. When we presented it to him, his eyes glistened. Pictures were taken with our camera, and with their camera. Obviously, the experience was theirs to be had as well.

- The next door neighbour, Carmen, gave me a business card to call her after the show if we needed a ride. And call we did. But the connection was breaking up badly….“Do you need a ride?” “YES!” “He’s on his way.” Music to our ears.

The folks on Pine Hill, and in the entire area really made this work for us. I honestly believe that there is no way this could have happened for us if it had not been for them. And to top it all off, they had smiles on their faces the entire time.

Loventry to a tee.

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Phish

After our last heady local ride on Saturday, we were hiking up a hill, and I was in tow. I was getting exhausted, but there was no way in hell I was going to ask the crew to slow down. We were all heading for the same experience, and their perseverance kept my legs going. I started getting lazy in the breathing though, and was letting out some exhausting huffs. That’s when Tom turned around. I’m not sure if he turned to make sure I was still there, or if he turned because he could hear me heaving. Regardless of the reason, it put a smile on my face, and more strength in my soul. Up that goddamn hill I went! A little rest at the top of the hill brought us all back together, and down Airport Road we went.

We trudged through the mud. I loved it…mind you, I managed to keep reasonably clean. But I loved that part of the adventure too. Nothing can stop us. We’re comin’ in!

Bracelets. We have to trade in our tickets for bracelets. Gate comes crashing down!!!! It looks simple enough so we walk over. But there’s no way those bracelet holders are turning to the side for us wookies. So we get back in line. We get stuck in the mud. We get pulled out. We help others out. Pat is in front of all of us (I think?) so he takes all of our tickets and faces the hole (thank you Pat – so much). We hang out on the sidelines waiting for our bracelets and ticket stubs. Bracelets are embraced and braced, and we walk on. We lay down our tarp in front of Phellowship and stayed there for the entire show. We gave ‘er though! Even though our arms and legs didn’t move more than 3 centimeters at a time, our spirits were given ‘er…

I remember at one moment, I thought to myself “How can I possibly do this again tomorrow? I have the spirit, the feeling, the love, and the joy…but my physical body needs more than this. Will I be able to do this?” I never once vocalized this because I knew that would make it harder….for me and the beautiful people I was with. We were all experiencing the same highs and lows. We all knew how each other were feeling. And this, my friends, was Loventry # 4 – we fed off of each other’s persistence and perseverance. No one, nothing, not even Mother Nature, was going to bring us down.

I won’t talk much about the music itself because many others have already explained it, and I would just be repeating their words. There were good moments, there were twitchy moments, there were, as Jaimoe would say, “kick out the jams mutha-fuckas” moments. However, the Sunday show was certainly something to be remembered. I had tears during “Anything But Me.” I can’t count the number of times I was laughing uncontrollably during 2nd set due to pure, raw enjoyment. The glow-stick wars showed up the fireworks by far! And the hush of the crowd during “Slave” (I think that was the one I am thinking of??) was purifying. I’ve heard of these crowd hushes during Grateful Dead shows, but experiencing made it more than real for me. Even then I didn’t think it was possible, and it was happening all around me. There is a word for this feeling, but I’ll have to make it up because I don’t think that it exists…how about “floobereabal.” That’s it. That’s how I felt.

That’s the only way I can explain it.

Thank you to the guy who saved me from falling face first into the mud-ditch after the show. Apparently, everyone behind me said “whoooaaa” when I was going down (I just didn’t see that ditch). Out of nowhere, this guys grabs my arm and hoists me up before my knee touched down. Thank you, whoever you are. That would have hurt.

Have you ever seen the “Field of Dreams” movie? At the end of the movie, when all the cars are lined up to get into the ball park (“if you build it, they will come”)….well, that’s what it looked like when we exited the venue. All the locals with their pickup trucks were there in a line to take us home. We didn’t have to walk more than 200 yards to get a ride. Another floobereabal moment. Speechless at that moment.

I was the first to hit the tent that night. Sleep came fast, and good. We woke in the morning, tore down, packed up, and pulled out. And then the rain came. (Thank you Patti for holding it off as long as you could.)

Home time. I don’t want to go. That’s right. I didn’t want to leave, even if it meant a shower and a bed. I wanted more. I loved it that much.

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Reflections

I wouldn’t change a single thing from this weekend – except forgetting my purse at Todd’s. But hey, that faired pretty well in the end.

Although it sucked hearing the news on Saturday morning, had that not happened I wouldn’t have had the experience I did. Coming together as a group; the locals (oh, the locals!); even the walking was all a part of my wonderful experience. It was this weekend that I realized the true power of spirit. Although the physical being needs its’ nourishment, the soul only needs purity. And that constantly surrounded me, whether those pure feelings came from within, or I fed off someone else’s when mine was getting dim. It never left me. Not once.

I feel horrible to 2 groups of people: Those that turned around and went home, for respected reasons of their own; and for those that made the journey yet didn’t enjoy it.

I, myself, went mostly for the experience. I try to do that everyday of my life – whether I’m heading to work, or going to the final Phish concert. Don’t get me wrong – I sometimes fall through the cracks and forget about the experience, but I know within myself that I cannot enjoy life as it is meant to be if I rely on someone/something else for that enjoyment. Thankfully, I was blessed to share this experience with such wonderful people, and I will never take that for granted. It was the people, and my love for new experiences, that made my experience fortunate.

“It's the beginning of a new age.”

And to think that I didn’t even have 1 single Stella the entire time!

Cheers to all…I hope everyone can have at least 1 good feeling from all of this. We all deserve it.

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Reflections

I, myself, went mostly for the experience. I try to do that everyday of my life – whether I’m heading to work, or going to the final Phish concert. Don’t get me wrong – I sometimes fall through the cracks and forget about the experience, but I know within myself that I cannot enjoy life as it is meant to be if I rely on someone/something else for that enjoyment. Thankfully, I was blessed to share this experience with such wonderful people, and I will never take that for granted. It was the people, and my love for new experiences, that made my experience fortunate.

And this is why you're the greatest.

Great Story Lynn!!

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Thanks Lynn. I loved reading your posts. Thanks for breaking it up too. Very Considerate and brilliant. I'm so glad you had a blast. I guess you've had one helluva year of music.

I wish I could delicately ask ZERO to use more paragraphs to make it easier to read his cerebral rants.... but i don't know how ;)

bahahaha.

Anway,

This made me laugh as far as a coventry story goes...

Imagine a buncha skanks in an IRC chatroom

and Phish is playing Guyute. Things aren't going so well.

(This may need it's own thread.)

coventry_chat_guyute.jpg

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Reading this thread it reminds me that I actually heard Guyute that night... it also tells me that I passed out for a lot longer than I thought. I remember the first two minutes of Guyute and the next thing I remember is being told to get up because we are leaving that was sometime into the drowned. Awesome!

Hey Lynn I am drinking stellas in your honour.

STELLA! STELLA!

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I have to say i have been reading all the Coventry reviews I can...I am usually completely fascinated with these types of events, especially when there is "tests" involved. I've heard the negative...the confused...and well you get the picture. And then I read this post...this is the kind of story that will only enhance with time, each time it is told. It is the kind of story I can picture telling the grand kids when they complain about climbing up a hill! No I'm serious, it was nice to hear such a good tale, a positive tale! A good friend of mine just returned From Coventry as well, as he was basically expressing the same setiments, he didn't let the little things get him down, basically took it all in stride, as an adventure. Alot of us forget to do that, not only in events such as the one many thousands of you enjoyed at coventry, but in life as well...oh crap your post has made me think to much...thanks for the read. MIkey

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