Someone left this as a comment for me on Facebook (I think), something in reference to a snarky status update I made about Phish and my not really giving much of a shit about them. I meant this in a mildly light-hearted manner, but I got more comments on it than most Railroad Earth updates get. People get fired up about some Phish, boy!
I will admit a certain amount of aggravation at Phish, not because they haven't worked their butts off to get where they are, and not because they aren't smart and well-managed with good music to boot (to some), but for other socio-economic reasons. Whomever posted the comment about the tall trees crowding out the saplings has a very definite point, and one that speaks to the core of the problem with the music business. In the 5 years since Phish "retired" an entire festival culture managed to spring up in it's place. I don't personally believe that Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Rothbury, or any of the rest of them would've have been able to take root and become the ecosystem that they have without Phish's absence. And for Phish to come back at the time that they did - with the economy already in the shitter and festivals thusly placed on shaky financial ground - seems a little bit rude to me, as a casual observer.
Now, why should Phish give a rats ass about Langerado? They shouldn't, I suppose, because business is business. If Phish has a superior product to whatever festival or band might otherwise get the attendance and people vote with their wallets to go to Phish, then more power to them. Personally, I hope once this year is over and people have gotten their fix Phish either goes back to cashing checks from their investments or sees some decline in their numbers next year. I don't care how good they are, how big they are, how hard they've worked, or how long they've been around, Phish is a Dinosaur exacerbating the issues that have essentially taken down the old way and are keeping a chosen few on life support. They become a logo for the popular music press to feel like they've given some face-time to the "alternative". They become an easy distraction for music lovers out there that would otherwise be looking for a new band, a relevant band, to follow around. I'm not just talking about RRE. I'm talking about every band and festival in our scene.
I don't personally feel that Phish's return has impacted RRE one single bit, for better or for worse, but I do get the sense that something very big has entered our ecosystem here, and I don't want to be anywhere near it, ever. Sorta like the T Rex in Jurassic Park...