Great 8

With all their cool little touches, high fan energy, and powerful music, there's really nothing quite like a Phish festival. But I'd say my favorite Phish event is Halloween. I'm very grateful to have been at every single musical costume dating back to Glens Fall in 1994. I always walked away with a new appreciation for an album that in most cases I already owned and loved.

So a Phish Halloween festival was just about the most splendid experience I could imagine. A desert oasis was the perfect setting. Not a cloud in the sky. Mountains in the distance. A great festival site. And just enough people (guess: 30,000-35,000) to bring the energy without the chaos.

Phish totally nailed the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. Like all the albums that came before it, they brought it to life and added another dimension. I hope "Shine a Light" becomes a Phish standard.

Festival 8 also turned out to be one of the best festivals of the year for HeadCount. More than 900 people stopped by our booth to fill out our What's Your Issue? survey or play our Reality Check game show.

Congratulations to the winner: Pat McNulty of New York City. He walked away with an original piece of Jim Pollock artwork for knowing such factoids as the first Phish song Tom Marshall wrote a lyric for. Runner up Tess Hall made it to the finals and won the PhanArt book by knowing that Ban Ki-moon is Secretary General of the United Nations. She would have won the whole thing had she remembered the name of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. C'mon, Tess!

[caption id="attachment_3145" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Reality Check runner-up Tess Hall (left) and winner Pat McNulty"]Tess Hall (left, runner-up) and Pat McNulty (right, Reality Check winner)[/caption]

Special shoutouts to Beth Montuori Rowles and Matt Beck from Waterwheel, and Ben & Jerry's (all the nonprofits gave away coupons for free scoops of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food). But biggest kudos of all to a great team of HeadCount volunteers: Dan Conroe, Ethan Robbins, Laura Scalet, Sam Calvert, Eric Bauer and Garrett Santora.

Like so many before it, Festival 8 will go down as a great moment in Phishtory. Here's hoping there's a 9 in the same spot.