The Reed Fine Art Gallery hosted a retrospective, highlighting the three enormous Phish Festivals that were held at the former Loring Air Force base in Limestone, Maine in 1997, 1998 and 2003. At the time of the Retrospective, the Phish band’s reunion was generating sell-out venues across the nation, and gallery officials hought it appropriate to recall some of the fond memories of the three remarkable concerts held in northern Maine. Each of these concerts resulted in remote Limestone becoming the ‘largest city’ in the State; there have been estimates that when added together the attendance for the three shows was approximately 200,000 fans and generated in excess of $25 million in revenue.
THE GREAT WENT, LEMONWHEEL and IT will be fondly remembered by legions of fans, who not only enjoyed the concerts, but also the hospitality of our Aroostook County people. Each of these festivals were multi-layered creative extravaganzas, reminiscent of famed creative theorist John Cage’s ideas about the sharing of communal creative energy, in what he called “happenings”. The creative phenomenon that was generated by the Phish organization was recognized by national and international media outlets. Rolling Stone Magazine had a feature article about the IT Festival which remarked, “On August 2nd and 3rd, more than 60,000 Phish fans witnessed the end of Phish’s summer tour – and one of the most bizarre rock spectacles ever seen.”
With a careful sense of documentation, Professor Andy Giles was able to supply the gallery and present a broad spectrum of artifacts and photographs that he has been actively collecting since 1997. The exhibition, held from October 4 through November 21, 2009, included an extensive collection of relics, memorabilia, posters, and art works from the three shows.