Osiris Releases Phish ‘After Midnight’ Big Cypress Narrative Podcast: Episode 2

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Osiris’ original narrative podcast After Midnight offers a deep dive into the events of and surrounding Phish‘s Millennium Eve concerts at Big Cypress in Florida’s Everglades. The second episode examines how Phish built a city for 75,000 fans out of scratch and the legendary traffic jam many festivalgoers encountered entering the site.

Hosted by Jesse Jarnow, the second installment of the five-part series features interviews with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and drummer Jon Fishman as well as former manager John Paluska, former road manager Brad Sands, longtime Phish employee Beth Montuori-Rowles, promoter Dave Werlin, Big Cypress runner Jefferson Waful and others who helped the band organize the festival. The episode also includes archival news reports and recordings made by a fan as he traversed the traffic to enter the site.

Phish’s crew and festival organizers built over 14 miles of roads, brought in electricity and setup a venue space to hold the 75,000+ attendees. Werlin and Palusa are among those that discuss all the work that went into putting together the concert grounds. They speak of the difficulties the remote site presented and hosting an event on sovereign land owned by the Seminole Tribe Of Florida. John Paluksa also recalls the band’s history of employing Russ Bennett and Lars Fisk to create artwork displayed at Big Cypress and other Phish festivals. Additionally, Anastasio explains some of the ideas the band came up with for Big Cypress that were pulled off and others that weren’t pulled off.

One issue festival organizers dealt with was the scare of Y2K, a computer programming shortcut that some thought would cause chaos when the new millennium began. Phish lyricist Tom Marshall, who was working for AT&T at the time, discusses how he almost missed the event because his company wanted all hands on deck in case any problems arose when the year changed from 1999 to 2000. The end of the episode deals with the massive traffic jam that developed on Alligator Alley. “There was one road in and one road out but people made the best of it,” Fishman explains. Jarnow speaks with organizers about the reasons the traffic occurred including an alleged extortion attempt.

Listen to the second episode of After Midnight below:

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