Saturday 09/16/2023 by Icculus


[This article was published in the newspaper distributed on the grounds of the IT Festival twenty years ago in early August 2003 courtesy of Dean Budnick of Relix and his team. I also wish to apologize to the ~87 of you who may have seen this post appear on the home page for a very brief time earlier today. I was planning for this to go "live" on the site Monday morning, but I wasn't paying attention to the publication date, and I managed to briefly publish it on the site earlier today in error. I regret the error. You did not imagine... ... ... it. -charlie]

Since IT was announced, fans began speculating about the meaning of IT. Some immediately thought that Stephen King's book of the same name, published in 1986, inspired IT, because the setting of that horror tale also takes place in Maine. Others thought that maybe the festival got its name because the band and its management often wondered whether they would do "it" again -- that is, put on another festival after the hiatus—and IT stuck. Whatever the meaning of "IT," Phish could not have picked a more ambiguous name for a festival. After all, our nation was recently inundated by marketing for a device originally known as "It," which was (is?) supposed to revolutionize human transportation. (Mike has already played bass on a "Segway Human Transporter" live-in-concert on more than one occasion.)

But what about the history of "IT" before IT became the name of Phish's 2003 festival? What is the (sur)real story behind IT in the improvisational rock community?

© 1993 Charlie Dirksen
© 1993 Charlie Dirksen

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