Wednesday 05/08/2024 by phishnet


[The following is courtesy of The Phish Studies Conference Program Committee. -Ed.]

Your time is near, the mission’s clear! The second ever academic Phish Studies conference, co-sponsored by The Mockingbird Foundation, will take place next week at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, conveniently located between Portland and Eugene. In 2019, the first Phish Studies conference took place at the same university and it was a rousing success. Although academic conferences in general have taken a break since COVID, many are now back and we figured it was time to open up the helping friendly book again!

The coolest thing about the Phish Studies Conference is that it’s not just for academics. Our slate of over 50 presenters this year is full of professors and professional scholars, but also a ton of people working outside of academia who are passionate about Phish and trying to figure out ways to seriously analyze and better understand what it is that we all intuitively know and love about this band. We’ve got presentations about the legal ethics of tarping, gendered norms within the jamband scene, Phish’s place within the history of tech communities, and even the intersection of Taylor Swift and Phish culture, presented by scholars from all walks of life and careers.

© 2024 Phish Studies Conference (AZN Media)
© 2024 Phish Studies Conference (AZN Media)

Additionally, there’s a two-hour guided listening session run by a panel of musicologists, a deep dive into the statistics of show ratings, a keynote speech from Osiris host and NY Times bestselling author Benjy Eisen, not one but two art exhibitions, a PhanArt pop-up, and three night-time concerts included with registration. There’s literally something for everyone. Have a cup of (free) coffee (all weekend!) and catch your breath.

We truly hope you can join us in Corvallis May 17-19, 2024, for an incredible weekend of community, learning, questioning, and some serious getting down to music. No dance moves are too outlandish. Registration is open now, but be sure to register in advance for the full weekend’s activities.

If you are unable to attend but would like to support the conference, you can make a tax-deductible donation or promote your business with a sponsorship. See the conference website for sponsorship opportunities.

We’ve received a lot of questions from fans who are not academics about what to expect. This is your “Helping Friendly Guide” to academic conferences. Please remember that you will be attending a professional academic event, not a concert (even though concerts are happening at night). In order to preserve the scholarly legitimacy of Phish Studies, we must follow the rules and norms of academic conferences.

  1. Registration is required. You do not have to be a presenter or academic to attend, but you must register online.
  2. Professional decorum is expected. Please be considerate of the fact that you are in the scholars’ work environment.
    • Dress is professional but casual (Phishy touches are welcome, of course)
    • Be respectful of faculty and student presenters; many will have flown across the country to participate in this conference. Do not interrupt scholars during their presentations.
  3. Follow academic protocols for audience participation. Panel sessions will have assigned moderators who will introduce the presenters and moderate Q&A. Each presentation will be 30 minutes long, most consisting of 20-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of questions and discussion. Given disciplinary differences, some panelists may depart from this model.
    • Wait for the designated question and answer period to ask thoughtful, relevant, and concise questions.
    • Follow the panel moderator’s instructions regarding when it is appropriate to ask questions. You will be given a mic, which you must use to ensure others are able to hear your question.
    • This year we will have concurring sessions running. We kindly ask that you arrive on time for each panel session and stay for the duration. Avoid entering or leaving the room during a presentation. If doing so is necessary, please be as quiet as possible, and try to do so between presenters.
  4. Follow OSU’s code of conduct. Please note that OSU is a smoke-free campus. There is no smoking or vaping of any kind on campus property. Although there is legal recreational cannabis in Oregon, there can be no cannabis on campus because OSU receives federal funding. Anyone who violates these policies will be removed and registration fees will not be refunded.
  5. No recording or flash photography. While there is a recording culture in the Phish community, the norms are different in academia. Scholars use conferences to present works-in-progress and receive feedback from colleagues.
  6. This is a conference, not a class. Unfortunately, you cannot get academic credit for attending. However, you may be able to obtain professional development funding from your employer to attend. Given that we have panels devoted to law, medicine, business, literary analysis, musicology, cultural studies, publishing, and more, as well as workshops and panels around issues of equity, race, gender, queer studies, disability studies, and sexual orientation, there’s a chance you could receive some professional development funding to attend. Shoot your shot!

Can you still have fun? Of course, it wouldn’t be a Phish Conference if there wasn’t an adequate balance of work and play. In addition to a jam-packed academic program, the conference will feature:

  • Our Intent is All For Your Delight” - an extensive curated museum exhibition looking back at 35 years of the Phish festival experience, presented by Alex Grosby of the Phishsonian Institute.
  • Exciting pre-conference workshops on Thursday, May 16, including affinity group workshops, GrooveSafe bystander training, and a theatrical improvisation workshop
  • On the Wind and Underwater” - an art exhibit devoted to Waves of various kinds: people, light, paint, emotion, and yarn.
  • Keynote Speech from Osiris host Benjy Eisen, “Gamehendge State of the Union Address”
  • “Nothing I See Can Be Taken From Me: A Staged Reading of a New Short Play by John Michael DiResta
  • Exhibition Fair presented by PhanArt, with a special event conference poster designed and signed by Lizzy Layne
  • CONCERTS EVERY NIGHT! A unique Phish tribute from The Walkaways, plus psychedelic groove and jam from Left on Wilson and Special Purpose. Did we mention live music every night included with registration??
  • Free breakfast. Because it’s the most important meal of the day.

If the idea of studying Phish (more than you already do!) seems exciting and unreal, you should definitely make the effort to join us in Corvallis! Wish your college had offered classes on Phish? Come get a taste for what those professors might have taught you. Phish Studies is still in its nascent stage, but we’re expanding exponentially and this is a [chilling] thrilling time to be a part of something huge.

If you keep your eyes open, you may find yourself there.

© 2024 Phish Studies Conference (Ryan Kerrigan)
© 2024 Phish Studies Conference (Ryan Kerrigan)

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


, comment by ltbuilder7
ltbuilder7 Program looking solid!
Are there one day passes available?
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