First let me say that I understand the sentiment. At the height of the Phish moment, every mountain-town trustafarian too late for the Dead felt liberated to noodle, gobble fungus, and kick off his Birkenstocks. That was greatfor the first decade. But a new breed of musicians with verve and chops to spare is taking the festival scene to an exciting new place (e.g., Canadian old-time-cum-funk band the Duhks, appearing at the Harvest fest). So let Phish nation live it up this summerI'm sure the reunion shows at Fenway Park and Red Rocks will be heartfelt displays of warmth and burrito hawkingand then let's all move on. You can find me at the real party of the summer: Telluride.
The setting, 103-year-old Red Rocks Amphitheatre, near Denver, is one of the world's great venues, cradled by 300-foot sandstone towers. Sound quality is incredible, and there really are no crummy seats.
Don't Miss This year's lineup was not set at press time, but expect eclectic. Last year included Justice, TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, Foals, and New Zealand's up-and-coming Veils. Two days, $100; monolithfestival.com.
Intermission Bring your five-weight rod and spend the morning on the Blue River, with its giant rainbow trout (licenses and info, blueriveranglers.com).
Crash Ten miles west in Evergreen, the Highland Haven sits on the banks of Bear Creek and is surrounded by blue spruce and well-earned peace and quiet (doubles from $150; highlandhaven.com).