What Cheer? Goes Phishin'

By Nicole Friedman

What Cheer! Brigade fans should have known something was up for a while.

In its summer preview blog post this year, Providence’s favorite marching band was especially evasive about its plans for Independence Day weekend:

Friday-Sunday, July 1-3
- Something big is brewing this weekend, but we’re trying to figure out the best way to tell you. Don’t worry dears; we’re not pregnant, and if we were, would that be so terrible?

Then to further complicate and confuse, the band listed gigs for those dates at mythical events (The North American High Five Championships?) in cities that — on closer inspection — don’t exist:

Friday, July 1, 2011: Unidas, ME The Sturgeon County Fair
Saturday, July 2, 2011: Unidas, ME The Sturgeon County Fair (Day Two)
Sunday, July 3, 2011: Ettington, VT The North American High Five Championships

But any intrepid What Cheer? fan only needed to hop over to one of those Phish-crazed message boards to figure it all out.

Phish played its ninth annual Super Ball festival in Watkins Glen, N.Y., this weekend to a crowd of 30,000. Both What Cheer? Brigade and puppet performance group Big Nazo have made surprise guest appearances in the past, and Phish fans were sure this year would be no exception.

Alas, Big Nazo did not show — their reported weekend gigs at the Boston Harbor Festival’s Extreme Sailing Series (which, apparently, really does exist) and Attleboro’s July 4 festivities weren’t clever decoys after all. But the What Cheer? Brigade arrived at Super Ball IX on Friday and stayed throughout the festival to play between sets and during the day.

We can only hope this Phish-Providence connection continues to grow. Phish fans aren’t the only ones who could benefit from a little more of the Vermont-spawned jam band in the Ocean State. Given the news coverage from this past weekend, the local economy thrives when Phish comes to town.

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