Team Phish has spent much time in the Coachella Valley as of late, so much that folks in Indio have been referring to the Empire Polo Club as "Little Vermont." They also call raisins "sun grapes," which is just weird.

Seriously though, within the next week, the planning and mapmaking and drawing of the past several months gives way to building and transforming the site, at last, into Festival 8. Back on the East Coast, the band is deep in rehearsals; working on the Halloween Set, as well as the Acoustic set planned for Sunday morning at the festival.

While there are far too many great elements in the works for the festival to share in this space, we’ll highlight a few of them here:

THE OVERLOOK + THE COIL – Right at the entrance to the concert field is an elevated area partially covered by spectacular Olympic Peak Tents that looks out onto the lush concert field. Here at the Overlook you’ll get the chance to enjoy a particularly bloody mary at the Bloody Mary Bar, a movie area showing vintage Halloween classics, archival Phish video, (not to mention The World Series and NFL games), a massive 100 foot Ferris Wheel and an internet cafe (though wi-fi will be provided throughout the site). The Overlook will be opened from 8 am to 2 am each day of the festival, and will also be open Thursday, October 29, beginning after Soundcheck. Between The Overlook and the stage you’ll find The Coil, a large swirled structure where Festival 8 turns and returns, host to multiple art installations and interactive works galore. When the sun goes down, look on the outskirts of The Coil for an explosive group of fire artists bringing the HEAT (that has TWO meanings!).

THE HOUSE OF LIVE PHISH – It’s back for Festival 8 with a nice twist. Get out of the heat, the House Of Live Phish will be air conditioned! Think you can do a better job mixing Phish? The House will feature mix-your-own-track stations complete with skilled instructors from ProMedia, and you’ll be able to re-mix tracks from this Summer’s Tour while drinking a Shasta (Wait, scratch that last part — Shasta’s just pulled out). Final racks will be uploaded to a blog at for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Also, everyone who visits the House of Live Phish will receive a free card redeemable for a Live Phish Summer 09 Sampler. Download and burn your own sampler onto CD using a Mac from our buddies at Small Dog Electronics in Vermont, or just enjoy listening to any of the songs at on a Sonos listening station.

We’re also making each show from the weekend available on slotMusic micro SD cards, so that you can grab them on your way out of the concert field and listen back right away. Each card comes with a USB sleeve ensuring interoperability with all computers as well a microSD-enabled mobile phones and MP3 players. Listen to the concert on your way back to your campsite (you will never not be listening to Phish. Get used to it). Stop by the Phish Dry Goods tent for more details.

BEER! CERVEZA! BIER! BIERE! PIVO! BIR! – It seems a little silly to tout that there will be beer for sale at Festival 8. Worthy of mention is there will be over 50 different kinds of beer for sale – microbrews, ‘beers of the world’, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and our friends at Sierra Nevada have brewed a special pilsner exclusively available at Festival 8 called FOAM.

KURODA KNOWS HOW TO LIGHT A PALM OR TWO OR THREE – In addition to his usual duties behind the console, lighting designer Chris Kuroda is overseeing lighting throughout the site – at the entrances, in The Overlook, on the field. You’ll never see a more stunning collection of 140 lit palm trees. That’s the Kuroda Promise.

THE RETURN OF THE BUNNY 95.9 FM – Like a zombie in need of nourishing brains, The Bunny is back! Once again, we’ll be hopping around all weekend in a little trailer behind the stage, dishing out large quantities of killer music, up-to-the-minute traffic reports, festival updates, insightful interviews from the field, a dangerous triple session of Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro’s "From the Archives" shows, frightening late-night freak outs, subliminal messages, Dr. Demento outtakes, sound effects of doors closing, classic Jerky Boys tracks, white noise, Civil War dirges, Jewish fight songs, and of course, live broadcasts of all 8 Phish sets! If you get lost in The Coil or tied up at the Overlook Hotel, have no fear: The Bunny will be there for you, airing 24 hours a day beginning Thursday, October 29 at 10 AM right on through until Monday, November 2 at 10 AM. Now, if you happen to tune in before or after these times and hear a rock-block of Billy Joel, don’t be afraid: that’s just JACK-FM, the rock station we’ll be hijacking for the weekend. So be prepared: bring a boombox! Let The Bunny feed (on) your brain.

EIGHTH ANNUAL SCENT OF A MULE HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT – Got your costume picked out, tent packed, sunscreen, candy small beach towel and anti-grizzly spray ready to go? Well, how’s your pitching arm?

We’re tickled to announce the Eighth Annual "Scent Of A Mule Horseshoe Pitching Tournament" at Festival 8. Located in the concert field, the horseshoe pitching courts will be open for practice swings on Friday with the tournament taking place on Saturday and Sunday. East Coast vs. West Coast. It’s an easy sport to pick up so come and try your luck and get pointers from the good folks from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America.

COFFEE & DONUTS ACOUSTIC. I ATE – A team of physicists have been working on fusing two different spheres of doughy goodness into one coherent form that retains its integrity after an aqueuous sugar coating has been applied. That’s right – those Sunday morning donuts will be commemoratively shaped in a figure eight, and glazed. We did it, America!

FESTIVAL CERTIFIED FARMER’S MARKET – On Friday, Saturday and Sunday we’ll dish out a Certified Farmer’s Market (meaning that all the farmers participating have certification that their produce is in fact grown in California) that will feature organic and transitional produce, honey, cheese, eggs, bread, pumpkins, wheatgrass, fresh cut flowers, nuts, and California-grown olive oil. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried certified, California-grown wheatgrass – let me tell you! Organic coffee, breakfast, and lunch will be available at the cafe located adjacent to the Farmer’s Market at the El Dorado Clubhouse.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW – Tickets for Festival 8 are on sale now at