Happy Labor day folks! Grab that tie-dye tee and adjust your Phish cap, folks – we’re about to plunge deep into the eccentric universe of a Big Brad World! Brad here, your curious comedic guide, venturing into the wild gatherings of Colorado’s quirkiest scenes and as fate would have it, we’re gearing up once more as Phish puts the Jam in Jam-band at Dick’s Sporting Goods!

Now, if you’re like me, when you hear the word “Fish” you immediately expect the following words to be “and chips” but what you also might not realize is that phish fans don’t just go to the show to enjoy the music. The parking lot seems to be the most coveted place of all for phish fans—the six flags for flower-children if you will. The Rooster Crew and I hit the lot and in all honesty we were greeted by some of the most vibrant and loving people I have ever met in my life. Upon arrival, I thought it was somebody’s birthday with the amount of balloons floating around, only to realize that dentists aren’t the only ones using laughing gas to numb the pain.

The Phish Dicks parking lot is basically like a farmers market for hippies, wooks and wanderers. I walked past one tent selling tacos with what can only be described as human meat and another one with “handmade, organic, cosmic energy bracelets” right next to a dude bartering veggie burgers for a drawing of Jerry Garcia. At the next tent, there was a group of people deep in philosophical conversation debating whether a fish could ever truly understand the concept of water… With enough birthday balloons, I began to wonder, seriously, could it?

These are the mysteries that keep me up at night!

When you try to picture a phish parking lot, try and envision the lovechild of Burning Man and Woodstock, then sprinkle in a touch of that mystic street fair where every rock is apparently a relic. Ever noticed wooks can somehow turn any old boulder into a magical mineral with spiritual medicinal benefits? “This hefty one? Absorbs negativity. That Gray round one, it’s a cosmic GPS. Those grains of sand? Originally from Mars, and not only are they a natural mood enhancer by simply possessing them, but if you snort a line of them, you’ll receive a check in the mail from God for two hundred and twenty two dollars.”

While I wait for my check in the mail, I couldn’t help but notice that among the shenanigans and fish tacos, there was a genuine sense of community. Aside from the impromptu hacky sack tournaments and the wisps of “natural aromatherapy” (wink, wink), there’s a mutual understanding and a shared appreciation for the love of your fellow human who also worship under the Church of Phish. But instead of crackers and wine, it’s balloons and Blue Ribbons.

Now, if you’re curious whether Phish actually played music, I think they did. Somewhere between the 12th and 13th birthday balloon, I think I heard some chords. And for those few chords, I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, bigger than the grains of sand and bigger than the music. I don’t know if it was my belly full of human meat tacos or simply becoming a true phish-y but I enjoyed myself.

Until next time, I’m Brad Belanger and this is a Big Brad World!

Check out Big Brad World at Phish Dicks here!