For the Want of a Water Pump: An Oral History of Hookahville
During Memorial Day Weekend in 1994, an up-and-coming band out of Columbus, Ohio, decided to throw a party in the woods of a property owned by the bands manager and keyboard player/singer-songwriter. They called the party Hookahville, and 800 fans showed up through word-of-mouth advertising.
Today, the one-time holiday party has grown into a bi-annual festival that attracts some of the biggest names in music and upwards of 15,000 fans. The line-up for the Spring 2002 installment, to be held at Buckeye Lake Music Center in Hebron, OH, over Memorial Day weekend includes Railroad Earth, Umphreys McGee, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Bruce Hornsby in addition to two nights of ekoostik hookah.
Hookahville has become known for its laid-back spirit and killer line-ups. Promoting a philosophy of no hassles or bad attitudes, the Memorial and Labor Day weekend festivals have included the likes of RatDog, Willie Nelson, David Crosby, Leftover Salmon, John Bell, Jazz Mandolin Project and Dickie Betts as opening acts for hookahs daily show-closing sets.
Over the course of a few days, jambands.com ran down four individuals that have been integral to the festival since its inception: ekoostik hookah singer-songwriter and keyboard player Dave Katz; Acoustic Productions Jeff Heffe Spencer, band manager and owner of The Farm; ekoostik hookah singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist Ed McGee; and Greg Dubba Frahn, former hookah drum tech and merch manager, now the bands tape archivist. We hooked up with them through various means (over the phone, at the laundry mat, and at The Farm itself) to get their first hand accounts of how it happened, what its become, and what its like to run arguably the biggest festival in the Midwest.
Origins The Farm
Jeff Spencer: We came out here, initially, because Dave was tired of paying rent. That was the bottom line. We were living near campus and Dave came home one day and said, We should look for a place we can buy, Im sick of this. So we came out here and looked at some properties and found this.
Dave Katz: The idea, for the most part, really had two goals. The main goal was to just kind of have a party out in the woods and play. The secondary goal was that we were gonna play out in the woods where me and Heffe lived, and basically the cost of renting the farm as the venue was that we got a water pump, because we had no running water. That wasnt really a reason for doing it, but it was a nice side thing to get out of it. So we did that, and we needed a name for it, and I believe that we called it Hookahville. And then after about 800 people or so showed up without much effort as far as advertising, we figured that it was fun but we didnt want to do it there again.
Greg Dubba Frahn: Regardless of whether there was a Hookahville there or not, whenever they throw a party up there (The Farm), its gonna be fun. Youre in the woods and youre away from everybody and youre relaxed and you have campfires and guitars, people are able to just relax for a while.
Katz: There really was very little planning involved, it was just a matter of pulling in a flat-bed truck for the stage, getting a couple of cheap lights and a sound system, and asking the farmer next door if people could park on his property. There were no permits involved or anything like that. There wasnt much to it. Id have to say the PA was probably borrowedI dont think we paid for anything. If I recall, we ended up paying security with beer, and that was it. I think we cut a hole in the fence so people could get in, and Heffe ran through the woods with a tractor-style weed whacker thing to clear areas for people to camp and dance and stuff like that. I remember we pulled in a couple of big grills to cook some food, so I guess we did put a little money into it there. I dont know, maybe a week of preparation? Not much. And now its pretty much eight months out of the year.
Dubba: The first one, in comparison to nowits a night and day type of thing. Youre talking about a backyard cookout type of party with the stage on a little hay trailer. We were trying to cram everyone into this little area and the things sort of rocking back and forth. There was a tree right next to the soundboard. Hookahville, Hookahfest, whatever it was called the concept has developed into something thats going to go on, but I dont think originally they thought about that until they realized the potential it could possibly have. There were 800 people there, and the one thing I remember most specifically, and the thing that I notice has changed dramatically, is everybody had a 100 percent respect for the land. I think there mightve been three cigarette butts that needed picked up after the weekend. It was sort of a quaint thing, and sort of strange because we were in the middle of a bunch of trees trying to dance. It was a lot more personal, a lot more fun.
Ed McGee: Me and my friend Bill Creedon were the opening act. It was totally a last minute thing. [Editors note: this is to years before McGee joined the band] I dont think they hadI got the sense that they really didnt have it completely thought out, so it was sort of at the last minute when our manager Jeff called me and said, Would you want to open up? And I was already going anyway, so I said, Sure. They used to let me open up quite a bit, so I was definitely psyched to be able to open at that show.
Dubba: It struck me how clean and neat it was. It wasnt all wild and crazy; there werent whacked-out stories about how much fun people were having, it was just more relaxed. Kind of like the difference between East Coast shows and West Coast shows (laughs). Now its awesome and theres a bunch of people and its wild and crazy and its the thing to do in Ohio during each of the weekends. There wasnt anything to clean up, there wasnt having to get trashcans, there wasnt having to have security. I mean, we had bikers and that was about it. And it didnt get out of hand. Now, you try to have 10 bikers do security at Hookahville, and youre looking at more of a potential problem.
McGee: Talk about the whole no hassles or bad attitudes atmosphere, that was the quintessential no hassles or bad attitudes. Everybody was just in such a good mood and it was exciting, because it was like, This is our scene, this is all of us. It was definitely an exciting, fun thing to be a part of.
Growth: Bigger and Better
Katz: We thought we would find a better venue for it, so we moved to Songbird Center in Lexington. I think we actually called that one Hookahfest, it wasnt even called Hookahville. And then we decided to change it back, so I think by the third one it became all Hookahville. I believe thats true, Im not positive. We did that and it got bigger and bigger, and eventually we outgrew Songbird. We had Rasta Rifiki there, and we brought up a band out of Texas called Supplication for one, and I think Yolk was at one from upstate NYPercy Hill was there. There were definitely some bands there that are still around. Thats when we started going to all different places. There was a different one almost every time, I think, all in Ohio.
Jambands.com: When was it decided that you would do it again?
Katz: I dont think any of us were really coherent during the weekend, so it mustve happened a few days afterward.
Dubba: I remember Jeff and Carey Romanoff where managing at the time and that came out real quick, that we could potentially do something with this. They looked at getting it off the land and sort of shaping it a little bit more. I think the first time was a little bit of a free-for-all, just put together. As they started to look into venues and everything, Id have to say that moving into Songbird, thats still probably my favorite venue. The first couple of times that they played that place, they didnt even come close to selling it out. There were a lot of people camping there, but there was a lot of room to look at the stage. You look at it now, and it would probably be full.
Spencer: Because of where we were moving to (Songbird), with the stage set-up, parkingwe knew instantly that we didnt have to worry about a lot of stuff, especially finding opening acts. We knew guys in this band, we knew guys in that band, and basically called them up and said, Hey, what are you guys doing? And that was it. And as it evolved from there, agents became a necessity. They just did. That show and maybe the one after that, not until 96 did we really start getting our agent or other people involved in booking it.
Katz: We ran into all kinds of things, opposition from locals, opposition from policepretty much every problem you could run into, we ran into at one time or another. Sometimes it was the status of the venue changing three weeks before the show. We moved around and around and eventually landed in Licking County, which is where Frontier Ranch and Buckeye Lake both are. We have a very good relationship there with both the locals and the local law enforcement, which makes it possible to do them there. From traveling around the country and going to other festivals, there are very few places you can go and have 15,000 people without having problems. Not within the festival, from outside the festival. When there are so many people, theres just bound to be trouble. Something as simple as traffic problems can turn a whole community off to it. It doesnt necessarily have to be a major thing, its just the fact that its a gathering of that many people. With Licking County, weve found a place that works well for us and is willing to have us, and weve stuck there since then.
Jambands.com: Did you ever feel pressure to make each Hookahville bigger than the last?
Spencer: Sometimes, its not a primary concern but it does cause some pressure. It just does. And its not even really about outdoing yourself, its almost like once you hit a line, its really hard to go back. Even if you want to. And that makes it kind of hard. So early on, we were pushing toward certain levels of acts, and lighting rigs, and sound rigs and stage rigs. Money was never skimped there, so certain levels were achieved, and you cant go back. It was always, How can we improve it, how can we make it nicer?
Jambands.com: Tell us about Spring 1997, your first Hookahville as a member of the band.
McGee: It was the biggest audience Id ever been in front of, so it was a little hair raising. I definitely had more butterflies than I was accustomed to. It was really exciting for me and I think that personally, I had some worries about how it would be, because I was the new guy and I was just praying we would have a bigger audience than the last Hookahville just so I had some sort of physical evidence that things were going well. So I was really excited when it was the biggest one numbers-wise. And also it was my moms first Hookahville, which was exciting just to have her there.
Dubba: From playing for so long together, theyre so in tune with each other. I think that came along a little bit when Ed first joined the band. They had to reconfigure that puzzle and Ive watched them from that point on get tighter and tighter and tighter, to the point that theyre just 100 percent. You go to a show and youre like, This is the best show theyve ever played. This is one of the better shows Ive ever seen. And then you go to the next show and you say the same thing.
Jambands.com: Did you ever see it getting this big?
Katz: I think we probably had some thoughts about it. I dont think there were any grand illusions about how big it could get or anything like that at that point in time. It was just more like Well, it works, and were not losing our ass doing it, and its fun. It wasnt, Lets make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have 40,000 people someday. Were still not thinking like that. There certainly was a point in time when we realized that this is something that people really like to do and it wasnt just the hometown people who wanted to come, you know? There was a point when we decided, Hey, we can go with top-of-the-line production, and were still not gonna lose our ass. And again, its not about trying to get rich off of it, or making it the biggest concert ever to be in Ohio or anything like that, but we wanted it to get bigger as we were allowed to get bigger, I guess, by having the crowds dictate it. We certainly couldve kept it at a much smaller level.
Spencer: Every single show the on-site got bigger and bigger and needed more people. It mightve been people we knew or people that just helped out at the first ones. We have on-site people that have been working them since 94-95, you know? Our ticket person is the same ticket person weve used for quite a few years. Our gate guy is the same gate guy, same accountant… And its a very fun weekend. People dont mind working them because its such a great weekend. It just always got bigger and bigger. 99 was a very scheduled event. We realized going into the show in 99 that things had to get scheduled and people had to be set up for specific times to do specific duties. Now, it just takes more of these people to do more of these jobs. We do a large one and a smaller one and its the same thing. The smaller one we just plan less.
Synthesis: Spring 1999
Spencer: Thats when it went from a small pain in the ass to a really big pain in the ass (laughs). Up until that point, those shows were ran by me. In 96 and 97, it was me and Leslie (Spencer), cause she was the only person working in the office. We really didnt have, you know, anything we couldnt handle. It wasnt that bad. Then in 98 we brought in Pat (McCarville, current Hookahville coordinator), so in 98 and 99 it was just me, Leslie and Pat. That was a big pain in the ass, that show (Spring 99). And that year just happened to be the year we were also expecting to do over 10,000 in attendance for the first time. You know, Bobby at Buckeye Lake at Hookahvilleit was just big.
Dubba: I really like it being at Buckeye Lake. Buckeye Lakes a fun place. I liked Songbird the most, and I really like Frontier Ranch, but Buckeye Lake seems to be the most professional surrounding for it.
McGee: That was particularly exciting for me because I dont think I would be a singer in a band if not for Bob Weir To get to play, to have him at our festival at all, to get to meet him at all was huge for me, just being that he is that much of an influence. I got to thank him and say, If not for you
Dubba: I think it was a big breaking point for the size of the crowd. Since then, its grown exponentially. You get 12 or 15 thousand, where before we were hoping to break 7 or 8 It was a really phenomenal show. It was a really good weekend of music and to this date its probably some of the best sounding Hookahville tapes that I have, too. It was a widely circulated tape, and its probably the best sounding tape we have. Between the first one and a couple of the Songbirds, its probably one of my more memorable ones.
Jambands.com: Was it a big deal for you and the band at the time?
McGee: There was definitely an awareness that having Bob there would most likely make the crowd a lot bigger. There was sort of a responsibility that went along with that to really put on a professional show. We didnt want to do anything different, but at the same time there was that thing in the back of your head like, This is your chance to turn some new fans on. And I think its really just nothing more than a larger-scaled version of what happens to us when we travel around and we go on the road and play towns weve never been; its the same kind of thing. It just at that one (Spring 99), thousands of people were there, so its a little bit more intense. But I think were good at that. On your own, when youre sitting there looking out at the crowd, it can be intimidating. But when Im with the band on stage, I just feel the force of the band and its something Im really proud of and you feel security in thatIt was definitely an opportunity for us to turn some people on and hopefully we did.
Spencer: For me, just in terms of crowd size. We really didnt look at it like that before hand. Wed been working on Buckeye Lake since 96. In fact, there was a pre-release in 96 and maybe in 97 that stated we were gonna be doing a Hookahville at Buckeye Lake Music Center in the Spring. But around April, that didnt work out. Thats actually how we came across Frontier Ranch. There was a lot of stress on our staff. We were, in our own way, understaffed. Not really the on-site stuff, just the pre- and after because it was such a big gig. There was tremendous pre-work. And thats also when we made changes to our staff levels. In 2000, it was even larger. 2000 was almost 4,000 more people. It was quite large.
Katz: Absolutely. I guess if you had to look back, that would be the one that would stick out in my mind, and we obviously put more into it as far as acts went. Having RatDog there, it was huge at the time, really. To my knowledge, Bob Weir hadnt really played a festival in this part of the country up to that point. We wanted to get somebody that was a little better known nationally, and at the same time somebody that didnt normally do festivals. Up to that point we had great acts, and they were also acts that played a lot of festivals every year, and we wanted to try to do something different. We figured people would get excited about seeing somebody that they dont get to see in a festival atmosphere, and on top of that seeing somebody who had the prestige and the history of Bob Weir. I remember talking about it, you know, and we didnt know if it was anything they would even consider doing. But as it turns out, they were happy to do it and they had a good time and we had a good time. It was definitely a step up. And Buckeye Lake, we were stepping up on both levels there. We figured if youre bringing in RatDog, youre gonna have bigger crowds so you better have a bigger space. So we just moved up the venue size at the same time. And ever since then, weve done everything we can to at least have one, if not more than one, person on the bill that you dont see at a lot of festivals. Something that hopefully makes the line-up stand out in a different way than some of the other festivals. I think weve been pretty successful. I mean, bringing in David Crosby, that was pretty wild, and this time having Bruce Hornsby – not with The Other Ones or Phil and Friends – but just Bruce Hornsby, its exciting to bring in people that I havent seen at a festival. And well try to do it again next time.
McGee: One thing that I love about Hookahville for sure is getting to be just an audience member.
Spencer: It just kept getting larger and larger. Theres only so much any one person can do, and when you start getting into that realm, it just makes more sense to go for some outside resources. You dont really want to go talk to a lawyer, unless youre another fucking lawyer, you know? (laughs) And it just started becoming a little too serious for us at that level. I dont really know if it was a conscious decision to honestly say, Lets pull these much larger acts. It was always more so like, Who would it be fun to play with? Who would our fans like? That was always a big one, and thats how the Belshure Mountain Bluegrass Band got in there, because the band saw them play and said, Wow, our crowd would love these guys, lets get them in there. So a lot of it has to do with that. Even our current acts in this show, Bela and Medeski, Martin and Wood, you know that theyre big acts, but the fans that come to the show anyway are gonna love their music.
Dave Katz: Everyone that weve played with, Ive had a great time with across the board. Its just cool to get up with any of these guys and play. I couldnt really single out a favorite one, just becausewe played with Jorma and it was like Wow, were playing with Jorma! And the same with Arlo Guthrie and Bob Weir. It was like, Bobs giving me that look that he used to give Brent. Its just weird. Usually while were playing, its hard to think about it. Its more like right before and right after. Once you get playing, you just play. Luckily, so far, its gone pretty smoothly with all of them. You have this feeling where it just locks in and its like youve done it before. But right after, youre like, Whoathat was kind of surreal.
Spencer: We always try to bring in one act or try to diversify the line-up. Unfortunately, a lot of the ones we were trying for this year, a lot of Motown, they just werent touring or were in the studio. Theyre getting older and its just a lot harder to get them. But we always try. Willie Nelson is a classic example. We saw a real opportunity. A lot of people were like, Hes so expensive, and so many other people you can bring in are cheaper and would bring more people. And we said, Yeah, but its Willie Nelson! And how much longer is Willie gonna be around? Its the same thing keeping some of the roots alive of where we came from into the younger crowd, and showing them that some of this stuff is really great music.
McGee: We try not to make it too obvious or too trendy. We like to expose people to new things. So if one of us has some taste for a certain band like NRBQ or something thats not as prevalent, we get to say, Hey, this is a favorite of the band, throw them on the line-up and essentially force them down peoples throats, you know? (laughs) So its kind of like if youre having a party, youre the one who gets to man the cd player. You can make everyone listen to whatever you want. In the end, youre just sharing music. If youre passionate about a certain kind of music, you want to share it.
No Hassles or Bad Attitudes: The Magic of Hookahville
Spencer: Ive noticed that theres definitely a sound, a look, to Hookahville at certain hours that exists nowhere else in the world. I just imagine in my head that campground sound, you know? It doesnt exist anywhere else, man. The lone drone of the light towers in the background up at the front gate5000 campfiresdefinitely the sound of those drums. I mean those drums, I dont even know where those people come from or how they do it.
Dubba: Its the time of the year when the band gets to spend money and throw the best party that they can possibly throw. It shows in everything from the way the tickets are designed to the way the stage is set up and everything in between. Its like a communal meeting place for people that have crossed paths in the past, and it allows you to come home and say, I may not have gone to a hookah show in five years, but I bet you if I go there Im gonna know at least 100 faces, and youre probably right.
Jambands.com: Everyone knows theres the song Hookahville and the festivalwhich came first, the chicken or the egg?
Katz: (laughs) Theres some debate there. As I recall, the song came first. It was an idea, and it had been talked about for a while before we actually did it. So I believe I did write the song first. Obviously the songs not about a concert in particular, its about a community, if you would, a fictional community that I would like to be reality, and thats kind of cool. Now the festival has taken on what the song says, just on a two day basis.
Jambands.com: Do you get nervous before playing the Hookahville shows?
Katz: Theres always a little bit, not really nerves on my end but excitement. That happens at other shows, too. Without a doubt, Hookahville is like our Superbowl, our World Series or whatever. Thats the biggest stage were gonna be on this year most likely. You definitely get excited for it, no doubt about it. As far as getting on stage, we just pretty much wing it like we do at every other show. Theres no grand plan going in or anything like that.
Dubba: When I record, from the new covers that come out to (drummer) Erics crazy antics, it seems like they come to play. You can notice the surge of enthusiasm in their playing. I think theres a direct relationship between crowd size and the energy the band gives the crowd and the energy the crowd gives back. They try to see how hard they can hit a lick or how tight they can make a jam. When they have some of the members of the other acts there, to the crowd I think, it really sends them into a frenzy. The crowd gets into a frenzy and the band peaks off of the crowd. Theres definitely an energy level there thats unmatched. New Years Eve, some of their bigger shows are up there, but I dont think that anything really compares to a Hookahville show. I dont know of anybody thats walked away from one and said, They didnt play very well.
Katz: Obviously Ive always gone to concerts and stuff like that, but really before I was in hookah, I didnt go to too many festivals. It wasnt reallythere werent that many festivals back then, not the way they are now. There just seems to be a lot more now, it seems to be a more happening thing. Or maybe I was just out of it at the time, Im not really sure, but it seems like there werent as many of them. And I was also always playing in a band, so if I wasnt playing a festival I wasnt there. And back then I wasnt playing the festivals. I remember when we first started Hookahville really enjoying the fact that it was a festival thing and I really got into it and I didnt have anything to compare it to. Now that its gotten bigger, it almost gives me the same feeling you got the first time you watched the Woodstock video, you know what I mean? Its the same kind of vibe obviously its not Woodstock but its how I imagined that vibe was on a much smaller scale. Its very earthy, everybodys outside, everybodys dressed down and barefoot, and people just kind of milling around and checking out their friends and having a good time without having to be leery about anything because theyre all hopefully there for the same basic reason. Theres just a general good buzz, and that would be both the people and the atmosphere, just buzzing along at a good pace. And I guess theres a hum, this constantits hard to describe. Theres definitely a feeling you get when you step foot on it. You drive up with this anticipation, and once you get there and get out of your car you definitely lock right in.
Spencer: When that shows happening youve been to them and you know at that moment there is no other rock show out there. I think thats what people like about it, too. They get there and its not a bluegrass concert or a 70s concertits a rock and roll show through and through, and the band throws down as hard as anyone. And it is a throw down. That many people grooving and jiving all at once, when you look out into the crowd you see theyre just going at it. Its like, Whos having more fun, the band or the audience? Thats the moment that usually sends the hair up or the chill starts happening, because that is really the moment that all of the other crap just goes away. And if it didnt, I guess you wouldnt do the next one. For me, those are the defining moments. Every person that puts work into that, big or small, it makes the moment what it is.
Dubba: The cover thing at the end of the second nightits nice at a Hookahville to see what theyre gonna do because you know its gonna happen and youre wondering what it is and how theyre gonna do it. And I have to say no matter what it is, they have a way of pulling it off at a very skilled level. Youre like, Wow, I cant believe they just covered that song in that way and it sounded that good. And the ones that they enjoy playing, they might continue to play. They might pick one out of every Hookahville and continue playing it throughout the year, but if the band enjoyed it from a playing perspective, its good for them. Im still trying to get Steve (Sweney) to play No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature again.
Spencer: A lot has been changed, but its still the same show. You dont need a calendar. Its always Friday and Saturday. You know its somewhere in central Ohiomigrate and well be there. Theres only so much you can change about a carnival. Its like a circus. We put up the tents and the people come. I think some of them have been coming for so long that they know theyre gonna go back, theyre gonna see their friends, their vendor buddies, the people they havent seen in a year. Its just a fun time. Where else can you see our drummer driving a golf cart doing donuts down a wet hill? Its hilarious. And everyone has a good time the artists, our patrons, even our parents come and they have a big party. Its remained a fun event and people have just a really good time. And I think people enjoy getting out and camping. Its the first long weekend, its usually warm, you have Monday off and if you plan your life right you can have Friday off, too. You go away for two days, and it takes you two days to get home. Its like the kickoff of football season. Right after that is usually graduation and then summer tour starts up, no matter who it is. Its the same thing with the fall show. A lot of people we know go to the fall show to see how everyones summer went, what tours they were on. And it usually is a little bit mellower, people are a little quieter. I mean, its been a long summer with a lot of music and festivals and touring.
McGee: To get all of these professionals involved, and the stage and the other bandsit just feels good to be a part of a band that can manage to throw it together like that. So that feeling I get, just walking around, surveying everything, its just a good feeling. And just playing musicI love playing music in any situation, but at Hookahville theres that added bonus where you know everyones essentially there for music. People will say otherwise, but most of the people there are there for good music. So its really rewarding to be playing music, doing what you love for people who love music. Its an amazing feeling.
Spencer: It has its own look and sight and smellyou know Hookahvilles there. You can almost pass a car 30 miles later after you leave the venue and know that that car was at Hookahville, whether its the mud or the dust or the person driving it. Theres a lot of work that goes into the planning of it, but I dont think people would continue to do it if it wasnt so enjoyable across the board the fans, the people that work at it, the musicians.
McGee: I get such a sense of pride, because its our party. Its just like if you had a party at your house. If everything goes well and nobody pukes on your couch, you feel good about it, and I still see it that way.
Jambands.com: What will be different about this Spring Hookahville?
Spencer: What weve done is move production out-of-house. Weve got Dan (Mesnard), hes our engineer. We have an engineer coming just for house engineering, and we have a production manager and an on-site production manager. The production manager is a gentleman named Hadden Hippsley with a company called Lambda Tours out of Brecksville, Ohio. We found out later after we had called him that hes the same production manager that did all of Phishs large shows and all of Treys stuff, and hes planning and setting up Bonnaroo as well. We got his name through Chris (Kuroda). And Hadden knows his stuff. Hes really good with details and listening to what needs to get done and not spending money in areas where it doesnt need to be spent. We have a totally different stage design than previouslya lot of new stuff this year. All of our video screens are totally different. We went with LED screens, visible during the day. We have a different video company, different production personnel, a different lighting company Theres an artistic direction, but there arent any props or banners or a big 50-foot wizard or anything (laughs). We put more of our focus on lighting rigs, video screens, production of the video screens, things like that. There are special things going on, like all-night video on the screens. No sound, just really cool stuff, mind-entertaining stuff for five hours a night.
Jambands.com: Will Chris Kuroda be doing lighting again this year?
Spencer: It was supposed to be Chris but hes out on Trey tour. We were bummed that he wouldnt be there, but Hadden knew some people and were relying on him and his contact list.
Jambands.com: Which would you say is your favorite Hookahville?
Dave Katz: I would say Spring 2000. I just thought the line-up was incredible and I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere and music at that particular Hookahville. I shouldnt even say that its my favorite most recent one. Its hard to go back and rememberthe early ones were all great in their own way – a little more intimate, a different type of show. But as far as since weve been at Buckeye Lake and Frontier Ranch, I would say that one (Spring 2000), mainly just the music I thought was phenomenal. That was the one with David Grisman Quintet, and Arlo was there and he was just fantastic. It was really cool to meet him and talk to him. Ratdog was there again at that timeI just liked the line-up at that one as far as the music went, and I thought the crowd was great. We got great weather and that helped a lot. Its a rarity for us, unfortunately.
Spencer: The first one was the best. After that, they really became a headache, and the bigger they got, the bigger the headache. (laughs)
Dubba: My favorite Hookahville show is probably the first one. Just because of the way that it was, not necessarily for the bands performance or anything else, but just for the intimacy of it. For the band, performance-wise, I would have to say Spring of 99 was up there. Im sure that probably at some point in my life it wont be the best one, but at this date it definitely is.
McGee: I actually have a home video that I took at that first Hookahville and at one point Im holding the camera on myself saying, This is the greatest party Ive been to in my life. (laughs) And Ive never really thought otherwise since.