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Phish fears in the land of peace and love

By Fritz Mayer
March 15, 2011

Many of the business and community leaders are welcoming the coming of Phish. The jam band is scheduled to perform three nights in a row over Memorial Day Weekend beginning on May 27 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and camps in the area are being flooded with reservations, according to Roberta Byron Lockwood, president of the Sullivan County Visitors Association, and the concerts might well get the summer season started with a bang.

But, at least one public official is concerned that the merry-making may get a little out of control as it did, according to some, at the three-day Woodstock Festival back in 1969, when Bethel Woods was still Max Yasgur’s farm.

Bethel lawmaker Richard Crumley expressed his concerns at the town meeting on March 10. He said, “For those of you who weren’t here in 1969, they thought nothing could happen, and guess what—it did. It was quite a fiasco. Take it from somebody who worked for the highway department at the time and spent three or four weeks picking up anything and everything that was laying around.”

Crumley said he didn’t know what to expect from what he called the “three-day event.” He said, “I understand Phish did a concert in Lake Placid, and they don’t ever want to see them back there again.”

He said the number of fans the band draws is of concern. “I understand that every room in the county and in Orange County is already taken up. This is something that we need to look into and the county should look into it, because if it’s a big mess, somebody has to pay to pick it up.”

Bethel supervisor Dan Sturm said the concerts are being planned for. He said, “Bethel Woods has reached out to us numerous times since they announced the event and before the announcement. We’re going to meet in some manner with all the appropriate agencies. I’m very happy to hear that we’re going to have a large concert here on Memorial Day Weekend, to start the summer off right.”

Council member Denise Frangipane said, “As you all know, I work at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and I can tell you that we are working very, very hard to make sure that this is a successful event, not only for Bethel Woods and for the fans that come there for the show, but also for the entire community.”

Party Time

A Phish fan assures me that the band's followers are now in their 30s and 40s and will spend lots of money -- nothing to worry about.

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less party time -- more time for work.