Phish Sorting Out Festival Refunds
As Phish's career-ending Coventry festival in Vermont is slowly dismantled in the mud, producers are unraveling the impact of torrential rain preceding the concert that vastly impacted the band's finaAs Phish's career-ending Coventry festival in Vermont is slowly dismantled in the mud, producers are unraveling the impact of torrential rain preceding the concert that vastly impacted the band's final fest.
After state police closed highways leading to the festival on Friday, some fans walked miles to the festival grounds, while others simply turned back.
"We're still sorting it out, but we estimate about 65,000 people were here on the grounds," says Dave Werlin, president of Great Northeast Productions, promoter of record for Coventry and all previous Phish festivals. "We're trying to understand how many people we'll have to offer refunds to."
Detailed refund information was posted on the Phish Web site today (Aug. 17).
"When people normally come in [to a Phish festival], they present their ticket, it's torn and they get a wristband, but this was far from normal," Werlin continues. "People came walking in from every direction. Most walked in and found their way to the box office and exchanged their ticket for a wristband and then found their way back to the stage."
Clearly, though, many Phish-heads entered without their tickets ever being torn. And then there are those that never made it in at all. Werlin says doesn't expect many fans that actually attended the concert to try and get a refund.
"We believe in the basic decency of Phish fans and think that will be a non-issue," he says. "But we're still trying to get our hands around how many refunds there will be. Several thousand, anyway."
Werlin stresses that it was not the band, management or producers who made the decision to turn fans away, but rather Vermont state police. "To us this was a frustrating decision because it was not our call," he offers. "It was not our desire to do things this way, but it became a public safety issue."
As it stands, Coventry will end up grossing about $10 million, up from $8.25 million from the band's It festival last year. And Werlin has no regrets about the band's final performance.
"We were blessed with clear skies on Saturday and decent weather on Sunday," he says. "The band played incredibly well, production was great, the sound was great, and there was a real emotional interaction with the fans."