With hundreds of cars stuck in the mud and more pouring in, Vermont State Police today (Aug. 14) started turning back traffic headed to the Phish farewell concert in Coventry, Vt., and told ticketholders they would get refunds but no admittance.
Police erected a roadblock on Interstate 91 and other roads and told fans headed to the two-day festival at the Newport State Airport to turn around.
“Because of the heavy rains, parking inside the festival site has basically become impossible, and they’re concerned for people’s safety,” said Adam Lewis, a spokesman for the concert promoter, Great Northeast Productions.
Heavy rains Thursday and Friday turned the campgrounds into quagmires, and local residents with tractors were busy pulling stuck cars from the mud.
Any of the 70,000 ticket holders denied entry will get their money back, the promoter said in a statement.
The promise of a refund was no comfort to fans stopped on Interstate 91, many of whom abandoned their vehicles and headed out on foot for the concert site, about a dozen miles from the nearest exit.
Cars lay empty along the side of the highway for at least two miles past the exit.
“There is no way I am not going to try to get in,” said Erika Sander of Blodgett, Oregon, who flew to Manchester, N.H., and rented a car to drive to the show. She left the car on the side of the road and started walking to the concert today.
Fans not able to attend may find solace on the airwaves or in movie theaters. In the weeks leading up to this weekend’s Phish finale, the band struck a deal with XM Satellite Radio for live broadcasts of all six planned Coventry sets, as well as feeds throughout the weekend from the band’s on-site radio station “The Bunny.”
The band’s multiple sets will also be simulcast to select Regal, Edwards and United Artists movie theaters in the United States.
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