Friday, May 27, 2011

Bethel Camping Fiasco

I got the word yesterday that one of the major campgrounds, where Phisheads heading to the three-day rager in Bethel Woods to kick off Phish's 2011 summer tour, got shut down by the owners as a result with a feud with town officials.

Read the finer points in the article Bethel couple decide not to stage event during Phish weekend from the Record Online.

The best line in the article?
“I am telling people to call the town,” Abramson said. “Surely, they must have a backup plan. The people will be coming out of the concert on LSD and Ecstasy and getting on public roads. What is the plan?”
PT and Twitter blew up as a result. Older phans wondered of this would be a repeat of Red Rocks 1996 with an army of Phisheads invading the town of Morrison, CO. Would they do the same to Bethel?

Many heads that arranged camping at Yasgur's were pissed off and rightfully so -- to learn out a day before the shows. A lot of the vitriol was directed at the landowners, while the town of Bethel drew the rest of the ire.

This line from a PT thread summed it up best:
Basically, the town authorities chose to ignore the fact that we are stardust and we are golden and we are billion year old fucking carbon and we're just trying to get our asses back to the mother fucking garden.
On Friday morning, our crew received an email from a friend close to the situation:
They went to the farm and there were a couple hundred people camping there anyway and waiting in line w/ some others thinking that the permit might work out. Didn't seem promising and they turned away folks so they had to drive around for a few hours finding something. Finally some flea market just 5 mi from the venue opened up for the shade. So it sounds like it actually worked out and there may be some sort of shuttle. But in essence they still have just as many people camping as would be on the farm, but spread out on locals land. :) Silly. Apparently the people that got into the farm before the permit was revoked can still camp there... that must be a weird situation.
Thanks to IronGirl who sent me this article from the NY Times about the owners of Yasgur's farm who is seeking an $8 million price tag for the historic land. The article alludes to a long-term feud between the town of Bethel's local officials and the folks at Yasgur's farm who are trying to keep the spirit of Woodstock alive.

Sad to see a few thousand Phisheads caught up as collateral damage due to a local political spat between collective self-expression and the Fun Police. I've been seeing Phish since 1989. There's one thing I've learned about Phisheads -- they are able to adapt and overcome situations because their passion to see the band and hear the music outweighs the difficulties presented in any obstacles they have to overcome to enjoy everything related to Phish. Heads ditching their cars on the interstate to hike into Coventry is one such example of the drastic decisions phans will do in order to see their favorite band.

Despite the potential Bethel camping fiasco, I'm sure anyone who gets shut out will scramble and find a suitable alternative. At the same time, if you see fellow phans in need of assistance, by all means, help them out any way possible.

By the way, if you're about to head out on tour, be safe! Don't do anything we wouldn't do. Actually scratch that last part. Just be safe and have fun.

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