June 9, 2009 -10:15 PM
From: Carl Mumpower, Asheville City Council
To: Gary Jackson, Asheville City Manager
Subject: Observations of Phish Concert as Asheville Civic Center
I just left the Phish Concert at the Civic Center and wanted to share my experience there.
First, I appreciate the learning opportunity and staff support for my request to observe the event firsthand.
In a nutshell, I was impressed. It was apparent that city staff, our police, event security, the promoters, and the vast majority of those most important to a successful event, the Phish fans, were on their game.
The atmosphere was fun, safe, and managed. The arena was not overwhelmed by the smoke of cigarettes or pot and it was evident that most folks were trying to do their part and respect the facility’s rules.
I understand that there were a significant number of arrests – mostly outside the facility – for drug activity. I appreciate our police officer’s persistency in defining Asheville’s Civic Center, public spaces, and downtown as a place you can come to have fun, but not a place you can freely sell and use drugs.
In short, the difference between this event and the Ratdog and Wide Spread Panic events of several years ago was night and day. A perfected experience with such a large group was never the goal – but tonight seemed to come pretty close.
Appreciation is due for all the hands that helped Asheville hold an event that was defined by a good time versus drug activity and indifference to the rules of the house.
Tonight, Asheville’s Civic Center smelled more like City Hall than an Amsterdam hash house.
Asheville City Council