Yesterday, BandsThatJam.com set the Phish blogosphere abuzz with an article that claimed Phish signed a contract to play eight sets over three days during the Fourth of July Weekend at Watkins Glen. The post went on to say tickets would cost $200 and that re-entry would be allowed to the site throughout the weekend before ending with “This has been confirmed and contract has been signed.” Today, Watkins Glen International president Michael Printup denied those reports to The Elmira Gazette…
“We don’t know who is putting that out. There are a bunch of erroneous sites out there,” he said. “We’ve been working with a concert promoter. But we don’t even have a contract. It’s all wishful thinking. We haven’t even signed a contract with a promoter. You do that first. Then it’s up to him to see what band he gets.”
Printup also mentioned “Watkins Glen International is looking at some kind of summer concert, but it’s too early to even start talking about bands.” We reached out to Bands That Jam yesterday for clarification on their report and the site’s editor Pete Stergion responded, “the WGI President has to deny the story. They can’t publicly confirm until all the loose ends have been tied up. Our source has given us credible, specific information. Our source is not a Phish fan so they wouldn’t even have the ability to make up the information which is very consistant with what Phish has done in the past.”
Stergion went on to say, “People need to realize that Watkins is a VERY small town. To organize something of this magnitude it requires co-ordination with a lot of different people and when you have a town this small it’s hard to keep secrets. We’re standing by our story & our source.” Whether Printup is offering some misdirection is up for debate, but we do know is that no permit has been issued for a mass gathering at the racetrack. As always, no Phish concert is confirmed until it is listed on Phish.com.
[Hat Tip - @TylerCurtis]
UPDATE: This story was updated at 10:52PM with Bands That Jam’s response to The Elmira Gazette. READ ON for more from Stergion…
When asked if he was hesitant to publish the article, Stergion responded “we publish stories based on good information from good sources. We take a look at the circumstances of the information and decide whether or not it’s credible. In this case we believe this will happen so we published it.” As for the rumors the Dave Matthews Band would be tied to the festival, Stergion claimed “we never heard DMB mentioned by anyone in person or any sources from within Watkins Glen. We’re confident that Watkins Glen will be a Phish-only festival.” It turns out this event has been long in the making according to Pete, “WGI actually sent people out to Phish shows in 2010 to get an idea of what kind of crowd they can expect & to take notes for how security was handled at Phish shows.”
The dates laid out in the Bands That Jam article for the potential Watkins Glen Phish Festival were June 30th to July 3rd. Stergion clarified BTJ’s initial report that the event would be Phish’s first four-day festival, “it’s still going to be a four-day festival because there will be camping on Thursday night even though there will only be music for three days. So yes we think it will be four days.”
An Upstate New York resident himself and a longtime Phish fan, Stergion thinks Watkins Glens would make a fine location for a festival, “I can’t think of a better place to have a festival than upstate NY in the summer time. We have the most beautiful summer days and cool summer nights. The Finger Lakes region is simply breathtaking with endless lakes, gorges and wine trails. Watkins Glen has a proven track record of being able to handle large crowds so I think it would be professionally handled.” Let’s hope for Pete’s sake everything goes as planned as he would be in attendance, “I’ve already made arrangements and canceled our regularly scheduled 4th of July family vacation much to the chagrin of my wife.”
Bands That Jam debuted in 2007 based on Stergion’s idea that “people don’t really read reviews – they want to see photos, a setlist and listen to audio from the shows. We decided to focus on this aspect of our coverage.” Pete added, “I was inspired by all the great bands that where coming to play Thursday At The Square in my home town [Buffalo] so I decided to start a music blog where I would take pictures and give fans links to download the shows off of the Live Music Archive.”
If the last two years are to be a guide, an announcement of Phish’s summer plans isn’t too far off. The band announced the first leg of its 2009 tour on January 8th and the second leg on March 17th. Phish Summer Tour 2010 was announced on March 14th last year. Once again, no Phish concert is confirmed until it is listed on Phish.com.