Phish Fans Are Friendly—Until the Tarps Come Out to Save Seats Tempers flare when concert-goers claim whole rows of choice space by throwing giant plastic covers over them. ‘I could not stop thinking—who are “we?”’

**reposted from the Wall Street Journal because I highly doubt I will ever be in the WSJ again**

Nathan Tobey went to a Phish concert hoping to enjoy the medley of song improvisations and laid-back vibes that have drawn followers to the band for more than three decades. Instead, he found himself in the middle of a vicious battle for real estate.

When the gates at Virginia’s Hampton Coliseum finally opened after an hourslong wait, Mr. Tobey rushed to stake out a choice seat on the first row of the balcony. Seconds before he got there, another fan swooped in and covered the entire row with a giant tarp, grabbing all eight seats.

“I’m a very mellow guy, but we had some words,” said Mr. Tobey, a 37-year-old podcast producer from Minneapolis who has been to 70-odd shows. “I had to assert—as a fellow fan—that this is not fair.”
Fans fight about “tarping” pretty much anywhere there is a band on stage and general-admission seating up for grabs. But easygoing Phish fans—or Phans, as the tie-dyed die-hards are known—fighting? That’s a bummer, man.
Phish, currently on a normally cheery summer tour, has sold more than eight million albums and DVDs in the U.S. since emerging from the Vermont college-rock scene in the 1980s, drawing a flock with a chilled-out, neo-hippie ethos. As the band’s security procedures manual once said, its fans are a “peaceful, intelligent group” who will “dance and twirl in any open area made available to them.”

Or not made available to them.

peace sign tapestry

One Comment on “Phish Fans Are Friendly—Until the Tarps Come Out to Save Seats Tempers flare when concert-goers claim whole rows of choice space by throwing giant plastic covers over them. ‘I could not stop thinking—who are “we?”’

  1. Pingback: Phish Tour Entitlement & Tarping I Grateful Momma Bear I Live Music Blog

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