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Phish festival draws some 30K fans

    WATKINS GLEN—The July 1-3 festival with the band Phish at Watkins Glen International—dubbed Super Ball IX—pulled in some 30,000 people, way short of the 60,000 ticket sales cap put on the event earlier this year.
    Phish representative Erin Cooney said her best estimate—until a final festival tally is made this week—is that 30,000 people attended. This included those who paid the $210 ticket fee for attendance and camping as well as people who received free tickets in exchange for doing volunteer work.
    But while the numbers were half of what promoters expected, the result was a relatively quiet event.
    Local police and safety officials had been bracing for months for the larger crowd, in part because of community concerns about a repeat of the famous 1973 Summer Jam, in which 600,000 rock fans flooded the area, creating miles-long traffic jams and overwhelming public services.  Except for some traffic issues the first two days of the festival as campers arrived, the festival was low-impact.
    At Super Ball IX, festival attendees camped all over the race-track area, some in well-stocked RVs, many more in tents.  At the center of the festival, Phish organizers created a small city with stores and rows of concessionaires selling food, clothing and memorabilia.
    There were also ATMs everywhere to help Phish fans pay for the $8 glasses of beer offered.
The festival even had a 12-page tabloid daily newspaper available called Ball Things Considered.
Many of the concession stands were operated by local non-profit and charitable groups such as the Humane Society of Schuyler County, the Coalition to Protect New York and GasFreeSeneca. The groups shared in the proceeds of the sales and were also able to hand out literature for their respective causes.
    Phish’s charitable arm—the Water Wheel Foundation—was prominent at the festival too, offering a vintage 1972 restored trailer in a raffle with the proceeds to go to charity.
    Besides music by Phish each evening, festival goers had activities going on all day.  A 5k run highlighted one morning’s activities. Movies,videos and some sporting events were shown on a huge screen daily. Sunday afternoon, the finals of a Wiffle ball tournament drew thousands of spectators.




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