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September 12, 2011

Here For Phish? How About You Lend a Phreaking Hand?

IMG_6183 Last Tuesday, Vermont's phavorite jam band, Phish, announced that they would play a special benefit concert for victims of Tropical Storm Irene. Unsurprisingly, the quartet's announcement created tremors of excitement around Vermont and across the whole of Phish phandom. No sooner had word gotten out about the phoursome's show then dedicated Phish phollowers the country over grabbed some hula hoops, a couple djembe drums, a few pallets of Cheetos and their best water bongs, hopped in their vanagons and hightailed it to Vermont. 

They came phrom all over — New Jersey, Connecticut, New Jersey, Colorado, New Jersey — in the hope of nabbing one of the hottest tickets in town. The devoted called in sick to work so they could camp out on the sidewalk, despite the fact that the FlynnCenter box office asked them not to queue until Saturday when the tickets went on sale. When the box office opened at 10 a.m., the weary waiters rubbed the weed smoke phrom their eyes, threw off their drug rugs and stepped up to take their place in history — the show, after all, will be Phish's phirst in its home state since 2004's epic concert in Coventry, a big, sloppy mess if ever there was one.

By late Saturday, the show's 10,000 tickets were sold out. All the die-hards walked away from the box office with a $75 ticket in hand (all the proceeds go to the band's Waterwheel Foundation and the Vermont Community Foundation, which will dole out the money to appropriate phlood relief efforts). But here's what I want to know — what are all the out-of-state phans doing until Wednesday's show at the Champlain Valley Exposition, besides making daisy chains, crafting hemp dog leashes, swapping bootlegs and hosting sing-alongs in City Hall Park? Here's what they should be doing — volunteering.

I submit that if you're coming to Vermont just phor the show, you need to phind yourself some gloves  and a mask and pitch in. More than 700 residences were destroyed or significantly damaged when Irene rolled through. Sorry to harsh your mellow, but hundreds of people are homeless and without work and could really use a helping hand.

Phans might say that they're already helping out by purchasing a ticket and dropping some cash on limited edition merch. I dig that, Moonbeam Sunflower. But before the money starts rolling in, there's work that needs doing. And if you could phigure out a way to get your patchworked, Birkenstocked self all the way here, you can sure as hell phigure out a way to provide some assistance.

Not sure what you can do? Phair enough. Here are some ideas:

— You could phill your camper van with personal hygiene products, phirst aid items, cleaning and school supplies and food and take it to South Royalton. For a full list of this community's needs, click here.    

— How about taking down some walls and pulling up some flooring for the Kadrik family in Waterbury?

— Perhaps you could help muck out the Hancock Town Hall basement.

— Maybe you could help phix the phence at Turner Farm on Route 100 in the Mad River Valley.

There are many more projects that you could help with. Your best bet to phind volunteer opportunities is VTResponse. If you are willing and able, they will gladly set you up with something to do. Not able to swing a hammer, carry a bucket or throw things in a dumpster? Consider writing a check the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley, the United Way of Chittenden County, the Vermont Foodbank or any number of towns accepting financial donations. Remember to earmark your contribution for flood relief.

Vermont has been good to you, no? We gave you Phish and Ben & Jerry's and phlannel and weed. That's right — we invented phlannel. And weed. We might have even invented patchouli, white-people dreadlocks and barefoot dancing. So consider giving back. Then when you go back to New Jersey, you can tell all your phriends how you helped save Vermont. So heady, brah.

While I support volunteering, your snarky tone is rude and your ignorant stereotyping of phish fans certainly does not motivate me to support ANYTHING you have to say.

I agree with moonbeam sunflower. It was slightly entertaining, but mostly just rude. I'm going to the show, I live in vt and my job has been affected. I spent multiple days deep in silt and sewage. A different approach might have had a better affect.

Get a mask and start helping or go away - Phish plays everywhere and all the time as you all should know.... How would you feel if we came and gawked at your disaster and loss of life as you knew it?! Seriously if your a phish fan you are all about helping people right??? PROVE IT!

This rude commentary is not slightly funny and it is not phish fans who should be targeted for your anger. Without the fans their who be NO benfit . shut your Mouth how many barns and stores did u muck out !!!!!

You acknowledge that all of these people have donated $75 each to flood relief, then inexplicably imply that these same people are obligated to do even more. Phish fans are annoying to me too, and there was probably fertile comedy ground in their impending influx to the area, but reciting stereotypes has been done to death and the central premise makes no sense.

I find this article embarassing. As someone born and raised in VT, I'm only partial to Phish for their geography, not really for their music. But this piece is bothers me.

A band has put on a benefit from which thousands of dollars will be donated to the disaster relief/cleanup efforts. People will drop good money to be put towards that cause, money that would otherwise NOT be spent in VT or donated to the funds. And you mock that?

Pathetic. You should be embarrassed. On behalf of Vermont, please leave.

There's nothing more annoying than someone who writes about Phish and replaces every "F" with "PH".

I'm not going to the show because I can't afford to fly up there, but I have already asked all of my friends who are going to bring donations or try to stick around to help. Just because you haven't seen them do it YET, doesn't meant they aren't doing it. And how do you know they haven't donated additional money? I have also donated to a couple organizations already. The fact that these people are coming to VT, spending money on a concert there, buying from local stores, putting money into your state, etc. is awesome. You're an ass. And all of those stereotypes you threw at us no longer hold true for the Phish community. Get with the times brah.

I agree with your message that Vermont needs help and anyone who finds themselves here with some spare time (phish fan or not) should find some ways to volunteer.
That being said, your article is so full of rude, inaccurate statements that it is hard to get to that message.

Did you actually talk to any people in line? Have you interviewed any people from out of state who came to town to get tickets and are just "making daisy crowns" until Wednesday? My sense is that a large number of people in that line were people who live in Vermont, who want to support the great state we live in. I would guess that the number of out-of-staters is much fewer than you make it out to be. And, isn't spending 75$ on this great cause better than the nothing that thousands of others are doing to help out.

Oh and speaking of the long what if people got in line sooner than they were supposed to. Did they cause any trouble? Not that I heard of. So, if a group of individuals can spend a night on the sidewalk and all get along, keep the peace, and not really disrupt anyone...all to pay 75$ to support VT then, good for them.

Also, your condescending tone is completely unnecessary and makes phish fans out to be something that is completely untrue. I am a 31-year-old, working professional who doesn't travel around the country with hula hoops, drums, cheetos, and bongs. If you actually knew anything about the fan base of phish, you might realize that there are more people like myself than the type you describe in your article.

Oh, and what are your favorite hipster bands and all their fans doing to support VT? Deer tick played a show on the night of the hurricane and I haven't heard anything about them sticking around for a few extra days to help out and volunteer.

I expect more from the seven days than this ridiculous excuse for journalism.

How about if the tenor of the article was more along the lines of this:

Phish generously puts on a production that will donate over $1Million to charity in the state that they love and call home. Fans respond accordingly and as their history has proven, will likely do more than simply arrive and leave. Through various fan led initiatives such as the Mockingbird Foundation, Phish fans have shown that they are among the more generous of all fan bases. A sampling of projects that some fans might like to know about so that they can be involved include: yada, yada, yada.

This disgraceful writing not only embarrasses the writer and publication for its ignorance, but it is unlikely to spur fans into action like it supposedly hopes to.

The editor owes an apology to the band and its fan base.


Wow, this is so ugly. I hope people don't think all Vermonters feel this way. And anyone who thought of volunteering is probably now thinking twice about make us look like a-holes. Thanks.

You can guarantee I won't read another piece of writing on this blog ever again.
Disgusting, horrid, journalism.

Does not the fact that said phans contributed to the relief fund by means of purchasing a ticket (at a 100% net contribution rate I might add) not count for something? How about said phans economic boost on the surrounding communities over the course of the next 3 days? There's no onus on the phans (or anyone for that matter) to volunteer or otherwise contribute to charity; the fact that they've done so speaks volumes to their individual volitions and the merit of the Phish community as a whole. Shame on you.

You might also forget that some lovers of music - even those who enjoy Phish - might actually be productive members of society who either drove back to their NE abodes because they work Monday and Tuesday OR used their personal earned vacation time to visit the great state of VT as an economy-boosting tourist.

Wow, I'm totally blown away by how hateful this article is. It was obviously written by someone who is so far removed from the Phish community that they literally have no idea what they're saying. Spewing hate and rude comments like this is counter-productive and doesn't seem like a good way to motivate people. Both Lauren Ober and the editor should be ashamed of themselves for publishing such inaccurate information.

I usually like your stuff, Ms. Ober. Where did this come from? If it was half-way funny, it would've been okay, but this was a total whiff.

Hi Lauren Ober! I've noticed several blog posts of yours that have had a... well, rather acerbic sense of humor. Might I suggest you read How to win friends and influence people and let us all know why these posts always seem to bring such anger out of your readership and how you could change it in the future.

Love forever,
Your best friend,

I agree with nearly all of the comments on this article. The overuse of PH just makes one look ignorant. I will never read another article from this blog.

I agree with nearly all of the comments on this article. The overuse of PH just makes one look ignorant. I will never read another article from this blog.

I agree with nearly all of the comments on this article. The overuse of PH just makes one look ignorant. I will never read another article from this blog.

Hey let's rip on a band that is putting on a benefit concert with all proceeds going to charity and then let's rip on their fans who are willing to pay $75 for the charity tickets!!!!

I am sure you could have done something much more productive to help out the community during the 2-3 minutes it must have taken you to write this piece of crap.

This is awesome. I was just looking for examples of piss-poor journalism. Thanks for making it a quick search!

Hmm, i can kind of see both sides to this one. Normally I like Lauren's writing, but this was pretty poor. Considering there were 22 hours between the ticket announcement and the on-sale time, I don't think the people who started lining up immediately were out-of-staters. And for God's sake--PATCHOULI jokes? Boy, that's real clever. Try harder, please. Someone who lives in Vermont should know better than that. And although it was very rude of the "Phans" who completely disregarded Higher Ground/The Flynn's request not to line up until Saturday night, at least they didn't cause many problems. Other than the pot smell lining St. Paul Street, but that beat the cigarette smell that usually pervades down there, anyway.

Having said all that... again, Phish Phans, why is it that your desire for tickets is more important than the Flynn's reasonable request not to queue up until Saturday morning? And I have to say, it seemed utterly crass for people to camp out on a sidewalk all day and night while people as close as Richmond and Waterbury are still in desperate need of volunteers to help get their lives back in order. That's not to say that life must stop as long as flood victims still need help, but come on, phans -- why not do something productive instead of sit in the same spot for 20 hours straight? I know it's impossible, but it would have been nice if all those people who lined up for tickets had to spend 6 hours lending a hand to someone in need, instead of waiting in line.


And replacing every "F" sound with "Ph" does nothing but overshadow your phucking awful attempt at journalism. People like you make me yearn for the old days when you had to have a brain to get published where people could read you.

To your editors: serious fail for letting this person publish this garbage.

I will never read this blog again.

Vermont native

P.s. Please leave the state.

Wow! GREAT read! So incredibly clever and witty! Turning all F-words into PH-words?! AWESOME. Where can I sign up for your newsletter??

There's a reason why the author does not work for the Free-Press anymore...

What an embarrassment.

Can one imagine what would have been written if Bono was giving concert under the exact same circumstances: same line, same ticketing, same concert venue? (and let's not forget that Bono's "red" charity donates only 1% of net proceeds and not 100% like Phish is planning to do)

Article would have spoken to the depth of humanity and compassion that Bono has, explored other benefits that he's contributed to over the years, and praised the fan base for supporting such noble causes.

Yet, for a band that hails from Vermont, and seemingly loves everything about it, with a history of philanthropy of not only the band & organization but also the fan base, we are "treated" to a blog post like this?

It doesn't compute. Hard to figure the motivation. Was the author spurned by someone in the organization? Rejected for a press pass for the event? Another ax to grind? Was it supposed to be an "Onion" type parody?

Was the editor on lunch break when the decision was made to publish this?

This makes Seven Days look terrible. As for the author, her work clearly speaks for itself.

wooooo first tim in VT since '04!!
welcome to the party bitch !!!

Wow, you people have no sense of humor.

Thank you Phish for doing this show and thank you Lauren Ober for asking pholks visiting Vermont to go the extra mile and pitch in.

Great article. Exactly how many people of the 10K attending the concert on Wednesday did you speak with from out of state who are just staying here to play drums and make flower crowns? I missed that in your thorough reporting. Also, What other organizations (excluding non-profits and the government) are raising around $1 million for the state? I missed that as well in your thorough reporting. Keep up the great work. Keep this level of opinion over fact and some day you could work for Rupert Murdoch.

You are hilarious. Get a fucking clue. Yeah I went to the Flynn from Albany, NY to get tickets, then I went back to fucking Albany cause i have class Monday. If we were all homeless why would we be able to buy a $75 ticket?

What a horrible article. Was the Ph thing supposed to be witty? I think that joke has been used before the 40 times you used it in this "article". I'm done with seven days for a while.

Souther VT Disaster survivor....have you ever gone to another part of the country to help out with a disaster?

Ms. Ober

The strike-through effect (used here on "called in sick to work") only works when you replace the word or words. Otherwise, it's just clumsy. Keep trying to be clever though!

That was the greatest article I've ever read. Ever. Lauren Ober is not a snobby bitch.

Question: Every time the nation or world has any type of natural disaster, does Lauren Ober drop what she's doing and rush off to save the day? Africa needs some serious fucking help lady. Quit typing, get off your lazy ass, and save some AIDS babies.

Really? So Lauren, you really thought insulting Phish fans in every other sentence while simultaneously asking for help was a good idea? Your editor must be on vacation or something, this is the poorest excuse for journalism I've ever seen. Brilliant move, Lauren, simply brilliant. You really make a good impression for those of us who've never been to VT.

"Wow, you people have no sense of humor."

Changing f's to ph's stopped being funny in 1993.

The saddest part of this article is that if the author wasn't so condescending, fans may have heeded her tips and helped even more so than they are already doing.

Also want to say that on Friday, I took to my twitter feed (@YEMblog) on the suggestion of another fan and asked our followers to donate whatever they could to the relief effort. Within just four hours over 50 fans answered the call. Doesn't sound like the type of people who need to be berated, made fun of and then asked for help.

You catch more Phlyes with honey... ma'ma

PS.. My "f" button is broke too

You suck Lauren.


Ungrateful .........

While I agree with Ms. Ober's thesis that the Phish fans should be encouraged to volunteer while in Vermont, her tone strikes me as a bit like public masturbation: while I'm sure it's a very satisfying thing to do, the matter "in-hand" (her writing) tends to distract from the matter at hand (the need to continue the post-Irene cleanup).

I grew up in Vermont but, like many people in my high school graduating class (WUHS 2000) I live outside of Vermont now. This past weekend I drove up from (cringe) Connecticut and volunteered, and I plan on coming up again soon. While I like their music, I've never seen Phish live and won't be attending this concert (I have 4 kids and, yes, a job that drug tests), but if you want those who are coming up to the concert to help out? Catch 'em with honey, honey.

I agree with most of the comments on here. The people that you speak of make up a small portion. Phish and The Waterwheel foundation have been helping the Champlain area for a long time now. Also these people you hate so much are pumping money into your local economy. So quit your bitching and loosen your hipster jeans.

Whoever wrote this article is a terrible journalist. Wow, a bunch of hackneyed stereotypes about hippies...I'm not sure if the writer realizes SHE LIVES IN BURLINGTON. How are phish phans any different from the hippies that reside in Burlington? The college students that attend UVM? Why such a hateful agenda against a band trying to do something positive in a time when Vermont has been bombarded with a terrible circumstance. Absolute garbage. Lets not get too hot though, its not like Seven Days is a real get what you pay for.

This article is a joke, right? It must be.

No "journalist" is this lazy. It must have taken, what, 5 minutes to google some Phish stereotypes?

The fans that are calling in sick to work to go to the benefit show are better than the author of this article, who showed up to work to write this worthless article.

I'd say "why don't you actually help out instead of writing this dumb article?", but you couldn't probably help out much in the 5 minutes it took to write this piece of crap.

Oh. Now I understand...

These fans are literally dumping money into your economy for a RELIEF BENEFIT put on by a band who loves and calls Vermont home and you ridicule them, then ask for MORE? Probably the most pathetic thing I've ever seen on the tronz.

Nice haircut.


Classic Seven Days attitude. Get a real cause. Most of those towns need skilled laborers or volunteers with machines and experience at this point. It is you who are not getting the picture here. People are coming to this because they are heartbroken about what's happened in our idyllic home state of Vermont. If they don't know where to go to help out, I'm sure you could research this a bit to find places for unskilled volunteers. I'm willing to bet many of the Phish fans arriving will be happy, Helping and Friendly--unlike you. Why don't you give straight up directions for where people can help out instead of being so quick to summarily judging them for what your alternate worldview finds unsavory?

As a Burlington resident for close to ten years I can say Seven Days is one of the most refreshing and entertaining free papers that I have ever come across.
With that said Seven Days staff as an whole are just plain ignorant and jealous of the Phish scene. Maybe not their music per say but NONE of their hipster bands could ever pull off something like this. EVER. Selling out close to 10,000 some odd tickets at ONE box office in one afternoon. So this article comes from jealously. Not to mention the stereotypes are rude and crude. Just in general stereotypes are rude and something that should not be printed in a paper I think so highly of. What other bands have done even 5 percent of what Phish has done. The answer is ZERO. So Seven Days staff I'm sorry our band does more than yours. Makes me think you should be the ones volunteering.

I couldn't make it to the show, because I'm working extra to free up some time so I can help people in my home state of PA clean up their rather destructive floods. But I donated the cost of a ticket to the VT relief efforts, because as a long time fan of Phish, I felt obligated to help a cause they deemed important. And I ask for nothing in return.

Perhaps you should learn how to give gratefully and graciously as well.

My question is how much money has Lauren donated to the Relief effort? How much time has she volunteered?

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