Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« A Portrait of Irene: The Back Behind | Main | Alice Eats: Donny's NY Pizza & Sports Bar »

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.

Awful piece. Besides the fact that all your suppositions are completely unsubstantiated, your tone is both alienating, and completely uninspiring. Want the Phans to get riled up? Treat them like, at their core, what they are: just good-hearted music fans who would surely lend a hand to the state that birthed their beloved Phish. You never game them a chance. I only hope (as both a Phan and a lover of VT who gave blood last week) that they give volunteering more consideration than you gave them. Shame, Ms. Ober.

why spread negativity?

Err, guys, Lauren WROTE A POST about doing some volunteering a few days ago...

It was refreshing to read some smart, dignified critiques of Lauren's post at the beginning of these comments, but it appears the nitrous-powered dregs of the parking lots have arrived.

People, it only makes the Phish Phan community look worse if you call the writer cuss-words.

Deletion... This is how your paper deals with critical posts? Who needs intelligent conversation when you can just control information right? What a sad little rag you run. I may have to think twice about lining my cat box with it in the future, I think he deserves better.

I donated to the VT flood relief effort because I am a Phish fan. I am not from VT and have never even been to VT. After reading this I'm not even sure I ever want to go to VT! Lauren, why are you so hateful?? Is my money too dirty for you? Did a Phish phan break your heart once?

please never write another article. this is the biggest load of crap.

believe me i know plenty of phans who have been helping people throughout Vermont.

this is unbelievable that your attacking our lifestyle choices and way we dress. Get to know a true Phan...they're some of the nicest people walking this earth.

Sounds like you got served and are still in shock over it.

Wow. what an arrogant and condescending article. I understand the author wanting fans to volunteer, but generalizations and negative stereotypes are not necessary. Whoever wrote this comes across as angry and short-sighted. What is with all the New Jersey references? I'm a fan and I'm from Arizona. I have a lot of friends who are fans. None are from New Jersey and none fit your negative description of Phish fans. Perhaps I should blog about angry, resentful Vermonters? I could fit in a few stereotypes and condescending remarks. Rude and unnecessary, bad form Lauren Ober. I sincerely hope you don't consider yourself a journalist, or an asset to your community.

I have another idea: when the editors of this newspaper summarily fire Ms. Ober for this embarrassing excuse for professional writing, any severance pay should be conditional on her performing each and every of the volunteer tasks she suggests in this article.

The editors themselves are of course equally responsible for publishing a piece stuffed with hate and ignorance. If they have any self-respect and concern for the reputation of their paper I'd encourage the owners of this publication to look into how it was published. There must have been a horrible mistake.

I'll be coming to Vermont for the Phish show from MA. In addition to the show ticket, I've made donations to several relief organizations, as have hundreds of my friends and fellow Phish fans. Along with my fellow fans I'll be pumping a considerable amount of cash into the local economy – we will fill your hotels and restaurants, and I'm hoping to get in a bit of shopping – in addition to more directly contributing funds to help with the relief efforts from the horrible damage Irene caused your wonderful state.

The spirit and resilience of the mostly kind and wonderful people of Vermont will surely – with considerable effort and help from both within and outside – recover from this disaster, stronger than ever. Phish fans stand with you, and will not let the ignorance, spite, stupidity and incompetence of Ms. Ober hinder our love, appreciation and respect for everything positive that Vermont and its people stand for.


Incendiary tripe from 5th tier "journalist" toiling away at a 4rd tier newspaper. Sweet.

When will 7days smarten up and realize that Ober is not a journalist, but rather a bitter hipster with limited writing skills? Also, how about turning this comment section over to Facebook, like most blogs are doing now. This will keep it civil and honest. In the meantime, I agree with the majority of the posters here that hated this article.

Wow, she sounds awful bitter to me. I have a feeling if Nickel Back was holding a benefit concert in Essex she may have been camping out for tickets instead of sitting across the street eating a bagel and writing such a "PHantastic", motivating, article on how to recruit out of town volunteers. performing a small amount research and interviews and this blog would have been completely different. I have to admit I grew up in Vermont but don't live there now, I listen to the band and I still love cheetos and water bongs sometimes even at the same time (sorry if that validates this poor, irritating article.

and enough with the "PH" already!!

I hardly ever make comments on articles, but this one is so offensive, so sloppy and so hacky, I'm making an exception.

Pretty much everything there is to be said already has been written here, so I'll just add one more thing: Even though you're getting thousands of hits on this blog post, that is only happening because people thoroughly dislike your work. And your next blog post will go ignored just like all the others before this.

While Ms Ober's hipster-contrived wit could, under different circumstances, come off as humorous, this isn't the time or place for jokes. One word: phired

Unofficial Article Setlist:

Band is doing a benefit concert to raise money for victims >
Fans support cause by buying tickets
Author decides fans of band are obligated to contribute beyond buying ticket >
Insult band and its fans as much as possible >
Conjure up negative hippie stereotypes to appease hipster readers >
Replace F with PH >
Say weed and Ben and Jerrys over and over again >
PH reprise

E: Author is pwned by comments

What a "phucking" awful article.

The attitude you display even makes this VT local want to not lend a helping hand.

Nice life.

Phish's benefit is going to contribute much aid that the relief effort would otherwise not receive and all this wanna be reporter can do is trash them and their fans. What a way to motivate fans to assist the effort by demeaning them and then ask for their help? If you people to help all you have to do is ask nicely and Phish fans would give the shirt off their back.

I've been saying it for weeks now and this post only piles on the evidence. Seven Days editor-owners have permitted such poor, juvenile writing from both Lauren Ober and Dan Bolles to represent their paper, thus turning off their readership. It's unnecessary and completely avoidable. The owners are devaluing their asset by allowing such amateurish journalism to see light of day. These past few months, the urge to grab the paper on Wednesday has completely disappeared. Instead, I seek out a few things from the online site that are well-written. I blame the pervasive Ober-ish Bolle-ish style that has tainted you once good name. Seven Days - redeem yourself!

I am appalled by the shocking truth on this page; of course, it isn't in this obviously prejudiced piece of journalism, if such a neutral word can be attached to such trash, but in the comments of the readers. Ms. Ober, you sincerely need to research your topics before you write about them. If you had done so, you would've found that Phish's fan-base are very gentle, kind people (for the most part, but every group of people in the world have bad apples).

In Bethel, there was to be three Phish shows and camping for attendees. However, a dispute between the venue and the town made the fans homeless for a weekend; while many people were frustrated, they were polite to the point that the sheriff in Bethel personally commended them, even commenting on how helpful they were in picking up trash after the event was over. They're kind tendencies were also made known after the most recent Phish shows in Denver.

It's also been shown that Phish fans aren't ignorant or burnt out as you think by the comments on this page. Not one of these comments that I've seen is unjustified or derogatory. Also, I'm nearly 20 years old (and Floridian, not from New Jersey, might I add) and I've never once imbibed in alcohol or taken extracurricular drugs. You're simply drawing conclusions because the media, not just you, spin tales about the fan-base and you don't enjoy their music. Why not generalize about people in total? This isn't targeting New Yorkers, wealthy people, or people of a different sex/race/religious following/etc. Why target people because they enjoy a different music? If you want to publish articles about "people not donating/helping enough", go ahead; but leave your prejudiced/hate-mongoring at the door.

I lived in South Royalton back in the day from about 1980 - 1983 and that is a fabulous town, I remember the town park with the gazebo and all the shops situated around the park, I remember the train station where I got out of my Mom's car to catch a night train ride and lost my favorite teddy bear immediately after I got out of the car! The energy of the night took away my teddy! I remember the nursery school I attended, where I licked a pole during winter time and my tongue got stuck to the pole, and Ellie (the nursery school teacher) knew what to do to unstuck it, I remember building the largest most glorious snow castles, I remember the ducks and chickens we had, and the small garden we kept up, I remember the scary barn me and my brother used to get lost in, I remember falling out of our tree house and landing on my back and crying, and my Mom consoling me, I remember pulling a bunch of items to the front of our house by the road, attempting to have a garage sale (but my Mom made me take all the stuff back inside) I remember a lightning storm occurred, and a great big tall tree in front of our house was struck, and many many futuristic service vehicles with their lights shining bright in the dark night solving the situation, I remember a lot about South Royalton, and I only lived there for about 3 years!

As an older man now who is 34 I have seen Phish almost 200 times, and I have visited Vermont an uncountable amount of times since then. Help Vermont, Save Vermont, Enjoy Vermont.

What if I bring a vanagon full of Cheetos, Birkenstocks and drug rugs for the flood victims? Will that be more helpful?

Worst article ever. Not even funny. Since when are folks who donate money obligated to come work? I get 2 days off a week from work and I choose to spend those to travel to Vermont and support the event. It's a win win. If you want to rustle up support for volunteers, then say so. Don't trash the people that are supporting your cause to rebuild your lives. Unbelievable. This article will not help your publication in any way. I suspect your readership will go down from this exploit.

Know what this is? This is like asking, "In NYC for tourism? Why aren't you digging through the ruins of the WTC helping the NYFD?"

That is exactly what this is.

The bottom line is that they will be there to help - as will many more people purchasing the concert stream. Firing off righteous indignation because they aren't helping the way you want just exposes you for a bilious stain on Journalism's boxers, a charlatan whose ability to count suddenly disappears when blessings are presented.

Regardless, I will still happily give what I can to help, and urge others to do the same. Speaking of urging, I have a letter to write to your editor.

Wow! Do you have editors Seven Days? Or do you just let your hack "writers" put out what ever garbage they please and call it journalism? I know this is a blog and not in print, but COME ON! This is not a story, but fit for an "Opinion" column. The premise Lauren? "Let me stereotype and insult you and then tell you what you can do for me after already contributing $75?" Really?!?!

Lauren, when and where have you volunteered? I remember reading you rode a bunch of peoples ATV's around for a bit, but how many hours have you put in? How much money have you contributed? Is this your attempt at organizational skills?

This concert, regardless of everyone's stereotypes, will bring not thousands, but MILLIONS of dollars to help our state. So what can YOU do for VT haters? Realize this and shut your hyper-critical mouths.

Seven Days: this article is a chink in your armor and has made me, as well as others I am sure, tremendously less excited to pick up your new issue each Wednesday. Quality control please.

Lauren, your a lesbian right? Should I go ahead and rip into you with a bunch of stereo types because there is no fundraising going on by lesbian groups all the while attacking the demographic? No, I should not because I have a hell of a lot more class then you.

Seven days, the poorest examples of journalism have come from Lauren's half-assed attempts. Think about it.

Wow, way to convince people who are already helping VT to continue to offer assistance. Nothing like a rude, ignorant blog to sway people. How about you ask your favorite band to come and do a benefit concert? And then all of the people who show up can be called names by some faceless computer blogger, and ridiculed until they help. You're a douche bag.

Would the leadership at 7daysVT once and for all temper the uber than though condescending attitude its staff writers have towards phish. be it in the music section (I will say dan has gotten much better) or this ridicules blog - give it a rest.

there will be more young professionals, teachers, business leaders, and flood relief volunteers at wednesday's show than any other music event of the year. to suggest that the fan base hasn't contributed its share to vermont is absurd. phish has given more to this state than any other artist, and more than all the other band to come out of burlington in the past decade combined. sorry dan and lauren, your bands will never be as big is phish. stop being bad losers and show some respect... and appreciation.

it's not 1997, the band has grown up, he fans have grown up, please grow up too.

Lifelong Vermonter here. I really thought Pamela Polston and Paula Routly would be above green lighting such pandering vitriol in an effort to garner some easy web clicks. Guess not.

I hate to break it to you Ms. Ober, but Vermont wasn't the only state devasted by the storm. Most of the eastern seaboard including North Caroline, New Jersey, Mass, New Jersey and Connecticut had their own fair share of destruction too. If you don't believe me, feel free to Google storm pictures of Cosey Beach in East Haven.

So before you start judging people you don't even know, you may want to step out of the self-absorbed bubble you live in and consider the others who lived and lost through the storm. I'm a CT resident who had her fair share of cleaning up to do and I'm looking forward to a couple days in VT seeing my favorite band.

You are by far the most unprofessional writer I've ever come across.

What horrible trash. Does 7 Days have any comment about this piss poor blog post?

This simply isn't journalism. Why would you seek to mock something whose sole purpose is to do something good? Phish stepped up for Vermont when the band was needed the most. I've been seeing Phish for almost 20 years. I have a good job, I've been recently promoted to a management level position as one of Chicago's fastest growing privately held companies. I promise you there's plenty of us who are at Phish for much more then what might be available in the parking lot. Your decision to publish this "piece" of writing speaks volumes about the character of your publication. I'm proud of what Phish is doing and I'm proud that I'm going to be a part of it on Wednesday night. Come about 8:10-8:15 PM there's no place on the planet that I'd rather be!

It's not so much that it's offensive as much as it is just bad journalism. The band is hoping to donate in excess of one million dollars to the victims of the flood--that really should have been the focus of your article, not a shameless soap box effort to ridicule people you don't even know. It's just not how a credible journalist should comport herself. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously as a journalist when you write fluff like this?

That stereotyping is just f#¢€©d.

Wow. Somebody sounds like they got burned by a guy who happened to be a Phish fan. There has to be more to the author's bitterness than just plain ol' ignorance. Or not...

Either way, I would hope the management of this rag will be a bit more careful to avoid publishing such ridiculous trash in the future. I won't ever be checking in on this blog again. There are too many respectable sites out there much more deserving of my time.

Wow, somebody needs a chill pill, easy there mother Teresa, to motivate people to help while insulting their contribution is a little... how should I say it... wrong!!?
I can imagine all this people volunteering to do what you suggest, maybe under your direction?
How arrogant of you to speak in that tome in behalf the people that suffer... I wonder what they would think.
Shame on Seven days for publishing something like this, for allowing an angry person to vent frustration and negativity to people that are doing what they can.... not a Phish fan how about a Beatles fan?
"You said you want a revolution oh yeah? you know? we all want to change the world..."

A little research reveals this is kind of a standard article for her when she writes about a topic that she doesn't support or admire. I get the humor, because it's a consistent tone found in her other pieces, but I also think she's being serious.
And well, ok you got your point across, Laura Ober; you don't like Phish.

Mocking the situation your neighbors are in by compiling this post is a pretty extreme measure to take just to get a lot of comments/hits on your site. Of course you got a lot of hits with your rant. It was actually quite easy, so congrats, but at what cost?

Also, stop trying so hard to be Pitchfork, k?

Hateful. Ungrateful. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I think it's cute that you somehow finagled yourself a masters degree in journalism. The fact that you appear to be content, and even pleased to grunt out written diarrhea of this caliber is less cute though.

Yeah, pretty poor form by everyone involved Seven Days. While we've all been busy naval gazing about how bad we have it in Vermont, lots of other, not too far away places were devastated by Tropical Storm Lee.

It's just unfortunate that they don't have a semi-world famous band with legions of dedicated fans willing to help them out. Maybe you guys can pick up the slack down there?

Ever hear the saying "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth"?

PS. Lauren, you did a good job at the Strut show, especially next to that empty-headed fashion franken-dolt. Also I think you could be a good writer, so I encourage you to take the criticism and try to improve.

You could have written something with more literary merit that got your "point of view" across without coming across as what is being seen as mean and missing the point. It's pretty obvious you are looking at the surface of the matter.

You ask people to be helpful by being what is being seen as rude. That is either ironic, or just poor writing.

You don't become a better writer by resorting to these lazy tricks. All the time.

let's take it to the tweets too!

Lauren Ober @Oberandout
Seven Days @seven_days

WTF?! Lauren Ober is wasting time mocking a huge effort to do something to bring much needed and huge financial help to VT? What motivates someone to come up with this unnecessary negativity at a time like this? Phrankly, I have more phaith in Phish to give more money to VT than PHEMA.

Shall we stereotype the author's pathetic, snarky punditry, self-important, scarf-wearing, pseudo-hipster, plain lazy and sad attempts at witticism and epic fail at eliciting support for the cause of VT Relief.??. No ... there's much more important things to focus on.. OH, by the way... THANKS for the help PHISH FANS !!!!

I have a hard time believing that the editor of Seven Days will actually do anything by this so-called journalist's rude rantings. Clearly, it is causing controversy and people are talking. It's ridiculous that this will come back as a positive for this writer instead of getting her ass tossed to the curb. I'm appalled that this was allowed to go to print.

Wow. Thanks for giving a great example of exactly how NOT to write a piece of journalism on every level. Every journalism professor in the country should write you a thank you letter after they show this to their students on the first day of class every year.

Laugh. Out. Loud.


Wait...So their raising money? That's a good things right? What the problem?

The author has some serious beef with this band, maybe she should host a benefit concert and get something done as opposed to just complaining about it.

Hows the view from up there?

Okay, we're closing the comments, everyone. Thanks for chiming in, unless you threatened us with violence. We've left most of the comments up, but a high volume of them were personal attacks on the writer or otherwise violations of our commenting policy, so that's why we're shutting them down now.

If you have more to say on the subject, please send us a letter to the editor:

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684