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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Traffic Jam Band

The Phish farewell concert in Vermont this weekend has brought out all of the crazies. The stories about the traffic jam heading to the concert site are rather amazing:

Sidney Bristol, 20, of Newfane, and her cousin, Andrew Kessen, 21, of Brattleboro, left Windham County at 4:30 Thursday afternoon. At 9 p.m., they called home to report they were still stuck in traffic on Interstate 91 and were still miles away from the concert, according to Sidney's father, Gordon Bristol, of Williamsville.

Gordon said Sidney called again Friday to say that between 9 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m. Friday, they had traveled a total of three miles on Interstate 91. Sidney and her cousin decided then to park their car in the Ethan Allan furniture-making plant in Newport and walk the rest of the way -- a distance of several miles, Gordon said.

Boisterous fans took the brief pause in the traffic to partake an amalgamation of different activities, from tossing a baseball back and forth to playing cards on the back gates of trucks. Others fired up hibachis and portable grills, brazenly cooking in the middle of the highway.

As state police and law enforcement strove to keep traffic moving, many fans were drinking alongside their vehicles, some quite clearly intoxicated. The pungent aroma of marijuana occasionally wafted down the highway, billows of smoke flowing freely from a stopped caravan.

With waits as long as 23 hours to enter the campgrounds, several motorists appeared to be getting irate, yelling obscenities at motorists passing in the left lane. Another group of fans held up cardboard signs indicating that the passing lane only went to Canada.

Is it any wonder what would happen next?

Police in Vermont now say fans of the band called Phish have abandoned as many as 25-hundred vehicles on Interstate 91.

Sadly, I don't see any good shots of the boozing and belligerence, but there are some photos of people abandoning cars, such as this, which hit the wires at 12:46 p.m.:

Caption: "Phish fans who abandoned their vehicles because of a roadblock on Interstate 91, walk up U.S. Highway 5 in Orleans, Vt., hoping to hike the 12 miles to the Phish Festival in Coventry, Vt., in time for the evening concert. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)" And then they get to camp overnight in the woods, sweet.

It occurs to me that we recently passed the 35th anniversary of Woodstock with no anniversary concert like what happened on the 25th and 30th anniversaries (and after the '99 debacle, it's no wonder). Perhaps this weekend's festivities up in Vermont can partly fill the void.