Dispensaries in Maine are preparing to batten down the hatches. Bangor Daily News reports that jam-band Phish is coming to town, and local dispensary workers are bracing for the frenzied rush of business the concert will likely bring.
Phish will perform at the Maine Savings Amphitheater on the Bangor Waterfront in Bangor, Maine on July 16—marking the band’s fifth performance in the city since 1993 and its 47th show in Maine. It’s the first time Phish is performing in Maine with recreational sales after the state legalized cannabis two years ago.
Why all the fuss? Because Phish’s fanbase of tie-dyed stoned hippies are so devoted and cult-like, the argument has even been made that Phish is an actual cult. (It’s not.) Unlike typical bands, Phish fans follow the band around the country religiously, and concerts generally draw a lot of outsiders—outsiders who smoke bud. Five-digit numbers of people in the crowd is not too uncommon.
While locals are wary about the influx of cannabis that is likely to happen, they also acknowledged how the pot-smoking crowd is easier to deal with than a drunk crowd.
“Phish fans definitely bring a great crowd, but they are pretty well-behaved compared to others. It’s not crazy like the country shows. Those fans like to party,” Mark Greenleaf, owner Carolina Sports & Spirits, told Bangor Daily News. Greenleaf’s business storefront is only a few hundred feet from the entrance to the amphitheater that Phish will perform at. “We’re happy to have any concert event. They always bring us some business, and many of them pack the place.”
Dispensary owners also expect an increase in sales, but maybe aren’t 100% convinced the concert will create a phenomenon.
“We’re grateful for every concert that comes to town. It’s always a boon for us,” said Sam Cross, manager at Firestorm, a dispensary in town. “It’s hard to say exactly what kind of crowd we’ll see for Phish, but we’ll definitely see them. It’s always nice to see a caravan of Phish fans come in.”
High Times reported on the phenomenon that Phish concerts create, providing an atmosphere that you don’t even need weed to enjoy. Last April 20 in New York, Phish also performed at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the state’s first legal 420 holiday.
The event in Maine may not be quite so large, but it draws the same cult-like devotion seen at the band’s other concerts.
Cannabis and psychedelics are practically synonymous with the band as they complement the musical genre very well. The Vermont-based band formed in 1983 and plays the jam-band style of music that emerged out of the 1960s psychedelic scene. When Jerry Garcia died in 1995, apparently a lot of Grateful Dead followers—aka deadheads—refocused on Phish. Expect a lot of braided hemp and glass pipe accessories, and plenty of long hair. The band consists of lead vocalist Trey Anastasio along with Page McConnell, Mike Gordon, and Jon Fishman.
Phish has played in Maine nearly 50 times since 1989. At one particular event, The Great Went at Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County in 1997, over 75,000 people showed up. It was 1997’s highest-grossing rock concert in the U.S., according to Bangor Daily News.