Some fans who attempted to purchase “Glen Close” VIP passes and General Admission RV Passes were disappointed with just how fast those options were gone. Similar passes for 2011’s Superball IX, held at the same venue, did not sell out quickly. Why the big difference? We agree with WGI President Michael Printup’s assessment to The Steuben Courier Advocate that this year’s festival will be bigger due to the routing of Phish Summer Tour. Unlike 2011, when Phish played a number of shows within striking distance of Watkins Glen, Magnaball are the quartet’s only performances in the region. Plus, those shows within striking distance in 2011 -which included a three-night stand in Bethel, New York and a show in Darien, New York -were announced over a month before the Vermonters officially confirmed Superball.
“I would anticipate this one would be bigger,” Printup told The Steuben Courier Advocate adding that he feels attendance may reach 40,000 and could possibly top 50,000. Superball IX drew 30,000+ to the racetrack according to the local paper. “Here we are, sitting here after about 10 months of background work getting the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. We’re beyond excited. I love this. It’s so neat to have something so different up at the racetrack,” Printup said.
Michael Printup went into detail about the years of planning that led to this week’s confirmation of Magnaball:
“Richard Glasgow, one of the executives on the Phish team, and I have stayed in touch since 2011,” Printup said. “He told me when they walked out the door, ‘We’re gonna do this again, the band loved it,’ and I said ‘You got it,’ so we always stayed in touch.”
Over the years, Printup has met with Glasgow in New York City and flown to the Coachella music festival in California to meet with promoter Coran Capshaw, who runs Red Light Management, Phish’s management group.
The scheduling never worked until this year, when a major repaving project at WGI -pegged at $12 million to $14 million -set the stage for Phish’s return. The track itself will be shut down for paving immediately after the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Aug. 9, but that left the rest of the 1,800-acre venue and its sprawling campgrounds open for non-racing events.
While the festival was just announced, the Phish team has been a familiar presence at the race track. “In the last eight months, they’ve probably made four or five trips here, a team of five to 15 people every time. So they’ve been planning very hard, and I can’t wait to see what that final roll-up of the show is, because it’s going to be exciting,” Printup told The Steuben Courier Advocate. He’s not the only who’s excited.