Upstate Outlets Discuss Phish Return To Watkins Glen

By Scott Bernstein Jan 14, 2015 8:20 am PST

The last Phish festival, Super Ball IX, drew approximately 30,000 fans to Watkins Glen International raceway in Watkins Glen, New York over the Fourth of July weekend in 2011. According to reports from local media outlets The Leader and, it’s beginning to look like the Vermonters may throw their tenth festival at WGI this summer.

Watkins Glen International will see its track repaved on August 10, leading to an early end for the site’s racing season. As such, WGI officials would like to host a concert at the venue in the weeks following the repaving. “This year gives us that opportunity because with the open air time from August 10 on, we would have an opportunity,” WHI President Michael Printup told The Leader. “That’s what we’ve been working pretty hard on, and our business development people down in corporate (International Speedway Corp.) have been talking to some pretty big folks too and hopefully we might be able to see something this year. It would be great if we could, because we’ve got nothing else going on, so might as well put a concert there. But we’ll have to see.”

When The Leader pressed Printup about whether Phish would be coming to The Glen, the track president declined to answer. In the past few years, Printup has denied Phish is coming that season, so his “no comment” may indeed be a sign that something is in the works, though he did tell The Leader no contract had been signed as of the paper’s January 7th report. Johnny Goff of Bands That Jam, who broke the news about Super Ball back in 2011 (Correction: Bands That Jam’s Pete Stergion broke the news that Phish would perform at Watkins in 2011), reports that the 10th Phish festival will take place at Watkins Glen between August 21 -23. For now, there’s no confirmation that the quartet will indeed return to The Glen.

Even the local officials would like to see Phish or other concerts at WGI. According to, “the Schuyler County Legislature recently approved an agreement with Watkins Glen International that would lower the cost of law enforcement services for major events.”’s Chris Baker points out a Elmira Star Gazette report that “a five-year agreement with the track offers a 50% cut in law enforcement costs for events that draw more than 20,000 people.” Not to mention that the area’s Legislature Chairman claimed that Super Ball “brought in $500,000 in county sales tax revenue.”

Ever since 2011, Phish has spent the Fourth of July weekend at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, New York. Yesterday, we learned the Dave Matthews Band will perform at SPAC this Fourth of July weekend, giving more credence to the Watkins reports. As for now, nothing is official, but this just may be a case of where there’s smoke there’s fire. Stay tuned!

[via The Leader &]

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