Talk of an upcoming Phish fest for upstate New York has been swimming around the blogs for weeks, and Thursday the band confirmed it will host Super Ball IX at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York on July 1-3.
The shows will cap Phish’s summer tour, which begins with a three-night stand at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y., Memorial Day weekend.
Super Ball IX is the latest in a trend of artists staging their own festivals, a concept that Phish pioneered at the major league level beginning with the Clifford Ball in 1996 in Plattsburgh, N.Y. As the title suggests, this will be Phish’s ninth band-hosted fest. Super Ball IX will be the first major music event hosted at Watkins Glen since Summer Jam in 1973.
Tickets, priced at $200 plus service fees for the three-day event, will go on sale April 4 here. Onsite camping is included in the price of admission.
Like previous Phish festivals, the Super Ball IX will include numerous ancillary attractions and activities in addition to a series of performances by the band. Camping and travel packages will be available.
Ticket prices for each specific date on the summer tour will include a free MP3 download of the entire show. Fans purchasing Super Ball IX tickets will receive a free download of each set the band plays during the event. They can be redeemed at www.LivePhish.com, where they’ll be available shortly after Phish steps off stage.
Phish is booked by Paradigm Talent — the same team that works with Dave Matthews Band. As reported by Billboard on March 9, DMB will stage four regional destination festivals this summer under the Dave Matthews Band Caravan banner, the first of which is set for June 24-26 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, N.J.
Other examples of acts controlling their own festival destiny include Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Clemson, S.C. April 8-10, the Roots’ Picnic in Philadelphia June 4, and the Disco Biscuits’ Camp Bisco festival in Mariaville, N.Y. July 7-9.
Phish will release “Two Soundchecks,” a limited edition, 7-inch vinyl record that will be available exclusively at participating independently owned record stores beginning Apr. 16. “Two Soundchecks” marks the band’s first-ever live vinyl record and their first release in conjunction with Record Store Day.
An interesting side note to the Watkins Glen site: with an estimated 600,000 in attendance, Summer Jam is believed to be the highest-attended concert ever in North America, but only 200,000 tickets were actually sold to the concert, which included the Band, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. So the highest ticketed event on this continent is the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto, a SARS-related benefit at Downsview Park in 2003, which moved about 480,000 tickets.
“At Watkins Glen, we sold 200,000 tickets but had 600,000 in attendance. If we had sold 600,000 tickets, I’d be on an island somewhere, ” Jim Koplik, one of the producers of Summer Jam and now a top executive with Live Nation once told Billboard.
No word on whether Phish intends to make a run at the record.
Here are Phish’s summer 2011 tour dates:
5/27: Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
5/28: Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
5/29: Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
5/31: Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
6/1: Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
6/3: Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Center
6/4: Cleveland, OH - Blossom Music Center
6/5: Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
6/7: Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center
6/8: Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
6/10: Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center
6/11: Columbia, MD - Merriweather Post Pavilion
6/12: Columbia, MD - Merriweather Post Pavilion
6/14: Alpharetta, GA - Verizon Wireless Encore Park
6/15: Alpharetta, GA - Verizon Wireless Encore Park
6/17: Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
6/18: Raleigh, NC - Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
6/19: Portsmouth, VA - Ntelos Pavilion at Harbor Center
7/1-3: Watkins Glen, NY - Super Ball IX - Watkins Glen International