Phish fans — or ‘phans,’ as they’re sometimes referred to — from all over the country began to descend upon Bangor on Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the band’s Tuesday evening concert at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.
While lots of concerts on the waterfront sell more than 10,000 tickets, very few bring with them the kind of cult following that Phish does. The list of bands that can boast of fans who have seen hundreds of their shows — sometimes entire tours — is very, very short.
J.B., a Pennsylvania resident who declined to give his last name, was in town with a group of four other friends from towns and cities across the Northeast, whom he had met while attending Phish shows over the past 20 years. All five said they had each seen at least 200 shows, if not more, including Lemonwheel and IT, two of Phish’s massive festivals at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone in 1998 and 2003, respectively.
All five friends also considered their travels to see the band as being as much about friendship as it is the music — though the music is, of course, the reason why everyone shows up.
“I think the special thing about these shows in Maine is that, because it’s a little further away from everything else, it really makes sure that the people here are coming for the music and because they love the band,” J.B. said. “I think that then makes the band play an even better show.”
Adrian Sharpe and John Napolitano, both from Charlotte, North Carolina, are longtime friends and Phish fans, and have been following the band for more than 15 years — 20 years in Sharpe’s case. They both had booths selling T-shirts and other accessories next to each other in the Shakedown area, a.k.a. the pop-up market that band followers set up before each concert.
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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