Home Iconic bar Dispensaries brace for first Phish broadcast since Maine legalized cannabis sales

Dispensaries brace for first Phish broadcast since Maine legalized cannabis sales


Beloved jam band Phish will return this Saturday to the Maine Savings Amphitheater on the Bangor waterfront for their fifth appearance in the city since 1993 and their 47th show in Maine since 1989.

While most gigs attract plenty of patrons eager to spend money on food, drink, and shopping while they’re in town, Phish fans are a little different.

When Phish arrives in any town or city, the band brings with them legions of fans, many of whom travel from all over the country to attend several gigs in a row. And those fans can make a lot of money for businesses of all stripes.

“Phish fans certainly bring a big crowd, but they’re doing pretty well compared to others. It’s not crazy as the country shows. These fans like to party,” said bar owner Mark Greenleaf and Carolina Sports & Spirits restaurant, which is a few hundred yards from the amphitheater entrance. “We are happy to have any concert event. They always bring us business, and lots of between them pack the place.

It’s the first time Phish has performed in Maine since cannabis – which is often associated with the band and its fans – was legalized for recreational purchase by adults 21 and older a year ago. less than two years in Maine.

Staff at local dispensaries in the Bangor area don’t necessarily think they’ll suddenly sell out all the weed in their store on Saturday, but they anticipate a spike in business over the weekend.

“We are grateful for every concert that comes to town. It’s always been a godsend for us,” said Sam Cross, manager of Firestorm, a cannabis dispensary on Outer Hammond Street in Bangor. “It’s hard to say exactly what kind of audience we’ll see for Phish, but we’ll definitely see them. It’s always nice to see a caravan of Phish fans arrive.

In Maine, it is legal to smoke or vape cannabis only on private property. Smoking or vaping cannabis on public property, including public parks like the one in which the Maine Savings Amphitheater is located, is illegal.

The staff of Mexicali Blues, a Maine-based chain that sells clothing, jewelry and homewares inspired by hippie culture, still eagerly awaits the rush of Phish fans at its store in downtown Bangor when the group arrives in town. Along with offering 10% off all tie-dye apparel in the store for the month of July, the store features Phish-branded merchandise, including patterned sunglasses with the iconic red and blue donut dress. by drummer Jon Fishman.

People line up before Phish’s concert on Bangor’s seafront in June 2019. Credit: Gabor Degree/BDN

“We know from experience that Phish fans are the kindest, most generous customers and viewers, and the store is very busy with all the fans,” said Julie Baker-Leaden, Mexicali Blues Manager. “We really like having them in town.”

Phish has performed in Maine nearly 50 times since 1989, from tiny venues like the Penny Post in Old Town to the 15,000-seat Maine Savings Amphitheater. Among the most famous moments of Phish’s nearly 40-year career are the three festivals the band played in Maine in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Great Went – held at the Air Force Base of Loring in Aroostook County in August 1997 – drew over 75,000 people, featured the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and was the highest-grossing rock concert of 1997 in the United States.

Phish festivals in 1998 and 2003 both drew over 60,000 people to Loring.

Although the season at the Maine Savings Amphitheater began on July 3 with a concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Phish’s show will be the biggest concert at the venue in nearly three years, after the 2020 season was completely canceled due to the pandemic and that the 2021 season has been a truncated affair.

“We’re excited about everything that’s happening in Bangor right now, like cruise ships and comeback concerts,” Baker-Leaden said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in traffic, and we’re so ready for that. It’s been a great summer already.