COVENTRY, Vt. (AP) – Fans of the jam band Phish and citizens of this small Northeast Kingdom community have one thing in common: both are waiting to hear if the group will play in town this summer.

Organizers say neither should have to wait too much longer to find out.

The band’s production company is seeking a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration to close the Newport State Airport – where Phish has expressed interest in holding the concert – for the duration of the event.

The company has a verbal agreement with the Department of Public Safety for a public assemblies permit, which it needs to get in writing before plans can move ahead.

Lt. Thomas Hanlon of the Vermont State Police said the review for the permit will take between 10 and 15 days.

“Our concerns are strictly public safety,” he said.

Should the concert occur, the production company would pay for the increased police costs, said Hanlon.

The Coventry concert would be the first Vermont tour stop for Phish since the band played at the Sugarbush Summer Stage in 1995.

Officials estimated the concert could bring between $10 million and $30 million to the area.

“We are hopeful that all the necessary permits will be granted,” said Dave Werlin of Great Northeast Productions. “And that we will be able to create a memorable experience for the fans, the band and the county.”

Werlin said the company is looking at other venues, including Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, where the band has played three times before, including last summer.

Werlin said the Coventry airport is more attractive than Limestone because the secondary roads in the area provide better access to the site.

AP-ES-04-08-04 1708EDT



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