COVENTRY, Vt. (AP) – State police officials say this summer’s Phish concert, which attracted an estimated 65,000 people, provided plenty of lessons that will be applied to any similar gatherings in the future.

“We learned a lot of lessons,” said Capt. James Dimmick.

The promoters of the Phish concert met conditions required by the state and Dimmick suggested tougher conditions might be needed in the future.

Coventry selectmen said they will work on local bylaws limiting large gatherings if residents want it. Several petitions requiring such limits are circulating in Coventry, residents said.

“We couldn’t stop it,” said Michael Marcotte, a Coventry selectman, even if selectmen wanted to, which they did not. They supported the festival.

The Thursday night meeting organized by the Coventry selectmen produced plenty of compliments to go around from the 70 people gathered at the school.

State police said the Coventry residents handled the situation very well.

“All in all, you people need to be commended,” Marcotte said. “It really showed what the Northeast Kingdom is all about. We all did a good job in turning the potential disaster into something positive.”

And residents gave the state police high marks for keeping roads open and the community safe under the circumstances.

Some asked why the state police did not allow Phish fans into Newport City and Derby when the decision was made to stop all access to the Newport State Airport site on Aug. 14 to the last 30,000 ticket holders.

Some also wanted to know why the police did not bring in buses.

Capt. Real Robillard, head of the local barracks in Derby, said there weren’t large enough parking spots or enough buses to handle that many people.

“There was no alternative solution. We looked at gravel pits,” Robillard said.

Canceling the festival would have created a public safety crisis as well, police said.

Ultimately, the band approved of closing off Interstate 91 to any more Phish fans.

Dimmick said police knew some fans would leave, and others would find their way to the site.

The Phish festival fans who thronged by car and on foot through the area also earned kudos.

Connie Kelley, who was adamantly opposed to the festival in advance, said she fought this “tooth and nail.”

But now she has changed her mind. “I met thousands of the nicest people I ever met in my life.”



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