Phish Fans Stream Out After Final Show, Unidentified Fan Found Dead

By | August 16, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Phish fans were streaming out of the concert site early Monday on their way home, and police reported no major traffic problems.

Fans started leaving the band’s two-day festival on Sunday, even before Phish played its last set. More than 60,000 fans attended the band’s farewell concert.

Early Monday morning, traffic was steady in the southbound lane of Interstate 91 as those fans made their way out of northern Vermont.

“Traffic is moving slowly, but much faster than it was coming in,” said state police Sgt. Bruce Melendy, who was driving north toward the concert site on Interstate 91 early Monday morning.

Interstate 91 was still lined with cars Monday that were abandoned Saturday by fans after police blocked several roads leading to the concert site. Many fans walked more than 15 miles to get to the concert after parking their cars on the highway or on local residents’ lawns and fields.

Police blocked the roads because heavy rains and mud had made parking impossible at the airport.

Monday, as traffic streamed southbound on Interstate 91, other fans waited impatiently in lines of cars inside the gates of the Newport State Airport for a chance to get on the road.

“People are leaving, but the backup is extreme,” said Matthew LeBaron of Bel Air, Maryland, early Monday. He said he had been sitting in his car since late Sunday night.

“We had a lot of fun (at the concert), but the traffic getting out is unbelievable,” he said.

Police tried to hire buses to help fans get back to their cars, but couldn’t find bus companies willing to send the vehicles, Melendy said Monday morning. Instead, local residents are shuttling Phish fans in their vehicles.

Melendy said he expected most people to be out of the concert site by Monday night.

Melendy also said a concertgoer had been found dead in a tent sometime after the final set, which ended around 1 a.m. Monday. The young man, who appears to be in his early 20s, was found in the tent of people who didn’t know him. He wasn’t carrying any identification, and the cause of death is unknown, although Melendy said there’s no indication of foul play.

“Some people came back after the concert to their tent and found him in the tent,” Melendy said. An autopsy is scheduled.

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