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Phish Concert Could Have Lasting Effect On Glens Falls

Dan Shinneman
Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

A concert in Glens Falls last night has some saying the small city can play host to other large entertainment events in the future, which could be key to the area’s economic development.

The rock band Phish returned to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the first time since a legendary 1994 Halloween concert Wednesday. The sellout brought thousands of fans to the Warren County city. About 7,500 tickets were sold. From nearby Vermont, Phish has a passionate following in the region, playing several Saratoga Springs concerts in recent years as well.

City officials made sure to prepare for the concert, with crowd control provided by the Glens Falls police department, in coordination with New York State Police and the Warren County Sherriff’s Office.

Shawn Lamouree, Warren County Undersheriff, said officers were placed throughout the downtown area surrounding the Civic Center, and that the event went smoothly with no major safety issues.

"We didn't have any major problems down there," said Lamouree.

Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond had made the concert and safety a priority. He issued an official proclamation honoring the band’s return and encouraged concert-goers to celebrate. The mayor’s proclamation declares that on “Wednesday, October 23, 2013, that we’ve: GONE PHISHING in the City of Glens Falls and urge all residents to mellow out, grab a grilled cheese sandwich and welcome Phish and its phans to our fine city.”

Jeremy Huelsing, General Manager of the Glens Falls Civic Center, said the concert was well-managed from an operations standpoint, and that the return of the band puts the venue “a little more on the map.”

"Phish is obviously a very popular band, they bring large crowds with them," said Heulsing. "So we believe that people se we can host an event with 6,000 or 7,000 people, it may help this building be more attractive to other shows, to other artists."

Ed Bartholomew, Economic Development Director for Glens Falls and president of EDC Warren County, said that the Civic Center’s demonstrated ability to attract large concert events is one part of securing the area as a tourism destination.

"If we can obtain three to four signature concerts or events like this, it will certainly provide a health economic bottom line for the city," said Bartholomew.

Bartholomew also mentioned the Hyde Collection’s summer exhibit featuring the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe as another example of something that is getting Glens Falls noticed. He said the Civic Center fits right in with the tourism and hospitality ecosystem of Warren County, and suggested  other developments at the venue that could help build the area’s economy.

"The Civic Center is part of that tourism and hospitality that we have in the greater Glens Falls - Warren County area," said Bartholomew. "Certainly an effort of obtaining some signature concerts is important as well as the city's efforts of attracting another American Hockey League team next season."

The Adirondack Phantoms are currently playing at the Civic Center, but the Glens Falls has been searching for a team to find a permanent home in the city.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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