Phish has issued a statement regarding fans’ increasing concerns over plague-infected prairie dogs threatening the band’s annual Labor Day event at Commerce City, Colorado’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“As you may have heard, there have been ongoing cases of plague in prairie dog colonies in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge this summer,” the band wrote. “Fortunately, the Tri-County Health Department has advised that Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (DSGP) is safe to host Phish’s concerts over Labor Day weekend.”
“While there have been no confirmed cases of plague on site at DSGP, as an extra measure of caution, the Health Department has restricted parking at the venue to asphalt lots — concertgoers will not be allowed to park on unpaved lots or grass. As a result, we are sorry to say that there will be no overnight camping allowed for this year’s shows. All camping tickets and RV tickets (and associated service charges) will be automatically refunded within the next few days. We recognize the tremendous inconvenience this may cause for those who had planned on camping.”
Colorado wildlife officials temporarily closed parts of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge last month after the startling discovery that plague-carrying fleas were biting black-tailed prairie dogs. The refuge reopened on August 17th, with a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advising visitors to “Avoid contact with prairie dogs and other wild rodents.”
The band has been performing the Labor Day event for the past eight years. Fans have been urging each other on a Reddit thread to stay at friends’ houses or nearby hotels. “Just another crazy moment in the shared, collective history of Phish,” wrote the Phish fan publication Surrender to the Flow. “See you in 11 days!”
Phish recently announced a seven-date fall tour, kicking off with two back-to-back nights at Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center and wrapping up with three dates at Charleston’s North Charleston Coliseum on December 6th through the 8th. “We’re always looking forward,” piano player Page McConnell recently told Rolling Stone. “The Phish thing is going so well right now, I can’t even really talk about it without getting emotional, because it’s just too intense…we’re all in a really good place and happy to be playing together.”