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It wasn’t a Happy New Year for the hundreds of Phish fans arrested in New York City during the jam-band’s recent four-show run at Madison Square Garden. A total of 238 arrests were reported after the first three concerts leading up to the New Year’s Eve celebration.
Like the Deadheads before them, Phish fans have become common targets wherever the band performs — usually arenas and amphitheaters. Most of the arrests tend to be for drug possession and sales, with marijuana and “molly” (Ecstasy) the drugs of choice among Phish’s devoted 20-something followers.
The New York Times reported of one arrest on a street outside MSG during which 424 capsules of MDMA, 71 strips of LSD and 14 bags of mushrooms were confiscated from one person.
Meanwhile, inside the arena, concert attendees gleefully lit up once the lights went down at 8:35 p.m. and the quartet walked onto the stage. Known for their NYE antics, Phish played atop a flatbed truck parked at center ice for the second set, which lasted an hour.
The band came back five minutes before midnight and launched into fan-favorite “Character Zero.” The 2013 countdown was followed by a brief “Auld Lang Syne” and a spectacular balloon drop. With neon glow sticks flying and balloons bouncing in relentless waves, it was a playful welcome to the New Year. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for those who were locked up by NYPD and likely held overnight.
Possession of 25 grams of marijuana was decriminalized in New York. However, when in “public view” — being smoked openly or can be smelled or seen — it qualifies as an offense for which one can be arrested.
The band has not yet made any statement related to the seemingly high number of busts. THR has reached out for comment.
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