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Phish to host multi-day Halloween fest at Coachella site

July 24, 2009 |  7:00 am

Phish_trey West Coast Phish fans may have been left out of the band's initial run of spring reunion dates, but the act is making a grand overture to its Pacific Time Zone-based fan base this fall. After much rumor and speculation, the band confirmed late Thursday that it would stage a three-day event in Indio, Calif., beginning Friday, Oct. 30. The jam band will take over the same Empire Polo Grounds that hosts the Coachella and Stagecoach fests for what Phish is calling "Festival 8."

The band will perform a total of eight sets throughout the Halloween weekend. Tickets are $199, not including surcharges, and will go on sale Monday, July 27, at 10 a.m. via MusicToday. Parking is free, but there is a camping option, which will run fans $15 per car or $125 per RV.

The fest, the first Phish is hosting since 2004, will also incorporate another Phish tradition: the Halloween show. The band has a history of staging concerts on the holiday, donning costumes and covering another act's album from start to finish. 

In the past, Phish has tackled such releases as the Beatles' "White Album," the Who's "Quadrophenia," the Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" and the Velvet Underground's "Loaded." No hints were dropped Thursday night as to which artist Phish may tackle, but fans are encouraged to bring their "smiles" (awwww). 

The Coachella site has been speculated as the location for the Phish fest for weeks, and hotels have reportedly been going fast. Billboard posted a link to a Desert Sun story missed by Pop & Hiss, which notes that hotels around Indio started filling up around mid-June

Phish is a powerhouse on the touring circuit. In 2004, the last year before Phish went on a five-year hiatus, the band grossed a stunning $27.5 million from just 25 shows, according to Billboard. The band last staged a festival in 2004 in Coventry, Vt., an event marred by torrential rains that closed roads near the festival site, forcing thousands of fans to miss the fest. Nevertheless, Phish played to 95% capacity and more through much of its career, according to Billboard data. 

The band is prepping a new album for the fall, said to be called "Joy." The set was recorded with producer Steve Lillywhite (the Dave Matthews Band, U2). 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Phish's Trey Anastasio at a 2003 Forum performance. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times