Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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The rumor mill is in full swing regarding the bands or potential bands who may be coming to Ocean City next June for the first-ever High-Tide Music Festival.

Understandably so, the promoter is keeping details private, but it’s known at a recent Tourism Advisory Board meeting the name of the band Phish was floated as a possible act for the June 2-3 event. This would be surprising to me, if it’s true, as Phish could sell out its own two-day music festival without any other acts. Nonetheless, that’s a huge name in the music world and it would draw a tremendous crowd, as it has a huge and diverse following. Although it’s a hypothetical at this time, the big unknown with Phish would be whether it would attract the types of people city officials would want to see.

Back in October, possible talent pitched to the Ocean City Mayor and Council included Paul Simon, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford and Sons, Florence & The Machine and Adele.

Since it’s only mid-December, most bands have not announced their summer of 2012 plans yet. However, the exception was Tom Petty, who did announce this week his summer intentions, which do not include Ocean City. In fact, Petty will be performing in Newfoundland, Canada on June 3 before heading to Europe for a series of shows., making a stop in Ocean City the day before seemingly impractical.

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In Ocean City, it has been assumed by most that the Dew Tour would be returning in 2012 because of its tremendous success last July. Dew Tour officials, after the resort stop, said it was one of the most highly attended events in their history.

The anticipated return to Ocean City in 2012 was essentially confirmed by Tourism Director Deb Turk this week when she reported Dew Tour officials will come before the Mayor and Council next month for the reservation of an August date, most likely the third weekend of the month.

This is excellent news for Ocean City and the shore, and I think the date is much better for all involved than this year’s mid-July event. The proposed 2012 date is the weekend after the White Marlin Open wraps up and usually represents the beginning of smaller crowds, as children begin returning to school elsewhere. Additionally, unlike this year, it would not occur in Ocean City’s traditional peak summer season stretch and the true economic impact of the event will likely be better measured.

Either way, it’s welcome news to hear Dew Tour officials are moving ahead with a return engagement.

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Along the same lines, advanced preparations for the summer of 2012 are in full swing, and some plans were publicly unveiled this week to the Mayor and Council.

Bob Rothermel, former director of the resort’s convention center and also the co-creator of the Cruisin’ events, among others, came before the council to discuss some mid-week summer events that would draw people to Ocean City during what has become a lag period.

It’s long been known people are booking shorter vacation stints in Ocean City and elsewhere, due to economic constraints and changing vacationing trends. While widely acknowledged, efforts to address the disparity between the weekends and weekdays have not been overly successful, at least in my estimation. Holding concerts and the events that center on diverse entertainment could go a long way toward addressing this visitor gap.

To the council this week, Rothermel said, “We just need to find the right dates, mid-week dates that have worked in the past, or maybe a Sunday to kind of hold people over. There will be some free events on the beach … years ago, we did a laser show on the beach and what it did was bring a Saturday night to a Wednesday or a Thursday.”

12 comments on “Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

  1. I was one of that 30,000 at Watkins Glen! The people that live there were not up for “that kind” of people that went to Superball IX but after the weekend had nothing but praise for us all. It was my first Phest but not my first concert. AND Watkins Glen was my hometown for the first 21 years of my life. I am now almost 50 and look forward to the next concert!

  2. you didnt see phish at msg or the boston garden in 1992.

    that being said, i would probably drive down and check it out. never been to ocean city.

  3. Sorry, you are correct, it was 1994. Perhaps I just revealed a little hazy memory there. Here’s the setlists
    http://phish.net/setlists/1994.html#1994-12-31

  4. As great as it would be to see Phish in the O.C. MD area, I think that it’s highly suspicious that this would happen. However, I could see String Cheese Incident, moe., Keller Williams or The Disco Biscuits playing their and drawing a huge turnout.

  5. If Phish comes to OC, the town will be very surprised just as all other towns who have hosted Phish have been.

    You are expecting a bunch of drugged out dreaded weirdos. And no doubt about it, there will be a few of those hanging around. But the vast majority of Phish fans are in their mid to late thirties, college graduates, home owners, with some serious disposable income. They are down for dropping some major cash for a fun weekend. They are cleancut and on a normal weekend you’d never peg them for dedicated Phish fans.

    Phish has and will play festivals which include other bands (see Bonaroo, Outside Lands, etc). So, this is very plausible.

    This newspaper can play a HUGE role in helping Ocean City have a positive response to these fans. It would be great for the city!

    From an article published in the Times Herald Record after three night run in Bethel, NY Memorial Day weekend 2011:
    “The first two nights went well with no major incidents, said Matt McNeil, director of marketing and programming at Bethel Woods.

    “I think everyone so far is completely pleased with the way the events have been going, and proud of the pre-planning on everyone’s behalf that’s gone into this,” McNeil said. Phish fans have been great, “overwhelming polite and respectful,” he said.”

    from another article…
    ullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said deputies stopped a group of people from setting up an illegal campsite at Lake Superior Park around 7:45 p.m. Thursday night, he said, but there were no other major incidents.

    “Things are going great, as planned,” he said. “The fans have been terrific.”

    Police also had to run off about 50 people who set up an illegal camp on Duggan Road in Bethel, said town Constable Ray Neuenhoff.

    “They got booted out this morning,” he said. “They were camping on private property and the owner wasn’t around.”

    The county opened up its emergency operations center at 6 p.m. to monitor countywide emergency responses. The center will open at the same time Saturday and Sunday.

    The biggest issue as of Friday evening was ongoing power outages in some areas from Thursday night’s storm, said Public Safety Commissioner Dick Martinkovic. “Everybody seems to be behaving,” he said of Phish concertgoers. “As long as they all behave, I think we’ll have a great weekend.”

  6. Hello Steven, I’m writing you about your comment: “Although it’s a hypothetical at this time, the big unknown with Phish would be whether it would attract the types of people city officials would want to see.” Perhaps you should read up on past Phish Festivals, including Superball IX in Watkins Glen, NY. A lot of the Phish fanbase has grown up, gotten jobs, and like to have a good time on vacation. That often includes sold out hotel rooms, visits to good restaurants, and drinking lots of good beer at the local bars. The economic impact of Phish fans is enormous, and the interaction with Phish fans is mostly postive. A simple google search will prove my point. Yes you will come across drug arrests, but at Watkins Glen, there were about 30 arrests out of 30,000 people who attended the festival.

  7. Indeed, your comments are spot on.

    I am one of those Phish fans who has grown up and gotten a job. Back in 1992, I toured with Phish on my college winter break, including shows at MSG and Boston Garden.

    In no way were my comments meant to slight Phish fans and certainly it was a broad stroke to paint, but city officials are very cognizant of types of visitors the bands will bring to town, and I am anxious to see if it’s true Phish is interested in coming to OC, whether the granola aspect of many Phish fans will be welcomed by the decision makers and the authorities.

    I’m rooting for it, as I still love Phish and nothing would make me happier than jamming to some Chalkdust Torture on the beach, but I have my doubts, specifically whether the band would be a part of an inaugural event such as this.

    We will keep you posted.

  8. I’ve seen Phish 30 times, driving 2 to 12 hours to each show. Now, I live in Ocean City, MD. I might be able to walk to a Phish show!!!

  9. It’s possible, no doubt, but town needs to approve and in the end the reality of it is Phish could host their own festival for 3 nights and have it just be them Whats the dram of OC? ease of walking up and just playing…no planning needed…idk

  10. Where would Phish play? The last major jamband to play OC was Ratdog on 8/9/05 at the convention center and cops were intolerable, not letting fans hang out in the parking lot or even sit in their cars!

  11. Honestly, I’d Try To Get The Bands “The Dean’s List” Back. They Were Amazing & Everyone Loved Them. Maybe Try Bands That The Teens Would Know Of Because Thats Who Is The Main Audience. Kid Cudi Was A Hit As Well. Many People Came Just To See Him Preform. Maybe Someone Like Mac Miller, Or Wiz Khalifa. They Would Get Thousands Of Kids To Come & Also Benefit The Shops On The Boardwalk Considering The Fact That They Advertise Their Names On Shirts, Hats, Sweatshirts Etc. The Older Bands May Get The Kids To Shy Away From The Dew Tour On Days That They Play. Just A Thought For Profit.

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