Phish Celebrates the New Year With 228 Fan Arrests

By Scott T. Sterling

Over the past few years, the American rave scene has been shadowed by the specter of illegal narcotics, with club drugs like Molly becoming more and more prevalent in the EDM-driven world. It was much more traditional rock scene at New York’s Madison Square Garden, however, when local police made 228 arrests at the first three of four Phish shows this week, with a majority of the offenses being related to drug possession and sales.

According to the New York Times, the drug haul outside of those three Phish shows (which culminated with an epic New Year’s Eve blowout) read like the chorus to Queens of the Stone Age‘s “Feel Good Hit of the Summer.” Mushrooms, hash, marijuana, MDMA (AKA molly), OxyContin and Xanax were all among the narcotics confiscated during the arrests.

For many music fans, Vermont jam band Phish have taken up where the Grateful Dead left off, combining virtuoso musicianship with heavy improvisation and whimsy. The band’s massive audience, known as “Phish heads,” has become known for drug use, which generated the thick police presence around Madison Square Garden over the band’s four-night stand. Phish has made playing MSG a recent New Year’s Eve tradition, beginning back in 2010.

While a majority of those arrested were given summonses or charged with misdemeanors, 10 have been tagged with felony offenses, primarily for selling drugs to undercover cops.

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