Phish concerts raise more than $3.5 million for flood relief in Vermont and New York

Original article posted on Burlington Free Press by Brent Hallenbeck on Aug 29, 2023.

The biggest band to come out of Vermont raised more than $3.5 million over the weekend with two concerts set up to help with the recovery from devastating floods in Vermont and New York this summer.

Phish, the jam-rock band that began at the University of Vermont in 1983, played a pair of fundraising concerts Aug. 25 and 26 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in New York state. Money raised from the in-person shows, as well as the worldwide livestream and merchandise sales, will go toward Phish’s charitable organization, The WaterWheel Foundation, to help those in Vermont and upstate New York who were hit hard by flooding in July.

According to a news release from the band’s publicist, WaterWheel’s flood-recovery fund will work with the Vermont Community Foundation and similar organizations in New York to benefit flood victims and their families as well as businesses and nonprofit organizations.

When Vermont was hit by major flooding in 2011 after Tropical Storm Irene, Phish played a benefit concert at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. SPAC, with an amphitheater as well as a spacious lawn, can hold up to 25,000 concertgoers, or more than double the capacity of the grandstand at the Exposition.

Flood victims face ‘ongoing struggle’

The SPAC shows included music from Phish both nights, with pre-show acoustic sets with band members Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio. Guitar player Derek Trucks joined the band at the Aug. 26 performance.

Phish is still encouraging donations for the flood-recovery fund.

“The joy in the room at these concerts was undeniable,” McConnell, who lives in Burlington, said in the news release. “But for the people affected by the flooding, it is an ongoing struggle. That’s why we are continuing to accept donations, raise awareness and distribute the funds.”

Donations are being accepted at

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