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Phish Works to Reduce Water Bottle Use at Festival 8

Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio of Phish at Festival 8 in Indio, California in 2009 (Photo: Tim Hurst)

Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio of Phish at Festival 8 in Indio, California in 2009 (Photo: ©Tim Hurst)

If you’ve ever stuck around after an open air rock show and witnessed the carnage that remains, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that the amount of plastic disposable water bottles left on the ground is staggering. Really, try it some time. Not only will you be able to relax after the show and avoid waiting in line at the exit, it will be a lesson in waste management.

Phish has tried to address this problem in an aggressive way with their innovative reusable water bottle program. At the recent 3-day Phish Festival 8 in Indio, California—attended by more than 40,000 people—if you had bought the $10 collectible Phish bottle you could refill it for free, or if you wanted to use your own bottle it cost you one buck for each fill.

“We’re doing our very best to abandon individual disposable water bottles backstage and in the front of the house,” said Matt Beck, Touring Director for Phish’s charitable organization, The WaterWheel Foundation. “We have refillable water programs for the fans on the concert grounds and all of crew have been issued water bottles and we use refillable water stations back stage as well.”

Indeed, at Festival 8 I noticed a much bigger push than I’ve seen before to get people to either use their own refillable water bottles or buy a collectible one and reuse it for the entire festival. The scale of the endeavor was truly impressive considering the number people there.

And, while all of that is clearly a great idea and well-intentioned, when it came to implementation I found that there were some major hiccups. (Continued…)

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