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Crowd converges on downtown Reading for sold-out Phish concert

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:40:50 PM CST
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 04:59:54 PM CDT

A party on Penn Street in downtown Reading was underway hours before the rock band Phish was set to take the stage for a sold-out concert inside the Santander Arena.

READING, Pa. -

Phish fans have taken over center city Reading.

The band is set to play a sold-out show at the Santander Arena Tuesday night.

That means about 8,500 fans are filling up the streets and parking garages, but the city has brought out an extra police presence and the Reading Parking Authority is charging extra for the parking garages in anticipation of any problems they might run into with that many fans. 

"Phish is one of the greatest bands in the world and we are so lucky we get to see them all the time. They bring us to all parts of the country that we would never see otherwise," said fan Erin Dean.

Phish fans and vendors are out in full force on Penn Street. 

"I love it. It is our experience all summer. We generate enough income to make it in the show and make it to every other show all summer," said vendor Jack Murray.

But with more than 8,500 fans comes the necessity for extra manpower and cleanup. That is why the parking authority is charging a flat fee of $12 per space.

"There is a significant amount of cleanup that is required after a concert like this, so we have extra personnel in for cleanup, and we have provided porta-potties and dumpsters," said Patrick Mulligan, the parking authority's executive director.

But fans are not too concerned about the extra fee.

"It is like nothing," said Dean.

"Yea, we feel like $12 is very reasonable. It is a bargain," said fan Kerry Wesneski.

Despite the Phish takeover, the parking authority plans to clean the parking garages through the night to make sure there is no visible trace of concert fans come morning.

"They deserve a clean facility when they arrive tomorrow morning, so we hope to have everything cleaned up prior to opening for our first customer at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning," said Mulligan.

Reading police also have additional officers monitoring the arena area.

In every town Phish travels to, the band picks a local charity to donate some of the show's proceeds to. This time, the Greater Berks Food Bank will be getting some of the profit.