Update: Developments on May 17th
The town of Bethel and Yasgur’s Farm are working to rectify the situation as previously described. Per the article in the Times Herald Record “Sturm said the town will allow Howard and Abramson — and other homeowners with temporary camping permits — to have as many as 10 people per campsite. That means Roy and Jeryl can have 250 people on their property that weekend. The town is allowing one additional campsite per parcel than town code allows.” While this explains where 250 people of the 1000+ will be able to stay, Sturm does go on to say that in the Sullivan County-Democrat that ““We did not mention nor request cancellation of camping,” Sturm pointed out. In fact, he added, “the Town of Bethel is not requiring the cancellation of anything”” which reflects a change in position from over the weekend.
With an influx of fans and the potential for a situation that could have gotten out of control, this is a positive development that lessens the possibility of problems that could have developed from fans being turned away. While the issue of the $25,000 fine stands for Roy and Jeryl to deal with, it is better to know that fans will have their reservations honored and that we will all get IN.
If you are heading to Bethel next week for the Phish shows and staying at Yasgur’s Farm campground, you might want to look into another place to stay. The owners of Yasgur’s Farm, Roy Howard and Jeryl Abramson to pay a $25,000 fine for violating a signed 2007 agreement that forbids a mass gathering on their property. And it looks like no camping will be allowed on the grounds over the Memorial Day Weekend, let alone the late night post-Phish shows that have been announced for the past two months, reports a source familiar with the events surrounding the brewing debacle.
In 2006, in order to stave off a continuing legal battle with the Town of Bethel, Roy and Jeryl signed an agreement that they would have no mass gatherings on their property without proper permits or face a $25,000 fine. Past history dating back to the 1980s suggests a fragile at best relationship with the Town of Bethel highlighted with issues surrounding the Woodstock reunions held each August on Yasgur’s Farm.
Fans who signed up for the festival had no idea this was happening behind the scenes are in a sticky situation to find a place to stay in an area devoid of local hotels and campgrounds with accessibility to the venue with reasonable limits. Fans are already staying as far away as Pennsylvania in the sprawling rural southern-Catskill area that has not been seen as an attractive tourist destination beyond the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and concerts at Bethel Woods, opened in 2006. Phish is possibly the first multi-night event at the venue and with the influx of fans that are expected, including a sold out show on Saturday, the situation between the Town of Bethel and Roy and Jeryl has come to a head and affects the fans who booked their reservations unknowing that they would be voided by the town mere days before their expected arrival.
If you are one of the 1000+ paid reservations for camping at Yasgur’s Farm, you will not be allowed to camp there and need to find a new place to camp immediately. This is real and happening, according to a source close to the events unfolding in Bethel. Fans who arrive on 5/26 will not be allowed to camp at Yasgur’s Farm unless some deal is reached between the owners and the Town of Bethel, but that is far from likely. There are better odds of Phish playing a Disco Biscuits song acapella than a deal being struck.
If you had a reservation at Yasgur’s Farm and paid through Paypal, request a refund from jeryla at cox.net. If you do not receive a refund, file a dispute with Paypal to expedite the return of money. One refund has already been processed so at least there is hope others will.
For more information on the situation at Yasgur’s Farm, read this article from the Times Herald-Journal