What you need to know about Phish at SPAC, including a Map and Post-show info

This was originally posted for the June 2010 Phish shows at SPAC. With a few tweaks, some updates and punctuation improvements, here is what you need to know about going to SPAC for Phish during July 3-5, 2014.


First things first, follow UpstateLIVE on Twitter for helpful hints will abound throughout the weekend. We’ll be on location all weekend sharing: traffic info, park updates ( and keeping fans aware of the police presence. In 2013, Saratoga officials announced a crackdown on alcohol and intoxicated people in the state park known as SPA, which includes SPAC. In the past, there has always been a lot of chatter preceding the summer concert season at SPAC regarding the increased police presence and no-alcohol policy (with ticket enforcement and arrest potential). In 2013, beers that were visible in the bottle were confiscated and someone ended up with an incredible supply of heady brews. Don’t treat SPAC lots as a free for all – this is a New York State Park and State Troopers roam the grounds, not local police. 

You’ll need this – the map of Saratoga Spa State Park. It is VERY easy to get lost, as you can quite easily wind up walking around for an hour looking for the lot your car is in, or altogether become disoriented. Download PDF: SPAC Map

In the interest of making sure everyone knows what has been the norm in the past, whether you have been here before or not, keep in mind a few things:

State Troopers : Younger fans, keep the alcohol under lock and key, as alcohol sensors have been used in the past. If they see you drinking, they’ll dip in a stick detector for alcohol into the drink and then they can search you. Arcane? Yes. Illegal? Possibly. Outlandish and Insane? Indeed. Don’t stress, just play it smart! This comes from people who have been there and people who work there. Use your heads.

Hotels have also been given a contact number to call if they suspect drug use. So be careful when you are pre-gaming at the hotel or getting back and trying to enjoy the post-show scene or get some sleep.

Post show, there will be checkpoints for drunk driving and K-9 units for the obvious. Don’t leave the park without a sober driver and when you do, drive the speed limit, the cops need only a small reason to pull you over, either on Route 9, Route 50, I-87 or the small towns north and south of Saratoga.

While in town….


Post shows, there are a couple of options right in Saratoga for those who want to keep the party going and are equipped with a designated driver to keep it going till the sun comes up.
The Putnam Den has fast become the premier live music venue in Saratoga, after SPAC. There are three late night shows, one for each night of Phish and only TWO miles from SPAC! Plus, there are more shows each night at The Parting Glass, literally a 0.3 mile walk from Putnam Den. Both venues feature incredible music and a discount if you buy passes to both post-shows each night.

You can find all the info on the post-shows here, but in short, here are your choices for post-Phish music:
July 3rd – Lucid at Putnam Den
July 4th – Waylon Speed at The Parting Glass
July 4th – Twiddle at Putnam Den
July 5th – Formula 5 at The Parting Glass
July 5th – Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at Putnam Den

The address of The Putnam Den is 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. For more info on each of the shows, visit the Putnam Den website www.putnamden.com

See you all at SPAC!

11 thoughts on “What you need to know about Phish at SPAC, including a Map and Post-show info”

  1. Hi-

    Went to the 6/4 DMB show. Troopers are uniformed (no hats)- but watch for additional plained clothed cops who will enter in-between parked cars. They can be spotted wearing black polos and Khakis .

    A park pickup drives down the isle that serves as recepticle for cooler contents. The truck is flanked by minimum 2 cops. Tickets issued on site to minors.
    Premier parking was not harrassed the way the typical lot on the other side of Rt 50 was.

    Boycott alcohol sales inside the venue.

  2. Saturday will be my 1st concert at SPAC. I heard about the crackdown from a Saratoga resident. Called SPAC yesterday – they say a lot of phans hang out in Spa Park before the show – is this true? I’ll take the family there, see what’s what. Kids are 20 and 17. This will be their 1st Phish show. They’re even more psyched than we are!

    1. Yeah take them to Ballston Spa State Park, adjacent to SPAC and chill at Peerless Pools. You can’t swim in the pool, but this will directly connect you with the trail system leading you through the springs to SPAC. Very cool and woodsy. Many bbq next to their car or attempt to find a pavillion if they get there early enough. Lots to explore at SPAC. Beautiful interior woods along the spring trails and lush green fields surrounded by classic architecture.

      The alcohol checks were similar in 2010. Don’t be careless or obnoxious, and you should be all set. What kind of alcohol sensor do they use though? X-ray vision? I’ve never heard of this? They look right in your car and there’s lots of police for sure.

      And seriously, remember where you parked. Enjoy! Gonna be a fun time!!

  3. Easy Solution, Go to the Show Sober and enjoy the MUSIC! You will have No Worries and will be able to find your car. You can always party when you get home.

  4. Best to get a good buzz before you get there. Downtown saratoga and the surrounding cities have a plethora of bars and restaurants to get ya swilly!

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  7. Listen – if you’re in the park and you’re being responsible (beers/drinks in Solo cups) and aren’t making a general mess of your area, they’ll leave you alone. Bring some chairs, set up shop by the stream and enjoy the park. Easy day. I also second the boycott on inside alcoholic bevs – $11-$13 for a 22oz? Insane.

    Enjoy the shows.

  8. SPAC is a great place to see Phish, one of my favorites. As outlined above, be a little careful on the lot and you’ll have no problems.

    WATCH THE SPEED TRAPS IN THE SMALL TOWNS OUTSIDE SARATOGA. I got totally boned a half hour away from the park after N3 last year. The cops are definitely out on patrol.

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