PHRE response to reports of violence at the Gorge

There are credible reports of two troubling incidents at the Gorge, which may or may not be related–but which are each unacceptable on their own and would be even worse if connected.

First, there is photographic evidence of the presence of people with swastika tattoos who may identify as Neo-Nazis.  These people may have been present to sell nitrous on the lot or simply to troll our community–either way, they espouse (through symbols and possibly through words and actual violence) a hateful ideology which makes our scene unsafe for anyone who is not a straight, white, Christian male.  The Phish scene strives to be open and loving and that means that people who espouse hate are not welcome among us.

Second, there are credible reports that one or more people were viciously assaulted, leading to serious injury, and that one or all of these victims are people of color.  Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our loving community and we phans will not stand for it. Violence against phans of color is especially disgusting as it adds an element of justified fear to an environment that can already be challenging for some phans due to the overwhelming whiteness of the crowd.

If these incidents are connected–that is, if Neo-Nazis have targeted people of color for violence at the heart of the Phish community–we cannot find the words to express how strongly we condemn this behavior and how resolved we are to fight back.

Please hear this message from our community:

-If you are a phan of color–or an LGBTQ phan, a disabled phan, a woman phan, a Muslim or Jewish or otherwise non-Christian phan: We are with you.  We welcome you with open arms and will stand by you in solidarity. We will not tolerate violence, harassment, or any other behavior that makes you feel as if this isn’t your community–because it is.

-If you are a racist, sexist, Neo-Nazi, homophobe, or other bigot: You are not welcome in our community. We don’t want you here; we don’t want to buy your drugs; we don’t want our fellow phans to experience the slightest fear for their safety during what should be among the safest, happiest experiences of their lives.  

As a community, we pledge to contribute to assisting the victim(s) of this assault and creating a solidarity brigade that will offer real-time backup and assistance to any phan who feels threatened or uncomfortable at any Phish show. Join us to participate in the conversation and take action at the “Phans for Racial Equity” group on Facebook.

Phans for Racial Equity (PHRE) promotes racial equity, social justice, and respect for difference within the Phish and greater jamband community and beyond. We are committed to promoting thoughtful engagement with these issues, so all members of our community feel welcome, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or dis/ability. Our goals are to facilitate dialogue and education within the Phish community about race and other issues; give people tools to build a more welcoming environment; and mobilize our community to make a difference on racial equity in the U.S. more broadly.

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