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Published: 2002/02/20

Phunky Bitches

This month we’ve selected Phunky Bitches, www.phunky.com, a site that serves as a support network for women in our comunity. Here are some comments from the site’s webmistress, Tara Fowler…
The History:
The Phunky Bitches (www.phunky.com) was founded as a network of about 25 people, mostly women from rec.music.phish., on December 17, 1997. We’ve had an incredibly productive and exciting four years full of a lot of learning, shows, gatherings, community service, and foundation-building. We now have close to 2,000 subscribed members and almost half a million hits on our website. When we started out we never imagined we would grow as large as we have! We are represented in all 50 states and 7 countries. In 2001 we registered with the state of Virginia as Phunky.Com, LLC. We run strictly on members donations and an all-volunteer team.
The Site:
Phunky.com (named after a Son Seals song "Funky Bitch" that Phish covers) started as a 4 page site with information on how to join us, our policies, our members, and our statement of purpose. It has grown to well over 200 pages with information ranging from how to make a killer veggie burrito, raising kids, IRC chat, book reviews, site awards, recommended links, photo albums, events calendar, gathering information, community service reviews, search engine, free web based email (@phunkybitches.com), tape trading resources, and our most popular feature: the discussion boards! On the discussion boards you can do everything from find a ride to a show to ask what is the best way to cure a sunburn. It’s all broken down into 10 categories and 70 forums. Some of the more sensitive forums are password protected for members-only.
Community:
During the past 4 years, we initiated many programs to complete the goals we set out with. Everything from raising and donating money to worthy causes to pairing "big sisters" with "little sisters". But our most popular, and most needed, "anchoring" program has been immensely well-received. Anchors print out and hand out fliers at shows that have a short introduction of who we are and information on local hospitals, cab companies, NORML lawyers, women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, suicide prevention services, veterinarians, optometrists, and domestic violence centers. Anchors also carry supplies to hand out to those in need: condoms, tampons, earplugs, bandaids, disinfectant, aspirin, baby wipes, tissues and other helpful items. Most of these item are also put into "zip lock baggies" which are placed in the bathrooms at venues. We can also arrange "safe rides" to women who have been assaulted or abandoned on tour. Many members wear laminated ID cards and have bumper stickers on their cars with our "pb" logo. These two items are necessary in identifying ourselves to those in need. In addition, a setbreak and aftershow meeting spot is listed on all our fliers (depending on the venue of course).
This all started out as a strictly "Phish concert" program, but as demand grew and our members diversified we quickly started "anchoring" other bands. Since Phish has been on hiatus (and before), we have anchored successfully Terrapin Presents events (such as Gathering of the Vibes, The Summit, etc – with a booth off the main concert field), Phil and Friends, Trey, JMP, Oysterhead, Ratdog, Ani, Vida Blue, Berkfest, Disco Biscuits, moe., All Good Fest, and numerous other bands/festivals.
Members all over the country have held local gatherings to meet each other, and in 1999 a national gathering was held in Missouri. Some regions, such as Boston, seem to meet every weekend! We encourage gatherings so that as many PB’s from across the country can meet each other and have a chance to work face-to-face on our future goals.
The lifetime friendships, job opportunities, roommates, and even marriages that have been formed because of the Phunky Bitches are too numerous to mention – but continue to be our proudest accomplishments.
We wish to thank everyone in the Jamband community, especially the on-line community, for helping us learn about ourselves and what is most needed and wanted within the community. We look forward to many more years of serving our fellow fans and making shows as fun and as safe as they should be!

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