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Published: 2011/05/26

Yasgur’s Farm Campsite Shutdown Before Bethel Phish Shows

The ongoing dispute between the town of Bethel, NY and the owners of the Yasgur’s Farm campsite has finally come to an end. As many had predicted, the campground has closed its doors and have already begun turning people away.

Many fans heading to this weekend’s Phish performances in Bethel, NY were planning to stay at Yasgur’s Farm. The campground had charged campers $50 for entry, which also included access to performances by multiple bands. Fans who booked with Yasgur’s are encouraged to seek out alternative means of accommodation before heading to Bethel.

A message posted on Yasgur’s Farm owner Jeryl Abramson’s facebook page reads:

The standoff between The Town of Bethel and Yasgur Rd Productions has ended. They win. Upon reading quotes from town supervisor Daniel Sturm stating that the town intends to “hit us in our wallets” and after already receiving camping violations one week before people arrived, we know they mean business. The fines could be as much as $1,000 per violation, per parcel (there are 5), for the duration of the permit which is 14 days. That’s $70,000 for the two weeks of the permit plus the $25,000 for the contempt of court. That is if we only have one violation per day. The town would be able to then take a lien on our property if we were unable to pay within their timeframe.

The town has repeatedly encouraged us to open our doors to you at that price. In fact, Ms. Sheehan, the town clerk, has assured people that we will remain open visa vie my facebook page without even consulting me. They are so confident of getting their money, or should I say, our money.

We are very sorry for this fiasco. We assure you that everyone who paid will be reimbursed. I will begin that process next week and not rest until it’s done.

Phish will kick off its summer tour in Bethel, NY tomorrow.


There are 34 comments associated with this post

JDSept May 26, 2011, 20:10:55

Anybody going to see Phish, should drive through Bethel but not spend one dime. Hit them in their pocket books.

Oetowne May 26, 2011, 23:00:46

This royally sucks. Finding alternative camping will not be easy. I know people put a lot of planning into going and meeting up w/friends and family and camping together.

a phan May 26, 2011, 23:26:02

I have to admit that while I like to spend locally in the towns the host us, especially smaller communities, I will be thinking of this when I choose where my dollars will be spent. Increase in traffic is another result of this decision. Not impressed Bethel. I had plans on attending furthur as well but may now be reconsidering.

Jimmy Netsban May 27, 2011, 00:11:01

I think the town has been pretty up-front with the criteria, limiting the camping spots on property and people per spot. Looks to me that the folks at Yasgur’s were playing games using Phish fans as pawns and in the end the fans lose. You want to point blame, look at folks at Yasgurs for whipping this all up in direct defiance of the town ordinances.

Alyson Vaccacio May 27, 2011, 01:20:32

First off, Jimmy, Jeryl Abramson is a great woman and has lost money before doing this and obviously does it for the people. you do not know what you are talking about…

joe May 27, 2011, 02:14:24

Very poor planning… which ever party is at fault should not have waited until 1 day before the event to pull the plug. I have a feeling that after this weekend, they will allow Yasgur’s to accept as many campers as possible. The town will not enjoy having a thousand homeless fans sleeping in their yards…better to keep them contained (like on a farm)!

cowboy May 27, 2011, 07:46:48

we have about 6 carload of friends going. none of us are paying extra for camping. we are sleeping in our car in the town of bethel. without spending any MONEY in bethel

Spiral Light of Venus May 27, 2011, 08:09:42

Suggestion: 1. Google Bethel NY City Council.
2. Write down names of councilmembers.
3. Google councilmembers addresses.
4. Pitch tent on councilmembers lawn.
5. Problem solved.

phan May 27, 2011, 08:48:50

Be sure and let everyone know what you think of Bethel on their Facebook Page.

Joel May 27, 2011, 09:02:20

dear bethel, we are coming. you can’t stop us. we will sleep in your driveways on your front lawns, ha ha ha

zzyzx May 27, 2011, 09:32:00

I don’t see how Bethel is to blame here. These people have had past confrontations with the town and they knew what the deal was. They signed an agreement to not do exactly what they were doing for this campground. They figured though that they could just make their money through trying to create such a bad situation that Bethel would give in. If you’re trying to blackmail someone, don’t be surprised if they fight back.

Kdub May 27, 2011, 10:21:12

this is going to be a shitshow of a weekend for the town and all the heads, even more than usual. hopefully everything turns out for the best for everyone, but I’m glad I’m not heading out there. I’d hate to have to sleep in my car for 3 or 4 days because of this craziness…

charlie harper May 27, 2011, 11:05:02

Now you phishheads get to feel like deadheads,
everytime phish comes or the dead used to it brings upwards of $1,000,000 dollars to a community. DO NOT SPEND A PENNY THERE, GAS, FOOD, ANYTHING,

HELLBU0Y May 27, 2011, 11:19:16

... Coventry’d

phunkky May 27, 2011, 12:06:53

don’t spend money in bethel. they are to blame because there just isn’t any good reason to not allow folks to do what they want on their own property.

Womp womp womppppppp May 27, 2011, 12:49:15

Glad I booked kittatinny!

dan-o May 27, 2011, 14:27:20

what a total disaster in the making this is becoming. i am just going to show up and see what happens. i really have no backup plan. sometimes you can overplan these things.

Josh May 27, 2011, 14:58:47

There’s always Equinunk!

Audryanna May 27, 2011, 17:43:37

I am both embarrassed ( resident of Bethel) and appalled ( Phish fan) The greed and stubbornness of both parties have put residents and visitors at risk. This is an unnecessary potentially chaotic situation for the 3 days of the show. This is a stain on Yasgers and Bethel. I would hope that the Phans rise above as usual and show the bureaucrats how to behave and be human. I consider it a civic duty to help in this situation .Glad I got my camping permit !

Mutha Bob May 27, 2011, 22:37:17

I’ve been through this once or twice before. I can’t make this event, but if I could: I’d pitch MY tent on the front lawn of the Bethel town hall. I’m having a problem with: WHY didn’t the Gerry Organization know that if they were going to book Phish for a 3 day tour-opening set…They would attract the SAME 20,000 people for all 3 days. And that those people would have to STAY somewhere? Preferably in Bethel? And spend MONEY in Bethel? I’m guessing that the various merchants in Bethel are flush, because they don’t seem to need the economic stimulus that 20,000 people staying for 3 days would bring. Jayzzz, I sure wish that I could walk away from THAT kind of money just to keep some long-hairs out of town. Damn hippies. But no.

Marie Robertson May 29, 2011, 15:53:42

As stated by Jimmy N above, this has been an ongoing situation between the folks as Yasgurs and the town of Bethel. Phans have now unfortunately been put in the middle of it all. They never should have offered the camping to the phans and taken their money in the first place. Yes, indeed the phans were used as pawns in hopes that they would force the town’s hand. Those promises of reserved space were made knowing full well that they were outside their rights. Shame on them for taking people’s money and now leaving them high and dry at last minute looking for ‘other accommodations’.

trish May 29, 2011, 17:56:40

what a shame. i really feel the bethel woods performing arts center ruined everything this area used to stand for. now the greed and hypocrisy has taken over.
a shame

DAN-O May 30, 2011, 14:39:31

Having just gotten back from Bethel I can say that all the complaining and whining is a pile of garbage. The town is totally cool. There was plenty of camping within walking distance of the venue, people were partying everywhere, no one was being hassled by cops or security, the venue is absolutely beautiful and the staff is polite and friendly. Yes, it all costs money. Beer and water inside is a bit pricey, but what do you think keeps the venue is such unbelievable shape? Anyway, people are partying there all day long. If you want to catch a cheep buzz do it before you get into the show and then just have a few when you get in. And again, there is plenty of cheep beer in the parking lot after the show. IMO the town of Bethel has kept faith as best as can be expected with its history. The Yasgur’s confilct seems to be some kind of local grudge. Beyond the headlines, I don’t see how the experience was in any way negatively effected. THANK YOU BETHEL, IT WAS PLEASURE SPENDING A FEW DAYS IN YOUR TOWN. I WILL DEFINITELY RETURN.

Mike May 31, 2011, 12:19:43

I’ve lived all over the country-every Aug., for my birthday (aug13) I’ve made it back to woodstock to celebrate it’s anniversary. I’ve been doing this for 25 years,since 1986,when you could show up on the original site & have a picnic and if you were lucky someone would show up and play a guitar. then the people just started coming and the cops came, and the bulldozers, and the chicken shit, etc. etc. etc. Thats when roy and jeryl open their property to the people , the other part of max’s farm. they did it for the people !!!!!!
Don’t you think they deserve some compensation for the bands, the use of their land, facilitys, etc.
Now as for the town of bethel(GOD LAND) I’ve lived everywhere, see everything, and nowhere in my travels have i ever seen a town or government be so irresponsible to it’s constituents. You used to see all kinds of signs up & down 17B saying welcome back woodstockers, all the townspeople happy to see the town thrive. Yet the government denys it’s people of this opportunity. 1989, the people came, the cops came ,there was an eclipce of the moon that night, and my lawyer was telling me i was the first person arrested at the 20th anniversary party.SO I’VE SEEN THE GOV’T. AT WORK FIRST HAND! Anyway as the years went on it got harder and harder th gather on the original site. That’s when roy and jeryl opened their land to the people and THEIR troubles began! CALL THE AUTHORITIES IN BETHELFLOOD THEIR PHONE LINES WITH COMPLAINTS- DON’T STOP- LIKE ARLO WOULD SAYTHEY MIGHT CONSIDER IT A MOVEMENT”“ THE YASGAR’S FARM FREEDOM MOVEMENT” Well all I was doing was looking for a website that would let me know what to expect at woodstock this year . I quess i found out. Phish phans I quess there’s always HECTORS (the bar across the street).
NEVER STOP GOING TO BETHEL,don’t spend any money,but NEVER STOP GOING!!!
Maybe some day the towns people will get the hint & get their town back from the tyrants.
As far as the original site – It was perfect the way it was. The original fence was torn down – so should all of the fence along with the entire bethel woods complex. they have desecratedGOD’S LAND.

Cleeet May 31, 2011, 13:32:51

COPS WILL BE EVERYWHERE, JUST LIKE ALPINE VALLEY IN WISCO KILLED THE FUN OF PHISH, BETHEL IS DOING THE SAME. Yeah. Except they weren’t. Minimal arrests, and all I saw cops doing in the venue was directing traffic and helping people. Don’t blame the people of Bethel for this Yasgurs fiasco. As xxyz points out, there’s a lengthy backstory with these folks. it’s not just pick-on-Phish-phans time.

dan-o May 31, 2011, 13:54:18

The funny thing about all these “don’t spend any money in bethel” posts is there is almost nowhere to spend money in bethel even if you wanted to. What is there besides the venue? The dancing cat saloon is about all there is, and being the only place right by the venue, I can guarantee that it will always do well when there is a show in town. Other than that, to spend any money you gotta get in your car and head towards monticello. In fact, I actually wish that there were more places to spend my money in Bethel. I love the town. The Arts Center is top notch in all aspects. There was plenty of camping within walking distance of the venue. the cops didn’t hassle anyone. Quit being so bitter people.

peanut butter May 31, 2011, 16:50:06

I just got back last night. what an unbelievable weekend. We went up with tents and a change of clothes. No plans whatsoever. We pull into this small town and get breakfast at a dive. The people were so nice to us and the meal cost 4 dollars a person with tip included. Then I went to a tag sale and got 5 really cool antiques for 5 bux total. we were 3 miles from the venue on 17 and saw a flea market down a hill with some camping tents set up.. pulled in and it was a few small hills and a cool little barn. some young girl greeted us and for 60 bux we got access to parking and camping for the weekend. these people were awesome. they let like 100 people camp on their property and they had food, water, wood, and showers available. they let us do whatever the fuck we wanted to and everyone had an amazing time. Also had bbq from the truck at the flea market across from the gas station.. best pulled pork ever, and the guys running it were really cool. I spent about 100 bucks in Bethel and I would gladly do it again Also I talked to a bunch of locals and people who worked at the venue. They all said we were the best fans they have ever had up there and that they hope more music with these kinds of fans start coming to bethel more often. They said we were all respectful, fun, and clean. i think thats pretty cool.. Good Job Everyone!!!

ann June 1, 2011, 12:06:34

As a Bethel native, I am embarrassed of this whole mess. I do urge you all to support our local businesses as most of the locals do not feel this way. I have fond memories of the get-togethers at Yasgur’s Farm from childhood and it’s just a shame that they can no longer take place. Please don’t blame the people of Bethel for our shitty local politics.

halle June 1, 2011, 12:15:33

Don’t support Bethel Woods. It is the antithesis of everything that Woodstock was about. I’ve lived in Bethel all my life and I love it with all my heart but Bethel Woods has destroyed the spirit of the ’69 festival, exploiting it for all it’s worth. They should have kept the open fields and never developed. Bethel Woods caters to a very specific crowd, making the venue virtually inaccessible to locals. Fuck Bethel Woods.

jsg June 1, 2011, 20:11:21

oh, i remember woodstock like it was yesterday.
Max and his wife were so sweet. inviting us in for a bath and supper. and a game of twister.
it’s a shame what’s become of this world.

Harley Guy June 4, 2011, 04:00:45

The town officials of Bethel, NY wouldn’t know how to treat people with humanity and respect if they tripped over it. It’s about the green alright, but Yasgur’s is not making any significant money off the deal, if you do the math ! Not at $50 for a 3 day festie with live bands. The town officials are acting as if they are in bed with Bethel Woods. This is NOT the end of Max Yasgur’s Farm ! It’s only the beginning ! Long live the farm !

Bally June 5, 2011, 10:49:26

For those quick to point the finger at the current owners of Max Yasgur’s old place, I’d remind you of two important points: Firstly, Max copped loads of shit from both ‘red-neck’ locals and town officials for doing essentially the same as what the Howards have tried to do more recently and nobody’s in any doubt about who we have to thank for the outcomes of ’69 (it certainly wasn’t the red-necks and bureaucrats). Secondly, Jerry Hector is doing much the same thing just down the road (Dr Duggan Rd, to be precise) and just as illegally as the Howards, yet he gets away with it time and again. Now, I’d be the last to criticize Jerry for what he’s doing because anyone who’s been to his place knows that he has a long history of catering to those who gather each year to celebrate the anniversary of Woodstock. However, it’s blatantly obvious that for reasons that can only be considered sinister in the absence of an explanation from the county, the Howards have been singled out for mistreatment that others are strangely able to avoid. To all those groveling sycophants who can’t say enough in praise of the powers-that-be in Sullivan County: wake up and know that it wasn’t a bunch of cow-towing crawlers who made the USA what it is. Max stood up to the nay-sayers and we got the Woodstock Music and Art Fair as a result. The Howards are trying to continue on in that spirit, so get behind ‘em and stand up to the ‘man’, people.

69ragtop August 2, 2011, 22:27:42

I can’t believe what they’ve done to my field, my mecca, my sanctuary. The last time I was there was 1999 as well as the year before. I camped both times on Howards’ ( Yasgurs ) farm with no issues and was always treated well by locals and guests alike. So what is this I am reading ? I know I might be a little behind the times with current events involving the site, the farm and the town of Bethel because I started a family and that totally preoccupied me, but to have missed all the change in what seems like a flash ? Wow !!!!! I was hoping to drive the 8 hrs with my son and camp for a couple of days on the farm and walk with him to where I truly feel the most at peace and explain to him exactly what went on and why it was so important to people then, now and into his future. I haven’t totally written it off yet, but for now, I guess we/he will have to settle for the movie. Peace to all and be well. Lets not forget the true meaning of Woodstock and try to live the rest of our days in that vibe.

love woodstock August 8, 2011, 06:52:32

The funny thing is Max Yasgur didn’t let anyone ruin his plan’s with Elliot Tibber for the Main 1969 concerts and why should it now. The way that this world is today people need to relax and have fun and not worry about bull- they all said that it would be bad in 1969 and nothing never happened.. But now the town of WOODSTOCK want’s to take credit for the name in which they never wanted to have the festival there to begin with and that’s wrong. Bethel is where the music and the camping was and where it all happened and that’s the way it should still be….

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