Selectmen vote 3-2 to forgo fine for late concert
MANSFIELD - Phish is off the hook.
Selectmen have decided not to fine the Comcast Center $850 for the jam band's late-running show this month, in part out of deference to the unregimented nature of improvisational rock.
"It was Phish," said Selectman Kevin Moran, who showed a detailed knowledge of the band's lineup and sound. "They have 26-minute songs. This is a band that does its thing."
The June 7 Phish concert at the Comcast Center went precisely three minutes past the 11 p.m. cutoff time in the venue's license with the town, which includes a schedule of fines for late finishes.
Comcast Center General Manager Bruce Montgomery said when the band's final encore, which started several minutes before 11 o'clock, spiraled into one solo too many, stage managers tried to get the band to wrap up. "The bands are not such military-time people," Montgomery said.
But Montgomery said in the Comcast Center's long history in Mansfield, town officials have often overlooked minor overages, especially in years when they are relatively rare.
"In the past, the board has said, 'A couple of minutes: How strict does it have to be?" Montgomery said of so-called "mulligans."
The idea of waiving the fine did not sit well with Selectman George Dentino, who questioned the precedent it would set.
"I don't think we want to be in the position of waiving something that is in the agreement," he said.
But in the end the board voted 3-2 in favor of tearing up the fine, with Chairman Jess Aptowitz and Douglas Annino joining Moran in support. Aptowitz said he was happy with the way the Comcast Center handled traffic and parking at the historically chaotic annual Jimmy Buffett concert last week.
"I was at Jimmy Buffett, and it was very controlled: organized mayhem," he said.
Selectman Olivier Kozlowski also checked in on the Buffett show, but had a different view.
"The Margaritaville golf cart was having a hell of a time getting through," Kozlowski said. "I can only imagine if an emergency vehicle had to get through."
Despite the late finish, this year's Phish show was in some ways less eventful than last year, when a Connecticut man running from police got lost in the sewer system for two days.