Consolation: Turned-away Phish fans due $$

Fans who were turned away by police because of muddy conditions at the site of the final Phish festival August 14-15 will be offered a refund.

Dave Werlin, president of the concert promoter Great Northeast Productions, said it troubled him that drivers who obeyed police by turning around and leaving missed the concert only to learn that many other fans reached the site by parking and walking.

Police decided to turn fans away from the site after organizers considered canceling or postponing the show but then determined that cutting off cars would be a better choice, Werlin said.

Unredeemed tickets, with stub attached, should be sent by mail to the ticket company from which they were purchased. One of the two ticket sellers– the Coran Capshaw-owned, Crozet-based Musictoday– has every intention of offering disappointed Phans a refund with no hassle.

"One of our missions is to delight the client, delight the customer," says Musictoday Chief Operating Officer Del Wood. "We're very good at doing that and taking care of them." And while Wood says there may be instances where "we make a mistake or drop the ball," he adds, "we really bend over backwards to make things right."

An estimated 65,000 fans attended the festival in Coventry, Vermont. Werlin said he doesn't know how many people were there; a count of scannable ticket stubs will eventually provide an accurate count.

Those who purchased tickets from Phish Tickets should send them to Phish Tickets, attention Customer Service, Box 1911, Charlottesville, 22903.

Those who bought tickets from Ticketmaster should send them to: Customer Service, P.O. Box 62429, Virginia Beach, 23466-2429.

People who did not pick up tickets being held at will-call will automatically get a full refund.

–by the Associated Press and the Hook's Courteney Stuart


 CHO loses Pittsburgh but gains more jets

 A national cost-cutting plan by USAirways results in axing direct service between Charlottesville and Pittsburgh, but a Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) spokesperson says the financially troubled carrier will probably actually increase its total local service with additional coverage to Charlotte.

"They can't just drop service," says CHO spokesperson Terrie Dean, "because then they'll lose the passenger traffic they've been able to see and appreciate here."

Dean says USAirways' Charlottesville passenger traffic has jumped 27 percent in the past year, helping the airport reach record levels. In the post-9/11 world, Dean explains, regional airports have seen their popularity rise as many travelers feel safer avoiding big metropolitan airports.

USAirways, which has been struggling to avoid another bankruptcy, announced the cuts August 12. On November 7, Charlottesville joins 19 other cities– including Roanoke and Lynchburg– losing service to Pittsburgh, the embattled carrier's third-largest hub.

On August 4, United Express upgraded its three daily flights to Dulles Airport from turbo-props to jets. And Dean says that, in October, USAirways will likewise upgrade at least three flights between Charlottesville and Charlotte to jet service– and may add additional flights to serve the burgeoning Charlottesville market.

"It's kind of a no-brainer for them," says Dean.–Hawes Spencer