HAMPTON,Va. (WAVY) - Tens of thousands of people are in Hampton to see the band Phish rock the Hampton Coliseum this weekend. Fire officials say so far there have been at least seven 911 calls for drug-related emergencies.
Phish is in town for three days, performing a trio of shows, but fans told 10 On Your Side the event is a lot more than just a concert.
"The music, that is why we are here, but it's more than the music -- it's community," said Phish fan Kyle Harris. "It's community, definitely."
To the Phish community, the shows at the Coliseum hold a special meaning. The venue, known to Phish fans as "The Mothership," was the place where the band recorded its five-CD album "Hampton Comes Alive" and where the group performed the first reunion shows after a five-year touring break.
Phish has given concerts at the Coliseum 15 times since 1995, and fans say describing all that comes with the concerts is difficult to put into words.
"It's Phish," Harris said. "It can't be contextualized. You can't duplicate it. It's Phish. it's original."
Dozens of vendors travel with the band and have set up a food area known to fans as "Shakedown Street" near the Coliseum.
"T's beyond, it's like an adult playground -- that's the best way to describe it," said Harris. "We're all of age, all having a good time."
However, the festival isn't without it's troubles. The last time Phish was at the Coliseum in 2009, 200 people were arrested, and police seized $1.2 million in drugs. This year, Hampton fire officials tell WAVY.com there have already been at least seven calls for people at the concert who are unconscious due to drug overdose.
Police say they expect there will be some arrests this year, but their ultimate goal isn't to put a damper on the fun.
"Our joint mission is to not only enforce the law, but more so to ensure patrons have a safe and enjoyable experience," said Sgt. Jason Price with the Hampton Police .
The police division has created a command center with state troopers, Newport News police officers, and agents from the state alcohol and beverage control to maintain that mission.
So many people are in town for the shows, police are also warning residents about heavy traffic in the city.
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