WATKINS GLEN, NY – We had a chance today to chat with WGI president Michael Printup shortly after Phish made the announcement for “Super Ball IX” at Watkins Glen International Speedway.
He was on his way back from NYC to Watkins Glen and was gracious enough to speak with us about the process that led up to booking Phish, what needs to be done between now & the festival, and some reflection on his recent tweets leading up to the announcement.
JG = Johnny Goff
MP = Michael Printup
JG – First of all, congrats on the announcement Mike. Can you briefly explain the process and how this whole thing came to fruition?
MP â€“ The whole thing wouldn’t have been possible without (Watkins Glen International Senior Marketing Director) Brett Powell. He rocked the world. It was his idea. When I got here in â€˜09 Brett was trying to put together some shows and we ran across some obstacles. Â I had come across some of the same obstacles at Michigan (Speedway) so when Brett and I met here at The Glen, it was a great marriage because it was super important that we get the relationship down first and then find the band. We got real lucky with Coran Capshaw and his group. Coran picked up the Phish side of it and it couldnâ€™t really be a happier day here in 2011.
JG â€“ How did it get whittled down to just Phish vs. other bands?
MP -Â Originally, we were looking at few other options, a few other genres or styles of music that could be represented at The Glen. Maybe, we were thinking, this whole thing could be Coachella-like, or Bonnaroo-like, but we all decided we didn’t want to go that direction to start things off here, so with Brett working side by side w/ CoranÂ and his group and Richard (Glasgow) and whittling it down.
It was truly a natural process of who was going be touring and who could we get that Fourth of July weekend because that was the date that was open. We where kind of working a little backwards on this but ultimately Â Phish was ready to accommodate the dates so it worked out perfectly for all of us.
JG- Whatâ€™s left to tackle going forward on a permit and municipal side between now and July 1st?
MP â€“ Sit down and listen to a lot of good music. (laughter) No. Really, I wish I could honestly do that, but thereâ€™s absolutely a ton of work to be done between now and then and we know that.
From a municipality point of view, we have to submit the application to the county. But the best thing about it from our perspective is what we have to show that we are ready.Â From the bathrooms to water to safety to health regulations to police and security but you know John, the good thing is we do this all time with a little less than 100,000 people up there so for us to do this, Watkins Glen, working their group, makes it a lot easier when you have that kind of experience so weâ€™ll do the right thing and show the county and the community that weâ€™re doing this the right way and weâ€™ll be ready to rock and roll.
JG â€“ Lastly, I know youâ€™re busy and have to run, but Iâ€™d remissed If I didn’t touch on your recent social media prowess. So, why did you tease phans via twitter and what was the response you got back?
MP â€“ I was told the night before they were going to release the info about the festival that Friday morning, so I thought, O.k., ya know, we know they were in the process of trying to get through a few things, like the (SuperBall IX) logo that came out today and they kept us up to speed that it was their announcement all along, but Brett and I were messing with it, and we were being told they were going to release that so I threw that tweet out there, kind of being a smartass, and I probably shouldnâ€™t have. Well, actually, I know I shouldnâ€™t have. But I tried to cover my trail but it didnâ€™t go so well John, ya know? After the first newspaper called me and asked me about it, I said, â€œIâ€™m a terrible speller but that didnâ€™t fly too well eitherâ€¦so…
JG â€“ Readers of Bands That Jam are the phanbase so is there anything youâ€™d like to say to the actual phanbase specifically?
MP â€“ Well, you know what, Thank you so much for all the support. I know there were some people out there that were anxious and upset. Sometimes at me. You know, we all know Phish does the releases, venues do not so we knew that so I was nervously anticipating people getting mad at me and they did. But at this point, all of that is over. Thankfully! (laughing) We got the show folks! At the end of the day, we are going to have some great shows. Thanks for all the following and we will talk the next time we tweet.