Phish — a Vermont-founded jam band — has been focusing on fighting for racial equity in the jam band scene for awhile. Now its volunteer group, Phans for Racial Equity (PHRE), has been announced as the next Dinner And A Movie (DAAM) beneficiary to help aid in its efforts.
According to a press release shared with AfroTech, PHRE will receive all funds donated to its WaterWheel Foundation in concert with the next Dinner And A Movie (DAAM) livestream scheduled for Tuesday, June 29.
“We want to thank Phish and WaterWheel for recognizing both the importance of focusing on racial equity in our own community and the opportunity to mobilize thousands of fans to take action through their love of live music,” Malcolm Howard — founding member of PHRE’s Board of Directors — said in a statement. “Black people face constant threats to our safety, and our community must speak out and get involved. As Phish’s song Rift states, ‘silence contagious in moments like these.’”
DAAM was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help better connect fans through its free video series of past concert footage. Each livestream raises money for a specific non-profit through the band’s charitable branch, and now PHRE will have the chance to use its respective funding to support its mission to “build a more racially equitable jam band scene through education, intersectionality, and accountability.”
“Phish shows are my happy place but they’re also very White spaces,” said Rupa Mitra — founding member of the Board of Directors — in a statement. “PHRE has given me a great way to combine my passions for live music and racial equity and make a difference in a community I care deeply about that also has the power to shift the conversation beyond our small corner of the Internet and music scene.”
Back in 2017, an essay published by the HeadCount blog called out Phish’s “so white scene” that sparked a heated debate among the band’s fans about whether or not their space was inclusive and open to all groups of people. This is what ultimately led to the mobilization of PHRE.
Years later, PHRE is continuing to fight for equality and hopes that its campaign will help support more bands and fans of color and enhance their love for concert experiences.
In addition to receiving funds raised from the upcoming DAAM, PHRE is working on getting more signatures for its Jam Band Community Racial Equity Commitment Statement. Moreover, it’s inviting new members to join the volunteer collection who are passionate about Phish and committed to racial equity in the jam band space.
For more information about PHRE and how to get involved, click here.