Sphere Rescinds Ban on Phish Show’s Bragging Bong Dude

Reps for Sphere in Las Vegas said Saturday that the ban on a man who posted video of himself braggingly taking bong hits at a Phish show is no longer in effect, and that the edict barring him from MSG Entertainment properties was an error. At the same time, the venue reaffirmed that lighting up such a mammoth piece of paraphernalia inside a show violates both venue policy and local law.

The statement from a Sphere Entertainment spokesperson, issued Saturday afternoon, reads: “There was a breakdown in our process due to a change in personnel which resulted in the letter being sent inadvertently. This customer is not banned from our properties, however, it is still against our policies, which are in accordance with local laws, to smoke, bring glassware into our venues, and disrupt other fans’ enjoyment of the event.”

The formerly banned patron’s name has not been publicly identified, but his social media posts under the name Acid Farts drew plenty of attention — first, when he put up video of what he purported was the “first bong hit to ever be ripped in the Sphere” (and tagged the venue in the process), and then as he posted a letter sent to him by an attorney for Sphere. The letter stated that the concertgoer would be banned “indefinitely” not only from Sphere but from all MSG properties in other cities, including Madison Square Garden and the Beacon in New York.

MSG Entertainment is well-known for using facial recognition to identify customers, and the company even posts notices to that effect at Sphere entrances.

In the original viral video, taken on the opening night of Phish’s sold-out weekend of shows at the venue in April, the user stands in a center aisle and takes a deep hit off a massive bong, then blows a thick plume of heavy smoke out over several rows of patrons seated behind him… a few of whom laugh and applaud, though it can’t be ascertained from the video whether everyone in range of the cloud appreciates the gesture.

Responses to the video largely amounted to: How did you ever smuggle something that huge a contraption through security? (He vowed to not give up his secrets on that.) And: How could he be certain that no bongs were hit by anyone attending any of the months’ worth of U2 shows prior to Phish’s? (He did not have an answer for that.)

The two most recent engagements at Sphere have featured groups — Phish and now Dead & Company — known for attracting at least a portion of fans that enjoy an enhanced concert experience. So the short-lived ban on Acid Farts stood at risk of alienating some segments of the fan communities wary that any crackdowns run counter to the spirit of these shows. Nevertheless, many fans on message boards where there are discussions of what is and isn’t allowable have agreed that flagrantly lighting up inside the new $2 billion dome is not the wisest policy — and concerts by the groups have been largely smoke-free experiences. Sphere security’s policy in dealing with open smokers so far has mostly been to politely approach and ask them to extinguish anything burning, reminding the offenders that laws legalizing marijuana in Nevada do not extend to indoor concert venues.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.