Venue #12: Haybarn Theatre Goddard College

Address: 123 Pitkin Rd, Plainfield, VT

Shows at this venue: 5/17/86, 10/12/86, 5/16/87

Notable song debuts: Halley’s Comet, Golgi Apparatus, Wilson

Status: Still standing

Can you visit it? Yes. Goddard College campus is open to visitors.

On the back side of Goddard’s Community Center lies the Haybarn Theatre. Built in 1868, the space became a theater some time in the 1960s. While Phish’s early gigs are an important milestone, the venue is better known for hosting for Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet and Oscar-nominee and Emmy winner William H. Macy during their time as students there. It also hosted one of Black Sabbath’s first American tour dates. The venue has also been a home of Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater due to its proximity of their home in Glover.

Phish first played this venue at their 2nd SpringFest appearance in May 1986 This show had the first appearance of Richard “Nancy” Wright and the last performance with Jeff Holdsworth.

Photo Credit: Haybarn Theatre Facebook page. Interior of Haybarn Theatre (renovated)

Venue #11: 156 King Street

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Address: 156 King Street Burlington, VT

Shows at this venue: 12/13/1985

Notable song debuts: None

Status: Still standing

Can you visit it? Yes but only the exterior. Trey does so in the film Between Me and My Mind.

This is it. The little red house (now painted green.) Trey, Fish, and early fan Brian Long used to live in this house in Phish’s early days. Trey fondly remembers Fish sleeping in a pile of laundry instead of a bed and that his future wife Sue lived in the building to the left and he could see her balcony from his room. Across the street is the Hood plant, now condominiums, but at the time, it had a giant tank with H.P. Hood dairy mascot Harry Hood on it as pictured below inspiring the now famous lyrics. Phish played a kitchen party here. Garrett Mead later resident of this house, and member of Burlington band The Jones recalls Hood plant parking lot attendant Mr. Minor writing notes on cars stating “Thank You Mr. Minor.”

Photo Credit: Phish.com (h/t Mr. Miner)

Venue #10: Goddard College

Photo Credit: Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Address: 123 Pitkin Rd, Plainfield, VT

Shows at this venue: 4/21/85, 10/26/85 (Unable to play), 11/23/85, 3/6/87, 9/4/87, 9/19/87, 5/14/88

Notable song debuts: None (explained below)

Status: Still standing

Can you visit it? Yes. Goddard College campus is open to visitors.

Goddard College is unique because of the school’s approach to education. Founded on the former Martin family farm in Plainfield, Vermont, it was purchased by Tim Pitkin in 1938 to start a “college for living” where interacting with community would be the lessons. The current Adult Degree Program began in 1963. In lieu of structured classes and majors, students at Goddard are free to study whatever they choose working with faculty advisors to a final project through independent study.

Goddard College looms large in Phish lore. Its unique approach to education lured Page McConnell to transfer from Southern Methodist University. Page then made $50 each encouraging Trey and Fish to transfer in 1986. Only Mike finished at UVM. This allowed Trey, Page, and Fish to study Composition, Improvisation, and Drumming respectively at their own speed. Its art program was also the alma mater of Jim Pollock, who would become Phish’s most identifiable visual artist later on.

Trey’s work at Goddard is the most known. He worked with advisor Ernie Stires on learning composition, finishing with a rock opera as his senior project. This rock opera officially titled “The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday” and unofficially as Gamehendge. Ernie tight Trey ways to sneak the concepts of classical music into rock and roll to great effect. Page’s senior project is “The Art of Improvisation.” Fish had “A Self-Teaching Guide to Drumming in Retrospect.”

This entry focuses on the shows not linked to the two major venues played by Phish on campus. It focuses on the cafeteria, pictured above in the former silos. This is why Mike described the “fishbowl” and round room that the band played during his “epiphany” gig on 11/23/85. Mike had his 2nd peak experience during this show and knew that he wanted to make music for the rest of his life. Other shows don’t have many notes. Clearly, the more important shows took place in the Haybarn Theatre and the Sculpture Room

Venue #9: Memorial Auditorium

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(Photo Credit: Matthew Thorson – Seven Days)

Address: 250 Main St, Burlington, VT

Shows at this venue: 11/14/85, 5/16/86

Notable song debuts: Dear Mrs. Reagan

Status: Still standing but barely. The building has been condemned and its future is unclear.

Can you visit it? You can walk around but you can’t go inside.

Memorial Auditorium was a crown jewel when it was built in 1927. It was a great community space for years hosting craft fairs, college basketball games, and concerts from Johnny Cash to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley to Metallica, and Primus to LCD Soundsystem. It was long believed that Phish never played the big room as they had exceeded the capacity of the room by the time they were playing arenas. The 1985 gig was definitely downstairs in the space currently known as 242 Main. However, the 1986 show has recently been discovered as an opening set for poet Allen Ginsberg. So, Phish may have played Burlington’s largest room after all. Some fans may remember Trey Anastasio Band’s excellent 2 night stand here in the the summer of 2003.

Venue #8: Finbar’s

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Address: 167 Main Street Burlington, VT (Corner of Church and Main)

Shows at this venue: 4/6/85, 5/7/85, 10/17/85, 9/10/86

Notable song debuts: I Am Hydrogen, Letter to Jimmy Page, Run Like an Antelope, Dave’s Energy Guide

Status: Still standing. Became Manhattan Pizza in 1993.

Can you visit it? Yeah. Great spot for a slice while hitting the bars of Burlington.

When I lived in Vermont, I used to stop into Manhattan Pizza for a quick bite roaming around Burlington. It was only recently that I found out Phish had once graced its tiny stage. Still a bright spot in Burlington’s changing bar scene, this place still has that old school feeling.

Venue #7: Hunt’s

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Address: 101 Main Street Burlington, VT

Shows at this venue: 3/2/85, 3/4/85, 4/19/85, 10/30/85, 2/3/86, 3/2/86, 4/1/86, 5/24/86, 9/3/86, 10/15/86, 1/19/87, 1/21/87, 9/2/87, 9/3/87, 10/14/87, 10/21/87, 11/18/87, 11/19/87

Notable song debuts: Harry Hood, Dog Log, You Enjoy Myself, Icculus, AC/DC Bag, Lushington, Sanity, Clod, I Didn’t Know, Dinner and a Movie

Status: Still standing. Original venue became Sha Na Na’s in the late 1980s. Fire gutted building in 2003. Renovated in 2014.

Can you visit it? Yeah. Upper part of building is lobby and pool for Hilton Garden Inn. Lower part is Vermont Comedy Club.

While everyone knows about Nectar’s, nobody knows about Hunt’s. Maybe it’s because it didn’t survive the 80s like Nectar’s but it is just as, if not more, important in Phish’s history. Take a look at that song list and you’ll see how important it was a space for Phish to grow. Hunt’s was also a marquee music venue for the city of Burlington during its 10 year run from 1977-87. Among those to grace its stage include B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Gregg Allman, Pat Metheny, Taj Mahal, and Jerry Lee Lewis. That Phish was able to take that same stage just years after forming speaks loudly to how much they had taken Burlington’s music scene and were quickly moving up.

Venue #6: Doolin’s

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Address: 159 Main Street Burlington, VT

Shows at this venue: 2/1/85, 2/15/85, 2/22/85, 2/25/85, 3/8/85, 3/16/85, 3/29/85

Notable song debuts: Mike’s Song, Alumni Blues, Sneakin’ Sally Thru The Alley

Status: Still standing.

Can you visit it? Yeah, it’s a sports bar and restaurant still.

Located just next to the Flynn Theatre, Doolin’s was Phish’s first steady bar gig, playing during happy hour. Not much is known outside 3 short set lists that survive but nonetheless, the legacy of Burlington’s Main Street in Phish’s career must include this spot, if only for being the birthplace of Mike’s Song.