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Camping at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for Phish concerts canceled over plague concerns

An outbreak of the plague among prairie dogs caused the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge refuge to shut down for more than two weeks.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Continued concerns over a recent plague outbreak among prairie dogs at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is leading to some changes to camping and parking during a three-night run of Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (DSGP) over Labor Day weekend. 

The Tri-County Health Department has ruled that the venue is safe to host the concerts, but has restricted parking to asphalt lots – meaning concertgoers will not be allowed to park on unpaved lots or grass like in previous years, according to an announcement on the band's website.

The jam band, known for its improvisational style and dedicated fan base, will play at the venue Aug. 30, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. But unlike previous years, camping will not be allowed at the park. 

RELATED: Phish returning to Colorado for 3 shows over Labor Day weekend

“We are sorry to say that there will be no overnight camping allowed for this year’s shows,” the announcement reads. “All camping tickets and RV tickets (and associated service charges) will be automatically refunded within the next few days. We recognize the tremendous inconvenience this may cause for those who had planned on camping."

The band said it’ll be providing free off-site parking and free shuttles, and will notify ticket holders when those details are finalized. 

There have been no confirmed cases of plague on-site at DSGP. The band describes this year's changes as an extra measure of caution. Vending will also not be permitted at the park, as the area traditionally set aside for that is no longer usable, the band said.

WATCH BELOW | Expert explain plague after outbreak in Commerce CIty

The refuge was closed for more than two weeks as teams used insecticides to kill off fleas that transmitted the plague. Many of the sick prairie dogs died underground after contracting the disease.

RELATED: Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge reopens after plague outbreak

While most of the wildlife refuge is now open to visitors, the areas impacted by the plague are still closed. About 150 acres of the 3,500 where prairie dogs live were impacted. The health department says it’s now safe for humans to be in the area.

Phish has been playing DSGP each year over Labor Day Weekend dating back to 2011. 

“Our goal is to make sure these concerts go off as smoothly as possible while preserving the safety of all attendees,” the announcement says.

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