Phish Fan No Longer Banned from Sphere for Taking Bong Rip

A Phish fan got lucky after taking a bong rip at the Sphere.

After tagging the Las Vegas venue and bragging in April that he took the “first bong hit to ever be ripped in the Sphere” in an Instagram Reel that went viral, an unnamed fan received a letter from an attorney at Madison Square Garden banning him from all of their venues as the company “will not tolerate actions that threaten the safety and security of our guests.”

“You knowingly violated the guest code of conduct by visibly smoking inside the venue. Sphere Entertainment Co. will not tolerate actions that threaten the safety and security of our guests, and employees,” wrote Christopher Schimpf, a lawyer for Madison Square Garden, in a letter on June 3 reposted by a well-known Phish fan account to X (formerly known as Twitter).

They continued: “In light of your conduct, you are hereby indefinitely banned from Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre, The Chicago Theatre, Sphere and any other MSG Venue (the “MSG Venues”). You are not to enter into or remain in any of the MSG Venues at any time in the future.”

“If you enter any of the MSG Venues, including, with respect to Madison Square Garden, the box office, Chase Square and the concierge areas, law enforcement will be contacted to ensure your expulsion and you will be subject to the penalties,” the attorney concluded.

The fan appeared to caption the image of the letter, “The sphere sent me a plaque to commemorate what is now officially the first bong hit ever taken in the sphere.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone on Thursday, June 6, the fan claims it was likely the purchase of a Dead & Co. ticket this past weekend that led to this week’s legal notice.

“I opened it up, and there was this letter saying you’re banned from going to the Sphere,” he told the publication. “I was like, I’m literally leaving for the Sphere right now.”

Despite the legal letter, the fan largely has “no regrets.” 

On Friday, June 7, a Sphere spokesperson confirmed the legitimacy of the legal letter and noted that the venue was enforcing its policies, which are in line with local and state laws. They also noted that the fan’s actions at the time were impacting other guests’ experiences.

However, on Saturday, June 8, a representative for the Sphere says the announcement to bar the fan from the venue was made “inadvertently” and he has been unbanned.

“There was a breakdown in our process due to a change in personnel which resulted in the letter being sent inadvertently,” they said in a statement. “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.”

Phish in Las Vegas.

Rich Fury/Sphere Entertainment/Getty

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In November 2023, the “Bathtub Gin” band announced a four-night residency at Sphere in Las Vegas set for 2024, promising a “completely unique experience” in the 18,600-capacity.

“From the moment we first heard about Sphere and its potential, we’ve been dreaming up ways to bring our show to this breathtaking canvas,” said Phish bandleader Trey Anastasio in a statement. “We’re thrilled to present this completely unique experience to Phish fans.”

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