Vegas Sphere Imposes, Then Lifts, Ban on Phish Bong-Ripper

Posted on: June 15, 2024, 11:06h. 

Last updated on: June 15, 2024, 12:10h.

An avid Phish fan’s bid for stoner glory on 4/20 made him the first — and probably last — person to take a bong hit in the Las Vegas Sphere.

In a still from video he posted to Instagram, @acid_farts celebrates 4/20 at the Vegas Sphere. (Image: Instagram/@acid_farts)

Instagram user @acid_farts, whose real name is undisclosed in media reports about this incident, uploaded a video of himself sucking pot smoke into his lungs on what people in the cannabis community consider a national holiday.

In the video, audience members surrounding Mr. Farts can be heard cheering him on, screaming “USA, USA!”

“First bong hit to ever be ripped in the @spherevegas,” the post’s caption read. “@phish somebody call [the Guinness Book of World Records].”

Mr. Farts, who claims to have attended 187 Phish concerts, tagged the official Sphere account to make sure they wouldn’t miss it.

They didn’t.

After Mr. Farts purchased tickets to see Dead & Company on June 6 at the Sphere, Sphere Entertainment FedExed him a legal notice.

“You knowingly violated the guest code of conduct by visibly smoking inside the venue,” it read. “Sphere Entertainment Co. will not tolerate actions that threaten the safety and security of our guests and employees.”

According to the notice, Mr. Farts was banned for life not only from the Sphere, but from all other concert venues owned by James Dolan. These include the Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall, Chicago Theatre, and the one that hurt Mr. Farts the most — Madison Square Garden, where Phish is famous for playing on New Year’s Eve.

This sign inside the Sphere confirms its use of facial recognition software “to help ensure the safety and security of our venue and our guests, and to enforce our venue policies.” (Image: reddit)

All these venues use facial recognition to ban previous policy violators — as well as Dolan’s personal enemies, such as attorneys who have litigated against him and his business interests.

Banned Aid

Since that time, Sphere Entertainment has had a change of heart, explaining the legal notice as an administrative mistake.

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

On June 12, Jennifer Koester, the Sphere’s former president of business operations, was promoted to president of Sphere Entertainment, a position formerly held by Dolan.

That change in personnel, combined with stories sympathetic to Mr. Farts published in Rolling Stone and Variety, appeared to do the trick.

How Mr. Farts snuck such a sizeable device past the security checkpoint was never disclosed.

But he’s wise not to try it again.