Bus Services Bill misses a valuable opportunity and is thus ‘an irrelevance’, says senior NatEx manThe Bus Services Bill represents a missed opportunity to tackle congestion – a problem which is the industry’s biggest single headache, says a senior manager.Martin Hancock, who is National Express Development Director and also National Express Coventry Interim MD, used a panel discussion at the Intermodal conference in Nottingham on Monday (20 June) to decry the Bill, and focused on congestion and its effects on the bus industry.‘Congestion is impacting service quality and Bill does nothing about it’“The Bus Services Bill is not the biggest problem currently faced by the industry. It is congestion, which is killing us, and there is nothing in the Bill to help tackle it,” says Mr Hancock in an echo of comments made by First Midlands MD Nigel Eggleton.“Additionally, nothing is happening regarding the allocation of road space to buses. We are seeing service quality go down while costs go up. That’s a missed opportunity in the Bill, but we will make it work regardless.”Mr Hancock also warns that, unless congestion is tackled and service quality is restored, other technologies such as Uber will eat “massively” into the bus market.He adds that an ongoing ‘generational change’, where young people often no longer aspire to car ownership, presents an opportunity to the industry, but that it must continue to get its environmental message across.Mr Hancock’s criticism of the Bill is echoed by Gary Nolan, Stagecoach Regional Director North. Like Mr Hancock and Nottingham City Transport MD Mark Fowles, he favours the partnership approach.“Why do we need to move the deckchairs as much as we are to accomplish what we all want?” says Mr Nolan. “Why can we not sit around the table and deliver it together? What is in the Bill for the customer?”Mr Fowles explains that partnership between the City Council and operators has worked “exceedingly well” in Nottingham, and he points out that high-quality services in the city have driven one of the highest bus passenger usage rates in the UK.Even then, adds Mr Fowles, local authorities do not always allocate adequate and appropriate space to buses, creating a feeling among the motoring lobby that there are too many services. “There are not too many buses; they are concentrated in too few places.”
The time is near and the mission’s never been more clear! On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 11th and 12th, Phish will open up their 2019 summer tour with a pair of performances at St Louis, MO’s Chafeitz Arena, located on on the campus of Saint Louis University.Related: Phish Announces 2019 Summer Tour WebcastsPhish—comprised of Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Jon Fishman, and Page McConnell—has had some monumental musical moments both with the band and outside of the band since their last full tour in the fall in 2018. On Halloween night, Phish succeeded in executing one of the biggest pranks in the band’s 35-year-career at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, presenting a “cover” of ultra-obscure Scandanavian prog-rock album, í Rokk by Kasvot Växt, that turned out to be a collection of new original music written in character as the fictional band. Phish knocked it out of the park as they pulled off this stunt, executing 10 brand-new songs with precision and confidence. Those songs quickly entered the Phish repertoire during their ensuing NYC and Mexico runs in late 2018 and early 2019, respectively.In April, Trey debuted his new Ghosts of the Forest project, which included Fishman, Trey Anastasio Band members Jennifer Hartswick, Tony Markellis, and Ray Paczkowski, and vocalist Celisse Henderson. The new project served as a grieving process for Trey, after losing his lifelong friend, Chris “C Cott” Cottrell, to a battle with adrenal cancer. Trey and Chris had been the best of friends since they were 15 years old and the new material is packed with raw emotion. Although Ghosts of the Forest may not perform in a live setting again, Trey has started to run through the songs with his solo outfit.With a heap of new material to draw from and plenty of recent practice under their belts, things are looking extremely bright for Phish and their devoted phans this summer. Beyond Phish’s MSG New Year’s Eve run and Mexico destination event in February, this tour will be the band’s first chance to properly experiment with Kasvot Växt material and welcome Ghosts of the Forest tunes into their expansive and ever-evolving catalog.As we anticipate what’s to come this summer, we’re taking a look back at past Phish memories in the various places the band will stop on this tour.St Louis, MO – Chafeitz Arena – June 11th & 12thPhish has a longstanding history with St. Louis dating back to the early 90s, but have surprisingly only played The Gateway City twice since returning from their hiatus in 2009. The band offered up an extremely intimate performance at the gorgeous Fox Theatre on their 2009 summer comeback tour (6/16/09), followed by an exploratory show at Chafeitz Arena in 2012 (8/28/12).Phish – “Limb By Limb” – St. Louis, MO – 8/28/12[Video: PhrankieC87]Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo – June 14th & 16thAlthough Trey, Mike, Fishman, and Page had played Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival with various side projects prior to 2009, the band had never played the festival as a uni until returning from their breakup. Phish’s 2009 Bonnaroo appearance included a late-night set on Friday and a two-set headlining performance on Sunday. The band busted out AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” for the first time since 1997 during their late-night, followed by a Bruce Springsteen sit-in during their Sunday show. Phish returned to the Farm on 6/10/12 following their tour-opening shows in Worcester for a show that saw them welcome Kenny Rogers and dust off “Shafty” for only the fifth time-ever!Phish w/ Bruce Springsteen – “Glory Days” – Bonnaroo – 6/14/09[Video: robe5k]Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage – June 18thPhish has only played one show in Toronto since 2000, perhaps due to the headaches of crossing the border while on tour. The band’s originally scheduled show on 7/9/13 at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre was postponed due to, “insurmountable transportation and public safety issues resulting from the power outage in Toronto after severe downpours in the city.” They utilized an off night 13 days later on 7/22/19 to make up for the unfortunate postponement.Phish – “David Bowie” [Pro-Shot] – Toronto, ON – 7/22/13[Video: Phish]Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center – June 19thPhish always brings the heat to Cuyahoga Falls, OH’s Blossom Music Center, located outside of Akron. The band’s 2019 appearance at Blossom will mark their ninth show at the venue and the first since 2015. In 2011, the band debuted “Steam” at their one-off performance, which they went on to use as their New Year’s Eve gag later that year. In 2015, Trey gave a shout-out to Ween‘s Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo (aka Gene and Dean Ween), encouraging them to get Ween back together. Whether or not Trey’s plea had an impact, Ween did ultimately wind up reuniting the following year.Phish – “Steam” – Blossom – 6/4/11[Video: shinepigeon]Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion – June 21stUnfortunately for fans in the South, Phish’s upcoming performance in Charlotte is their closest thing to a “hometown” show this summer. Formerly the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Phish has played this shed five times since regrouping in 2009. Here’s hoping the South gets some extra special treatment this summer—like they did when Phish pulled out Gamehendge rarities like “Col. Forbin’s Ascent” > “Fly Famous Mockingbird” and “Icculus” there in on 6/17/11.Phish – “Icculus” – Charlotte, NC – 6/17/11[Audio: John Philbin]Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion – June 22nd & 23rdColumbia, MD’s Merriweather Post Pavilion has become a favorite of the band’s in their 3.0 era. Other than 2012, 2016, and 2017, Phish has played Merriweather at least once every summer since 2009. When most people think of Phish and Merriweather’s recent connections, “Tweezer” immediately comes to mind. Fans have dubbed the Phish’s 7/27/14 show at Merriweather Post Pavilion as “Tweezerfest,” while the band’s 8/12/18 performance at Merriweather has been known to go by “Threeprise“.Phish – “I Been Around” – Merriweather Post Pavilion – 7/27/14[Video: Phish]Bangor, ME – Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion – June 25th & 26thLocated not far from Jon Fishman’s home in Lincolnville, Phish will return to Bangor, ME’s Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion for the first time since 2013, and only the second time ever. Their only other stop in at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion came on the opening night of their 2013 summer tour.Phish – “Wolfman’s Brother” [Pro-Shot] – Bangor, ME – 7/3/13[Video: Phish]Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion – 6/28-6/30Phish will offer up their first three-night run of the summer at Camden, NJ’s BB&T Pavilion, a venue with which the band’s become extremely familiar with over their illustrious career. Due to corporate sponsorship changes, the venue has gone through a series of names including the E Centre, the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront, and the Susquehanna Bank Center. In 2009, the band debuted “Sugar Shack” and “Joy” in Camden. In 2010, Phish honored Michael Jackson on the one-year anniversary of his death with a “Billie Jean” jam.Phish – “2001” > “Billie Jean” jam > 2001″ – Camden, NJ – 6/25/10[Video: Phishfunk78]Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center – 7/2 & 7/3Saratoga Performing Arts Center, affectionately referred to as “SPAC,” has been a favorite summer shed for Phish since 1992—and a favorite lot scene for fans for just as long. Located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park, the band has played the venue every summer since 2009 aside from 2011, 2015, 2017, and 2018, offering up a number of memorable performances. Even before that, SPAC played host to a number of all-time Phish moments—like this monster “Piper” from 6/19/04.Phish – “Piper” – SPAC – 6/14/09[Uploaded by weekapaug986]Boston, MA – Fenway Park – June 5th & 6thFollowing a day off to celebrate America’s Independence Day, Phish will return to Boston’s beloved Fenway Park for the first time in 10 years. Phish opened up their 2009 summer tour with a one-off performance at the home of the Boston Red Sox. Clad in Red Sox jerseys, the band began their Fenway 2009 show with a special a capella “Star Spangled Banner” performed from the pitcher’s mound.Earlier in the summer, on June 24th, Fenway will host a special “Phish Night” at a Boston Red Sox game in honor of the band’s impending visit. While the band themselves were not included in Fenway’s Phish Night announcement, they do not have a show scheduled for that evening as they make their way from Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD to Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, ME—a route that takes them right through Boston on June 24th. Will Phish make an appearance to reprise their National Anthem performance at the Boston Red Sox’s Phish Night? Stranger things have happened. We’ll have to wait and see.Phish – “The Star-Spangled Banner” – Fenway Park – 5/31/09[Video: notmkdevo]Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena – 7/8 & 7/9Phish will offer up their debut performances at Uncasville, CT’s Mohegan Sun Arena in July. The band has a longstanding history playing in Connecticut dating back to their early days, their only CT stops since 2009 have been in the state capital of Hartford. However, many of those Hartford performances have produced notable highlights—like the 6/18/10 show that ended with a double dose of “Tweeprise” after the band neglected to “Reprise” their “Tweezer” at Hershey Park a few days prior. Arguably the toughest tickets of the tour, fans can look forward to an entertaining two nights indoors at the casino resort.Phish – “Tweezer Reprise” > “Tweezer Reprise” – Hartford, CT – 6/18/10[Video: HarpuaFSB]East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre – July 12th, 13th, & 14thPhish is set to return to East Troy, WI’s iconic Alpine Valley Music Theatre for the first time since 2015. Situated on the side of the ski mountain (or rather, hill), Alpine Valley seems to always bring out the best in the band. Following their two-night run in 2010, Phish released Live at the Legendary Alpine Valley Music Theatre, which contains their entire performance from 8/14/2010 (“AC/DC Bag” through “David Bowie” and “Ghost” through “Quinn the Eskimo”), as well as bonus footage from 8/15/2010. In their last of three 2015 Alpine shows in 2015, Phish delivered a first set comprised entirely of tour debuts and rarities including just the second-ever “The Very Long Fuse”, “Col. Forbin’s Ascent” > “Fly Famous Mockingbird”, “Saw It Again”, “Esther”, “Weigh”, “The Sloth”, “Sanity”, and “Split Open And Melt”.Phish – “Reba” – Alpine – 8/14/10[Video: ohkeepahblog]Commerce City, CO – Dicks Sporting Good Park – 8/30, 8/31, & 9/1What can we say about the magic of Phish Dicks that hasn’t already been said? Phish will close out their summer tour with a three-night run at Commerce City, CO’s Dicks Sporting Goods Park, a venue that has become an annual staple for the band to celebrate Labor Day Weekend. Despite almost always taking a break between the main leg of the tour and Dicks, the band finds a way to harness the energy of the Rocky Mountains to produce some of best jams of the year (and often some setlist shenanigans, taboot). Phish’s ninth tour-closing run in a row at Dicks should be nothing short of incredible.Phish – “Light” – Dicks – 9/1/12[Video: Phish]For more information on Phish’s summer tour, head here. Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you out there!
The rebrand sees the Academy’s DPP (Developing Player Programme) renamed ‘Bears Aspire’, with the PDG (Player Development Group) now known as ‘Bears Excel.’The changes reflect the uniqueness of the Bears Junior Academy and better connects it to its vision and purpose, acknowledging the qualities and attributes of its participants.Junior Academy Manager, Gary Townsend, said: “The challenges of COVID-19 have further demonstrated the quality of boys in the Bears family.“Their willingness, resourcefulness and ability to stand up to adversity deserves a name which truly represents the calibre of young people in the Bears Academy.“The programmes are partially funded by, and in partnership with the RFU, Somerset RFU & Gloucestershire RFU – a partnership which continues to be acknowledged and valued in the development of young, local rugby players.“The change in name further strengthens that partnership, as young players aspire to excel on the club, county, and national stage.”To find out more, watch Junior Academy Manager, Gary Townsend’s presentation by clicking here.