Limestone — Officials with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are closing the books on their work in Limestone over the past two decades.
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The Great Went, one of many multi-day rock festivals by Vermont-based psychedelic jam band Phish, saw 75,000 fans, making Limestone the largest town in Maine for 2 days in August 1997.
In spite of a giant firehose soaking down festival-goers when they arrived, a pervasive odor has lingered on the site for almost 21 years.
Locals described it as an ever-changing aroma, sometimes resembling the spicy tang of patchouli oil and sweaty bodies, other times resembling the skunky, piney aroma of the dankest nugs 1997 had to offer.
“There were 75,000 people here, crowded together, in the hot August weather,” official Brian Pemberton said.
“That’s 75,000 people dancing really badly for extended periods of time,” he said. “Take one extended jam, say a noodling, 30-minute Runaway Jim jam. That’s 37,500 manhours of weird, bad dancing.”
That figure represents almost 4 years of people spinning in circles, juggling devil sticks, or looking like they’re being electrocuted in slow motion.
“In the summer heat, that’s quite an aroma.”
But it’s not all bad news. While 21 years seems like a long time, initial estimates put the smell depletion at over 100 years.
“This is like Chernobyl, only Chernobyl has become a tourist destination.”