photo of Shelly Culbertson

Go Phish

When Shelly Culbertson '86 began reading postings in 1990 about a new band called Phish on an Internet bulletin board devoted to The Grateful Dead, she had no idea how far her relationship with the band would progress. She heard Phish in concert twice in 1991, and at the second concert persuaded Page McConnell, the keyboardist, to give her an interview to post on a new electronic mailing list dedicated to discussion of the band. She continued to catch shows, and became acquainted with the group's manager, whom she approached at the end of 1992 for a permanent position with Phish. In 1993 she took the first full-time management support position with the band.

Shelly wears many hats at Dionysian Productions, Phish's production company. “What I'm doing on any given day can change completely depending on what the band is doing at that time or where we are in the process of planning for future events,” she explains. She has developed a mail-order ticketing system for fans who follow the band from venue to venue. She stresses, however, that no more that 50% of the seats may be reserved this way; the remaining half remain available to local fans who purchase their ticket through more traditional outlets, such as the arena box office or Ticketmaster.

Shelly has also been involved in the creation of the official website of the band. “It was definitely advantageous to us to have a way to announce information on the spur of the moment and have people be able to find it easily and effectively, which I think they do with our website.” The site receives 50-60,000 hits, or requests for information, each day.

A Russian major at Bryn Mawr, Shelly would love to use her language skills in her current job, as Phish becomes more popular in Europe: “I keep rooting for a show in St. Petersburg!” She does draw on her Bryn Mawr experiences in her dynamic and challenging position. “I think the thing that has been most useful to me has been learning how to approach something you've never had experience with in the past, develop an overview of it, become familiar with it, learning how to develop competency in new tasks.”

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