Phish is famous for it’s New Year’s Eve run of shows, taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York. But those who purchased tickets for this year’s return of the run will have to be happy with celebrating 2022 about four months in, as the jam band has pushed the shows back over concerns with the rapid COVID-19 case rates happening in New York and the rest of the United States.

“The health and safety of Phish fans, our crew and venue staff is paramount in our minds,” the band said in a statement. “While Phish has played shows this year as the pandemic has continued, this variant’s ability for rapid transmission is unprecedented.”

Plans are now to hold the four-show run on April 20-23, with the longer performance that would have been on December 31 going off on April 22. Those who purchased tickets through the box office or Phish’s ticketing system will be able to request a refund within 30 days of the announcement of the postponement, or hang on to their tickets, which will remain valid for the rescheduled dates in April. Those who purchased tickets through other marketplaces will have to contact their point of purchase to determine what options they may have.

The performance schedule is subject to availability, as the dates are currently open on the Madison Square Garden calendar, but could be impacted by New York Knicks games if the team makes the NBA playoffs. As a primary tenant, the basketball team would have the right to play any home dates over the band’s scheduling should there be a conflict. The Knicks (15-18) are currently 11th in the Eastern Conference with more than half of the regular season remaining. Eight teams make the playoffs.

New York City is facing its highest COVID-19 case rates of the pandemic, with its 7-day average of new cases spiking from 1,512 on December 1 to 20,665 as of Monday. Its previous high average over a 7-day period was 6,136 in January of 2021.

That surge in the city where their run was scheduled, coupled with the fact that a huge number of their fans would be traveling in from other locations (and theoretically bringing potential COVID spread home with them), were cited as reasons for the decision.

“We are also mindful that a significant number of people travel for these shows and then return to their communities, and we want to avoid accelerating transmission of the virus,” the band’s statement continued. “Finally, even with the strictest of tour Covid protocols, the prolonged exposure of a four-night indoor run (plus the days of preparation and travel) to critical crew and staff considerably increases the possibility of having to shut the shows down once they’ve started.”

The band has performed over the New Years period 13 times in prior years, dating back to 1994. Phish was unable to perform in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, but had hoped to make their triumphant return to a venue they’ve played at more than 60 times this week.