Widespread Panic


Widespread Panic originated in Athens, Georgia in 1981, and through lots of touring over the years they have become one of the most prominent jam bands in the country today. Their music incorporates southern-rock, blues, progressive rock, funk, country, bluegrass and improvisational jamming. Their fame didn't come immediately-- it took nearly 7 years of playing for them to move out of the college scene and to finally get signed by a small record label. In 1991, though, they gained national attention and were signed by Capricorn records. Actor Billy Bob Thornton directed a live DVD of the band playing in Athens.

As the band continued to tour, they became bigger and bigger, and in 1998 when they released their first live album, they threw a concert in Athens to celebrate. Estimates of around 100,000 fans flooded the town. Their fame only grew. In 2002, they were chosen as the headliners for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Bonnaroo liked them so much that they have been a headliner there for almost every year since. In 2002, lead guitarist Michael Houser died from pancreatic cancer, yet despite this setback, the band continued to tour with a new guitarist.

One thing that sets Widespread Panic apart from many other artists in modern-music is that they encourage and promote individuals to tape and record their live show (to be distributed to whoever wants it). In the age of media-rights, Widespread Panic has gone against the flow of the idea that music is a commodity to be bought and sold and this has absolutely worked in their favor-- they have gained far more publicity as a result of this policy. Widespread

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