After hearing Widespread Panic play last night, I wish that I had become a fan sooner, but I'd really never heard any of their music that I can recall. I knew that it was going to be something big though, as the band was setting up and the crowd grew with parents (and some small children) filling up the grassy space before the stage. Fans wearing shirts with the bands name and a current of palpable (seriously, you could feel the change in the air prior to their set) excitement took over the night air. As I said, I wasn't sure what to expect and I had chosen not to listen to any of their music prior to the festival because I wanted to be surprised. And I was. They were really, really, really good.
I've since learned that they've been compared to the Grateful Dead and that is pretty accurate right down to the type of fans that they have. Within moments the air was fragrant with the scent of... Let me just say that anyone who has ever gone to any type of Dead concert or any type of reggae or earth-type event (yes, I may be generalizing, but this has been my own personal experience) would know what I'm talking about. Being pregnant, I had to get out of the fray, but none of that disuaded most of the other revelers. All this aside, it was pretty cool to see parents rocking out with their kids jamming to the music. At the end of the night, the fans were just as enthused about Panic as they'd been at the beginning and I was just glad to be a part of it.
Photo by Tarsha Alonzo-Stith