Widespread Panic Summer Dates

House of Blues -Myrtle Beach, SC July 23,2008

Jun 15, - Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival - Manchester, TN
Jun. 20, 21, 22 - Orpheum Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Jun. 24 - Civic Theatre - San Diego, CA
Jun. 25 - Pine Mountain Amphitheater - Flagstaff, AZ
Jun. 27, 28, 29 Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
Jul. 01, 02, - Uptown Theate - Kansas City, MO
Jul 04, - "Rothbury Festival" -
Rothbury, MI Double JJ Resort
Jul. 05, - Sound Academy - Toronto, ON - Canada
Jul. 06, - Ottawa Bluesfest - Ottawa, ON - Canada
Jul. 10, - Bank of America Pavilion - Boston, MA
Jul. 11, - Festival Pier @ Penn's Landing - Philadelphia, PA
Jul 12, - All Good Music Festival -
Masontown, WV
Jul. 14, 15, 16 - Tennessee Theatre -Knoxville, TN
Jul. 18, - Plain Dealer Pavilion - Cleveland, OH
Jul. 19, - Ntelos Wireless Pavilion - Portsmouth, VA
Jul. 21, 22, 23 - House of Blues - Myrtle Beach, SC
Jul. 25, 26 - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre -Charlotte, NC


Aug 24, - "Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival"
San Francisco, CA Golden Gate Park

Aug 28, 29 - Aspen, CO Jazz Aspen Snowmass




Athens, Ga., July 11, 2008 - Widespread Panic will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame at the 30th Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Show on Saturday, September 20th in Atlanta, GA.

The show will broadcast live on Georgia Public Broadcasting and will include a special performance from the band.
Past inductees include Georgia musicians including Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, R.E.M., and the Allman Brothers Band as well as industry professionals such as music attorney Joel Katz and record label owner Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

"Sharing this honor... with so many of our greatest musical influences, is something I'm sure none of the Band members imagined when we first started making music together. September 20th is going to be a truly special day for the entire Widespread Panic Family," says John Bell, vocalist and founding member of Widespread Panic.

Widespread Panic was founded in Athens, GA in 1986 and has since become a national touring force that has landed in Pollstar’s top 50 tours of the year for the past decade, has sold 3 million albums and played over 2,374 shows over their career. Despite thousands of concerts, the band has managed to never perform the same set list twice. The band released their 10th studio album, Free Somehow, in February 2008 via their own Widespread Records and has a catalogue of 19 albums to date that includes 8 live albums and 1 compilation.

Widespread Panic is currently on the road on their Summer 2008 tour, which kicked off with their 7th headlining performance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. In addition to Bonnaroo, the band has headlined almost every major festival in the US including Lollapalooza, 10,000 Lakes, Rothbury, Austin City Limits, Jazz Aspen, Vegoose, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Their incomparable live show has earned Widespread Panic attendance records across the country.

This June, the Mayor of Denver, CO declared June 27 "Widespread Panic Day" in the City and County of Denver marking Widespread Panic’s 32nd sold out show at Red Rocks Ampitheatre- more than any other band in history.

Widespread Panic utilizes their large success to give back to the community. Widespread Panic has played an active role in the Georgia music community, most notably playing annual concerts that benefit “Tunes for Tots,” an organization dedicated to support music education in Georgia area schools. To date, the concerts have raised over $350,000. In addition, the band recently sponsored a home in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward through the Make It Right foundation which inspired fans to spearhead a house of their own, “The House that Widespread Panic Fans Built.” Their fans have also come together to form Panic Fans for Food, a volunteer organization that holds food drives at shows to benefit the local food bank in that market. To date, PFFF have collected over $70,000, 13 tons of food in 28 cities. Widespread Panic charitable contributions also include John Bell’s annual Hannah’s Buddies Charity Golf Classic that raises money for Spinal Muscular Atrophy research.

The 30th Annual Awards Banquet, to be held Saturday, Sept. 20 in the Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, will recognize those who have made significant contributions to Georgia’s music industry. The banquet is hosted each year by the Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. and
the Senate Music Industry Committee. Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. has been keeping the arts alive in Georgia communities by recognizing and promoting artists and the music industry for the past 30 years. Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. is a non-profit organization that honors the many achievements of Georgia musicians, songwriters, composers, conductors, publishers and agents.

Each year, Friends of Georgia Music nominates, elects and inducts honorees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, celebrating individuals who have made a significant contribution to Georgia’s musical traditions. Friends of Georgia Music also provides scholarships to assist future musicians, songwriters and composers to continue their education and pursue their dreams.

30th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards
Dates: Sat, Sep 20, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Phone: (770) 491-9494
Location: Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards celebrates its 30th anniversary with a gala event. Confirmed 2008 inductees include: Group: Widespread Panic; Pioneer: Fred and Dinah Gretsch; Songwriter: Keith Sweat; Posthumous: Dottie Rambo; Non-Performer: Hamp Swain. Individual tickets and tables are available through the Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc.. For further info or to purchase tickets, call (770) 491-9494. The 30th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards will be telecast live at 8:30 p.m. on Sat. Sept. 20 on GPB.

Singer finds 'natural adventure' on course

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Every time he takes a stage with Widespread Panic, and that's some 250 times a year, lead singer John Bell must make the familiar music new. His legions of "Spreadhead" followers expect each evening to be a completely authentic experience of Southern jam music that Bell and company started in Athens two decades ago.

To see how he pulls it off musically, watch Bell, 46, play golf. He's on the same quest for the real, only with a club and a ball.

He's out to discover what the environment, his intuition and the moment create.

"This is fun," he says, smiling, as he tees off at Druid Hills Golf Club last week, having driven down from his home in north Georgia. Widespread Panic is on a break between the release of the new CD "Free Somehow" and headlining the Bonnaroo fest in mid-June.

His first drive is average, but he doesn't try another. Unlike most casual golfers who skirt the rules, Bell treats each shot as a unique personal challenge. As in a concert, there are no do-overs. His music, golf and life are played in real time.

Bell is not bothered by marking a 10 (that's not a typo) as his score on a single hole. He does that twice. His sunny disposition does not waver.

Don't call him a purist, though.

"I'm more of the Pigpen of golf!" he says. His flannel shirt and jeans are gone, replaced by an untucked polo shirt, pleated trousers and a Panama hat taming his shoulder-length graying hair.

Evolution of Bell's passions

Golf gave rise to Bell's musical style. His music, in turn, transformed golf into a new quest.

He learned the game as a kid in Cleveland, where by age 10 he had already played some of the best courses in Jack Nicklaus country. By 17, he had already shot 74, almost par.

He was a "feel" player, driven not by technique but by a vision of how a ball should move between grass and sky. He's still that way, as shown by his best shot of the day.

About 20 yards below the mounded second green, he putts perfectly to a few feet from the cup. It's the kind of creative shot that Tiger Woods pulls off in the British Open, one that most golfers would never think of trying.

As a kid, golf was Bell's opportunity to conquer; team sports had little room for a free spirit.

"In organized sports, they just kept me on the team for entertainment," he says.

He still uses the grooved blade putter from his tempestuous teenaged years ("I had to climb a few trees to get it back," he says of the times he launched the club in disgust). And he still twirls the putter in his hand as he bows to line up a putt, tuning his instinct as he reads the slope.

When he was in high school, his family would drive from Ohio to golf vacations in Sea Island, and that exposure led to Bell attending the University of Georgia. By then, music had replaced golf, partly because a bad sunburn had messed up his swing.

Part of what carried over to music was his belief in his own style. "I was lucky. There were 12 guys in my high school that sang just like James Taylor," he says on the ninth hole. There, he needs four shots to get out of the pine needles and ends up with a quintuple-bogey 10. That gives him a 53 on the front nine, 17 over par.

"That was intense!" he says.

Why no club throwing now?

He explains as the back nine gets underway.

'Like rock and roll'

As Widespread Panic began to build an appeal akin to the Grateful Dead, Bell put up his clubs for 15 years, and when he returned, the music had erased his golf ego.

Jamming night after night, extending the songs depending on the vibe from other musicians and the crowd, had transformed how he viewed golf. The two became so intertwined that on show days, he'd play a round then perform in his golf clothes and spikeless shoes.

He rates Woods as golf's equivalent of Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson.

"Golf is so much like rock and roll," he says. "Anything can happen. You try to do your best, but you're constantly having to make adjustments. It doesn't even have to be with the music on stage. It could be the bus breaking down." Each shot, like each note he played to his audience, reminded him he was truly alive. A good stroke or sound was pure surprise that often transported him into new space and time.

"It's like you get lost in the woods," he says on No. 15 tee, about to do just that. "We start out wanting to do a one-hour set. Then you look up and it's gone 1 hour, 20 minutes. You've lost your way. Time kind of loses its value, becomes distorted. You know what you want and you play and you feel it, and that's the ultimate confirmation that it's happening. You get your brain out of it and you stay in it. You know what song you're singing, but you're lost in it." His drive hooks into the trees.

"Oh, that's beautiful," he says. "This is going to be cool." "Being the ball" is a state of mind most golfers joke about after the catchphrase from the movie "Caddyshack." Bell, though, was serious. He studied "The Rules of Golf," akin to curling up with the Georgia Code, and metaphysical books such as "Golf in The Kingdom" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance."

"There's magic to be had by if you play the ball as it is," he says as he makes an 8.

"I do it because the game opens up and has a more fascinating quality if you play by the rules ... and you've had your natural adventure."

His score irrelevant, Bell is free to absorb everything else on the course. At Druid Hills, Bell notices turtles sunning, a lizard smushed by a golf cart ("poor little dude") and a gingko tree. He talks of the tomatoes, sunflowers and custom rain barrels that he and his wife Laura arranged at their Clarkesville farm.

"This is one of the most pleasant rounds of 110 I've ever had," he says on the final tee.

Make that 111. He was higher than the standard of par by almost 40 shots. Not that it matters to an artist with a self-described "maverick edge."

For 4 1/2 hours he has been nearly anonymous. He has left no trace of his path, carefully repairing all of his divots and ballmarks. But his zen is soon broken.

A few steps off the final green, he is approached by an incredulous club member who has seen about 15 Panic shows.

Brent Dundun, 32, asks Bell to sign a scorecard, and Bell is cool with that. The round ends with a benediction.

The fan: "Rock on man."

John Bell: "Dig it."


Denver Proclaims Widespread Panic Day

Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper Proclaims....

At the end of Widespread Panic's sold-out run last weekend, the band had played it's 32nd Sold Out show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre - more than any other band in the venue's history.

Red Rocks officials honored the band with a special award presentation, and a mayoral proclamation calling Friday, June 27 “Widespread Panic Day" in the City and County of Denver.

Dave Schools and John Bell during
the press conference in Denver