Niagara Gazette — Next week’s Tuesdays in the Park Artpark show features a headline performance from Widespread Panic. It’s an early start, the band hits the stage at 6:30 p.m. for the first of two sets.
Widespread Panic formed in Athens Georgia in 1986 and landed their first record deal with Capricorn Records in 1991. They established themselves the old fashioned way, by playing anywhere and everywhere and picking up fans wherever they went, and by the mid 1990’s they were one of the nation’s top touring bands.
The current lineup consists of guitarist/singer John Bell, bassist Dave Schools, drummer Todd Nance, percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz, keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann, and guitarist Jimmy Herring.
Far removed from the days they would roll into town and play in any bar that would have them, Widespread Panic take pride in the fact that they look for the types of venues that their fan base would enjoy.
“To us, it’s all about the fans being comfortable. They have sustained us all these years and we look for fan-friendly venues like Artpark. It will be nice to be able to check out your venue that everyone has been talking about,” said Widespread Panic percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz during a recent phone interview.
Ortiz did his homework when it came to Artpark. He noted, “I know Artpark sells season passes, so it will give some different people a chance to come check us out.”
To Ortiz and the rest of Widespread Panic, it is always important to reach out to old and new fans alike. Ortiz said the band has noticed that there has been an influx of fans in their 20s.
Each one of Widespread Panic’s shows is a unique experience. In much the same way The Grateful Dead approached their set, Widespread Panic performs a different set every evening.