Alabama Officials Angry Over Widespread Panic Booking

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Update 4/24: Orange Beach Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Silvers has clarified his comments made at a recent city council meeting that spurred many Widespread Panic fans to voice their displeasure with his characterization of the band’s followers, particularly his “floppiness” descriptor.

In follow-up article on AL.com, Silvers tried explain his previous choice of words. “Some of the fans that we have had past experience with were just flopping down in grocery stores in the middle of the day, pulling out boxes of Popsicles and eating and trying to rehydrate,” Silvers said. “Flopping down in garages of vacant buildings and homes or unoccupied homes and camping out. I was stating facts of actual events that happened in our community during the course of some of those concerts. Nothing negative toward the fanbase as a whole … I have some friends that follow them and they’re professionals.”

As of now the concert will go on as planned.

Earlier this week Widespread Panic added a show to their Spring Tour at the Amphitheater at the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama on Friday, May 22. The booking came despite local officials objecting to the return of Widespread Panic according to AL.com.

[Photo by Ian Rawn]

Orange Beach Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Silvers “laid into Wharf General Manager Jim Bibby over the booking” at a council meeting last night according to AL.com’s report. Silvers explained that the last time Panic played the venue, in 2010, “the band’s fanbase has pushed the city’s fire and police services to the limit” and called the situation “pure mayhem.” The Mayor Pro Tem even sent an email a few weeks back to the concert’s promoter and the owner of the venue expressing his dismay over the possibility of Widespread Panic returning to the venue. “We’re still not happy that this has been announced,” Silvers said. “The maximizing that it puts on our resources, our police and our fire department on a busy weekend –Memorial Day weekend, Jim –we can’t have that. We don’t promote that style of living and floppiness that’s happened, that they will bring. And they will be here, living in vacant garages, living in the streets, showering down at the beach. Jim, we can’t have it. We can’t put up with it. So please whoever didn’t get that message needs to hear from all of us up here,” Silvers told AL.com.

It’s unclear from the report what style of living Orange Beach promotes. The city apparently seems fine with the the raucous affairs of Jimmy Buffett concerts which seemingly are not an issue for local officials as Parrotheads invade The Wharf this Friday. For now, Widespread Panic’s concert is expected to go on as planned.

In other Widespread Panic news, frontman John Bell told the Baltimore Sun the band’s 12th studio album is finished, titled and likely to be released this year. Bell wouldn’t provide any more details to the paper about Widespread Panic’s long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Dirty Side Down other than that the band aimed to avoid the heavy use of overdubs on the album which was recorded this past winter in Asheville. “You can get a little bogged down in the overdub process,” Bell told the Baltimore Sun adding that Widespread Panic hoped to tap into “the quirkiness and one-of-a-kindness you get in letting your first inspiration be and just leave it alone.”