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Widespread Panic returns to Artpark on June 16

Nearly three decades into its career, Widespread Panic remains a formidable presence on the jam-band scene. Marrying the influences of Southern rock, country and folk, with a serious improvisational acumen, the group – singer/guitarist John Bell, guitarist Jimmy Herring, bassist Dave Schools, drummer Todd Nance, keyboardist JoJo Hermann and percussionist Domingo Ortiz – built its vast fan base through relentless touring of a series of studio albums that display an ever-widening sonic scope. The Widespread Panic roster includes a number of virtuosos who have become regal presences in the jam-band court through appearances with the greatest of the greats – Herring has played with the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends and post-Jerry Garcia Grateful Dead offshoot the Dead, while Schools has played with the Mickey Hart Band, Gov’t Mule and Bob Weir, among others.

All of this has conspired to turn Widespread Panic into one of the most beloved bands in the jam-improv music community. The band has a new album due in September. In the meantime, Widespread Panic has taken to the road, and will include a stop Tuesday at Artpark in Lewiston. It’s a makeup date of sorts, as last year’s appearance at the same venue was cut short due to a severe storm.

Tickets are $12 advance, and $17 after Sunday (box office, artpark.net).

– Jeff Miers

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