Fans flock to Widespread Panic Experience at coliseum

Fans flock to Widespread Panic Experience at coliseum

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Coast Coliseum grounds looked much different Sunday. Instead of classic cars there were tents, vendors and bands playing ahead of the Widespread Panic concert.

This is the second time the band has performed in South Mississippi. Looking out at the fans, it's obvious the band appeals to several generations.

"There's a wide spectrum that will be here tonight. From young to old. Lot of different demographics. But the thing about it is they all like the music," said Assistant Executive Director of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Matt McDonnell.

Jimbo Richardson drove down from Jackson to see the band he's admired since the 1980s.

"They are great musicians, every one of them. They got great songs. They've been playing forever," Richardson said.

"It's rooted in Mississippi blues and rock and roll, and I don't know about you, but I've been listening to Widespread Panic since I was 14," said Ben Shemper of Hattiesburg.

While the crowd waited to listen to the main act, regional bands kept the crowd entertained.

T-shirt vendors set up next door to a mini tent city. That's where devoted fans were given permission to camp overnight on the Coliseum's front lawn.

"With Widespread Panic, you've really got to know the audience. And the audience likes to come out early, have a good time," said McDonnell.

A cornhole championship only added to what's being dubbed by organizers as the "The Widespread Panic Experience."

"Cornhole is actually growing very big out here in the South and the Coliseum, I thank'em for allowing us to hold this on their property," said Buster Verdin, a member of team Bad Intentions.

But the experience wouldn't be complete without the actual band.

"It's amazing to have someone of their caliber play here in Mississippi for us. I'm sure everybody here is just as excited as I am. It's a wonderful thing," said Sara Anger of Hattiesburg.

Organizers estimate around 3,000 people attended the concert. The band's next stop is in Austin, Texas.

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