With 2009 being dubbed the "year of change", the southern jamband kings Widespread Panic will make a certain change of their own, albeit to the chagrin of hard core fans everywhere. The band recently announced that they will not be making their annual pilgrimage to the pinnacle of all outdoor music venues, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.
Catching WP at the historic venue was virtually a given each summer for Spreadheads, seeing how they have been performing there every year since the late 90s. In fact, the band currently holds the longest streak for consecutively sold-out performances at Red Rocks. Last summer's three-night, sold-out run marked their 32nd in a row playing in front of a packed house. The milestone was significant enough for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to officially declare June 27th "Widespread Panic Day" in the Mile High city.
Earlier this week however, fans were notified that no Red Rocks performance would be on the tour bill this year. Rather, the band has opted to headline both nights of the second annual Mile High Musical Festival held at the fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in nearby Commerce City this July.
Most fans had assumed the band would play at the venue anyway, likely at a different date. Not only have they played every year for over a decade, but because an interview with percussionist Sonny Ortiz last winter with Jambase.com noted that the band "would likely play Red Rocks again in 2009". Regardless of how and why, it will not happen.
In all likelihood, this should be merely a hiccup in their future touring plans. Though the band has also hinted about performing less dates each year, another stop at the high country venue is almost certain to happen next year or shortly thereafter.
Fans in Colorado really have no reason to complain, seeing how the band has frequently played there. Not only have they performed routinely at Red Rocks, but they have also made other recent venue appearances including the Budweiser Events Center near Fort Collins, Winter Park Mountain, and their first ever New Year's Eve shows just four months ago at Denver's Pepsi Center.
For now, catching the band at the Mile High Music Festival will be this year's only option for Coloradans to get a Panic fix.