Valdosta Daily Times

April 18, 2013

Leon Russell, Widespread Panic, Allman Brothers headline Wanee Festival

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

LIVE OAK, Fla. — Leon Russell, Widespread Panic and the Allman Brothers Band lead dozens of musical acts playing this weekend during the annual Wanee Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

Both Widespread Panic and the Allman Brothers Band are scheduled for two performances each during this annual music event.

Anyone familiar with Wanee should not be surprised that the Allman Brothers is not only participating but playing twice.

The Allmans developed the Wanee Festival. The legendary band is the festival’s centerpiece as well as one of its headline acts. With one exception, the band has played every Wanee Festival, and typically, the Allmans always play twice.

However, in 2008, the Allman Brothers Band had to cancel its appearance due to band member health concerns. Even without its founders, the Wanee Festival continued.

The Allman Brothers Band has its roots in Jacksonville, Fla. Founded in 1969, the band featured Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, “Jaimoe” Johanson. Songs include “Whipping Post,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Statesboro Blues,” “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” etc.

After releasing the landmark live album “At Fillmore East,” Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. The band went through periods of break-ups and reunions but has performed regularly for many years.

Widespread Panic began in Athens back in the mid 1980s. The band reached legendary status for its soaring jams during live shows, on a level comparable to the Grateful Dead or Phish in terms of Widespread Panic’s ability to play improvisational riffs. While it has never reached a high level of fame through radio airplay, Widespread Panic has a devoted following of fans.

In recent years, Widespread Panic has released recordings from some of its early concerts. In 2009, the band released “Valdosta 1989,” a two-disc set featuring a Widespread Panic concert performed April 8, 1989, in Valdosta.

Both Widespread Panic and the Allman Brothers Band are scheduled to play Friday and Saturday, April 19, 20. Widespread is scheduled to play 6:30-8:30 p.m. both nights on the Peach Stage. The Allmans, 9:30 p.m.-midnight, both nights on the Peach Stage.

There are two stages filled with music Friday and Saturday. One stage is available today with music from the early afternoon until 1:30 a.m.

Leon Russell is scheduled to play 12:30-2 p.m. Saturday on the Peach Stage.

The 71-year-old Russell was once a first-call studio session musician who worked on recordings with everyone from Jan & Dean to George Harrison and Ringo Starr to Doris Day to Willie Nelson to Elton John to Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell and the Rolling Stones.

He wrote and co-wrote numerous songs from the 1960s. In the 1970s, Russell embarked on his own recording and performing career. In more recent years, Russell felt he had been forgotten until Elton John asked him to partner on the 2010 CD, “The Union,” which brought Russell out of obscurity. He has enjoyed increased attention and overdue appreciation ever since.

In addition to the Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic and Leon Russell, Wanee is scheduled to feature Groves, Juke, Beebs & Her Moneymakers, Kettle Of Fish, Cope, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oli Brown, Monophonics, the Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Voice Of The Wetlands Allstars, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Hot Tuna Electric, Greyboy Allstars, Blackberry Smoke, Robert Randolph, Govt. Mule, Flannel Church, The Revivalists, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang, North Mississippi Allstars, BoomBox, Steel Pulse, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Yeti Trio, the Lee Boys, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Maceo Parker, Tower Of Power, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Galactic & Friends.

 More information: Visit