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The show must go on

Erik Vienneau

Usually a trip to http://www.widespreadpanic.com is a fun way for fans to tap into the Widespread community’s band member letters, dates and show times. Feeling part of a community is a part of the lure of jam band fandom, and that is especially so with Colorado fans who consider the friends they see in the venues and parking lots of Panic shows extended family.But like another community they have to take the fun with the occasional dose of saddening reality.So for Colorado Widespread fans, the Aug. 10 death of band member Michael Houser (born 1962), who was struggling with pancreatic cancer, comes sadness, a tightening community and doubts that the band’s final two Colorado summer shows at Fiddler’s Green this Saturday and Sunday will happen.Paula Donner of 360 Media, who represents the band, says that, “the death has hit the band very hard,” and that the funeral held early last week was a sad one, but that the band plans to play this weekend. She didn’t know if the Panic members would be dedicating the shows to their lost member.The band hasn’t made any other public statement about the death besides a somber message on the Georgia jam band’s usually upbeat and interactive Website.”In this very sad time,” the site reads under a photo of Houser wailing away on his guitar, “we encourage you to gather with your Panic families in your hometown and celebrate Michael Houser’s life…”The site goes on to say that, as a living memorial to Michael and his love of music, the family requests that contributions be made to the Michael Houser Music Fund. Michael, his wife Barbette, and his son Waker have all been deeply involved with the Athens Academy, and through this fund the school will be able to provide children with the opportunities to discover the richness and wonder of music that so enriched Michael’s own life.Memorials may be sent to: The Michael Houser Music Fund; Athens Academy; PO Box 6548; Athens, GA 30604.The Seven Fiddler’s Music Festival, Aug., 17 and 18, featuresWidespread Panic as the headliner, while Karl Densons Tiny Universe and Spearhead open on Saturday, and Ben Harper, Steel Pulse and Keller Williams have the honor on Sunday.Tickets for the Fiddler’s Green shows are available at (303) 830-8400. Tickets cost $40.


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