A permit for a Widespread Panic concert in Birmingham, Ala., has been denied by city officials pointing to drug and alcohol use by some fans at a prior event. The City Council yesterday (March 26) den

A permit for a Widespread Panic concert in Birmingham, Ala., has been denied by city officials pointing to drug and alcohol use by some fans at a prior event. The City Council yesterday (March 26) denied the required special event and liquor permit on a 7-2 vote. The Georgia-based jam band had been scheduled for two shows on May 9-10.

In denying the permit, the council members cited a weekend of shows last year in suburban Pelham, Ala., when state and local authorities staged a crackdown, arresting hundreds, mostly for drug and alcohol violations. A fan overdosed on ecstasy and another committed suicide in a hotel room.

Council member Roderick Royal said the vote was about deciding what type of event Birmingham wants to attract. Mark Kelly, a spokesman for Mayor Bernard Kincaid, said the mayor supported the concert for its potential economic benefit.

Some of the band's followers said city officials were condemning thousands of law-abiding fans because of the actions of a few. "I think the council has heard stories about rampant drug use and is having a knee-jerk reaction," said Dace Lipscomb, 25. He said he has attended about 150 Widespread concerts since 1994. "I think the council is probably pretty uneducated about Widespread Panic and its fans," Lipscomb said.


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