Tips From A Jazz Fest Veteran On How to Prepare For This Parrothead Heaven Of A Show
Where in the heck is Parrothead heaven?
Much like Jimmy Buffett’s explanation for where is Margaritaville, it’s wherever you want it to be.
But from personal experience, I can honestly tell you it does not get much better than when JB is at JazzFest in New Orleans.
This is everything every Parrothead loves: Jimmy at an outdoor venue, a casual atmosphere and a happy crowd fueled by gumbo and beer and Bourbon Street awaiting after the show.
Jimmy is back at JazzFest in 2011, playing the second Saturday, which is May 7. And from someone who’s been there, here’s a little guide with what to expect and what you’ll experience.
He’ll play the last show in the afternoon on the biggest stage. He goes on the Acura Stage at 5:25 and plays until 7. It’s an hour and a half, which is great, but it will go fast.
If you’re in a group (the bigger the better) get to the area upon arriving and save a spot (hopefully you’ll have your tickets in advance but if not, it’s not a big problem but you’ll likely be waiting in a line).
Spread out the blankets and/or chairs, put up a big flag pole or some other identifying marker (think of it as a landmark for landsharks!) and use that as your home base throughout the day.
Get to know your fellow neighbors and even volunteer to watch their stuff while they go for food and drinks, to wander around or hit the port-o-lets; they will do the same for you when you really need it.
Take small coolers (they allow the folding ones that hold about a 6-pack) and fill it up with ice and beers.
As the afternoon progresses, more and more people will fill the area, so get all the wandering, eating, peeing and beer-stocking done by mid-afternoon.
Allen Toussaint is on the Acura Stage before Jimmy (3:30-4:40) and it’s advisable to be back at your spot around this time. There’s a set change break from about 4:45 until Buffett and the Coral Reefers appear.
For those who have a small group, say 2-6 people, securing a spot with a blanket is not necessary. But as Toussaint’s set is winding down, start squeezing your way through the crowd to as close to the stage as possible. At and near the front, people are standing together, side-by-side. There’s no room to sit down, so you’ll be standing the entire time. It will also be crowded, so be prepared to put up with the frequent shoulder bumps (just be sure and not spill your beer!).
People don’t so much dance here as sway and frankly, this is the best place to be for the show. That is, if you don’t mind getting bumped, don’t require a lot of personal space and want to party with your new best friends.
There’s bound to be some territorial people so just let them have their way; no need to push any buttons here. Once the show starts, everyone relaxes and has a great time.
And it is a great time. Jimmy Buffett at New Orleans JazzFest. This goes together as much as salt on the rim of a margarita glass and rum in a boat drink.
One final tip: If you’re there on Thursday keep alert to any possible Buffett “surprise” show at Margaritaville Cafe on Duval Street. If PubClub.com gets any inside word on one, we’ll post the info right here!