Fins Up Is A Party Lifestyle At Buffett Shows
Or dressed as album covers.
They are Parrotheads.
And the are Jimmy Buffett fans.
The idea is to live in Margaritaville, that mythical utopia party place in your mind that becomes reality when Jimmy Buffett comes to town. Here’s what it’s like at a Buffett show and the legendary tailgate party from a veteran of 60 Buffett shows.
Blenders & Boat Drinks In A Tropical Paradise
Blenders, some powered by electric generators, churn out cocktails by the shipload. Tequila, rum and other alcohol flows as freely as an overflowing volcano. Fortunately, everyone is a happy drunk and smiles are as common as cervezas.
Jimmy is transcends age groups. Though it’s largely a mid-20s to late 30s crowd, everyone from grandpartents to grandkids are in attendance.
It’s a tropical paradise, and all because one man decided some 30 years ago to sing songs about living in Margarativille, drinking boat drinks from the deck of a sailing ship and of living in paradise.
It is this life that self-proclaimed “Parrot Heads” live each time Jimmy comes to town.
The tailgate party starts some four hours before Buffett even takes the stage. It is about the only concert anywhere in which the entertainer is a backdrop to the actual event. It’s the pre-party, the mingling with people in grass skirts, hawaiian shirts and straw hats that stir the tropical social souls at these concerts.
Buffett himself gave up long ago trying to compete with this frenzy and does not bother to book warm-up bands. People party so hard in the parking lot beforehand that they rarely make to their seat before Buffett himself takes the stage, let alone 90 minutes earlier to hear some unknown up-and-comer.
Heck, at some venues, people often bring in their own bands to the parking lot.
“I just provide the background music for your party,” Buffett tells his audience.
The concerts come only once a year to venues across America and people clear their schedule months in advance in order to attend.
It’s such a regular ritual for many that they keep a running tally of how many shows they have seen. PubClub.com’s Bartender is approaching his Golden Anniversary (most in one year, four, in four different locations) meaning he’s in the company of his good buddy Laz, who has attended 49. Whatever the number, it’s never enough.
Such people are termed “Parrot Heads,” a spin on the moniker of Grateful Dead fans’ “Dead Heads.”
For those who don’t know, the music of Buffett is best described as a tropical fantasy. It involves steel drums, congas and lyrics that take people to places they would rather be. His songs are based on part truths – he came up with the land shark theme song “Fins” while watching a bunch of guys trying to pick up a bikini contest winner – and carry creative titles such as “If The Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me.” (Hey, we’ve all been there.) Here are some of his most popular titles:
• It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (duo with Alan Jackson)
• Cheesburger in Paradise
• Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
• Let’s Get Drunk and Screw
• Boat Drinks