Posted on September 6, 2016

The Flight of the Parrot Heads

Written By Body Wipe Company Tags: Alpine Valley Music Theater , Jimmy Buffett , Jimmy Buffett Concert , Labor Day Weekend

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Although I have been a big Jimmy Buffett fan since college, I have never experienced him live in concert. Over the years, I heard that Jimmy Buffett concerts are an event. The pre-concert tailgate parties are said to be legendary.  People, from all walks of life, dress up in various “Caribbean” attire and drink to excess before the first tune is ever played.  

Labor Day Weekend I finally had an opportunity to attend a Jimmy Buffett concert and experience first hand if the legend was true.  The venue was Alpine Valley Music Theater in Elkhorn, WI.  Upon driving in to the grass parking lot, you could see hundreds of cars with various tailgate set-ups already indulging in this “cult” type event.  In an attempt to observe “Parrot Heads” in their natural habitat, we walked around the tailgating area to witness it first hand.  The sights and sounds of Parrot Heads partying was a real eye opener.  My first impression was that Parrot Heads are “Dead Heads” with money! They are extremely mellow and very friendly, along with being very hospitable. If I actually drank all the drink concoctions offered to me, as I walked by these pop-up “Tiki Bars”, I would have never made it to the concert! (As evident by some people)

 As show time was upon us, the mass of tailgaters started making the trek to the amphitheater. It reminded me of what people who attended Woodstock in the 60’s must have experienced, except with 470,000 more people!  As Jimmy took the stage, the crowd cheered and came to their feet, as they got into the groove of the signature Caribbean sound of Buffett. 

 The crowd danced to the beat of every song he sang. As a first time Buffett concertgoer, I could not help but get caught up in this live concert experience. It hit me during the song Fins, when everyone was swaying their hands back and forth over their heads, that a Buffett concert was really an adult version of The Wiggles for drunken people!      

 As Jimmy finished his last encore song of the night and the amphitheater lights came up, the massive crowd peacefully headed to the exits. As we made our way back to the car, I was still singing verses of Margaritaville to myself. I now realize why Parrot Heads migrate back to see Jimmy Buffett live in concert year after year. For I too will be part of this Parrot Head migration next summer. “Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s my own damn fault.” It definitely is!