Parrothead Backlash At Jiffy Lube
The no-tailgating policy at the 25,000-capacity
The no-tailgating policy at the Live Nation-run venue went into place in May after the shows sold out to curb drunken driving incidents. There have been four post-concert drunk driving-related deaths in the last two years.
Parrotheads, though, consider Buffett concerts to be all-day affairs, and the parking lots are filled with women and men in grass-skirt bikinis along with kiddie pools and margaritas.
The Aug. 27 show was rescheduled to Sept. 1 because of Hurricane Irene, which meant ticket buyers had the option of requesting refunds. Some may have decided they didn’t want to go to a show on a weeknight while others may not have wanted to go to a show without tailgaiting. Whatever the case, Buffett wasn’t initially happy with the no-tailgaiting policy.
“Whose stupid idea was that?” Buffett told USA Today in May upon hearing of the policy. “We got time, I can really get into that. … I’m going to fire a little shot to the Live Nation people.”
One fan told the News & Messenger that stifling the carnival-like atmosphere of a Buffett concert eliminates a large part of the experience.
“We’ve been coming to Buffett shows for, what, six, seven years?” said Bill Barnhart. “I’ve never seen anything like this where there’s nobody here. It used to be a festival.
“There’d be a party, a good crowd, a friendly crowd. Now you’ve got a bunch of people that are angry coming in.”
Buffett told USA Today that about 300 fans complained about the no-tailgating policy. He also said that “10,000 people asked for refunds” out of 25,000 tickets sold, but he did attribute some of those requests to the show being changed from a Saturday to a Thursday.
Buffett reportedly did not acknowledge the situation from the stage, other than to show a video clip of a Parrothead, with an empty glass, in a parking lot. “I can’t argue with the reasoning behind it,” Buffett told the Washington Post, acknowledging the four deaths.
However, the Post noted fans “could buy $14 margaritas, $10 glasses of wine and $10-$13 cups of beers right up through Buffett’s third encore song, just before they would get in their cars to drive home.”