Amid the throngs of Parrotheads — the nickname fans of Jimmy Buffett have for themselves — that were gathered on the Bangor Waterfront ahead of Buffett’s Tuesday night concert at the Maine Savings Amphitheater, there were two special groups.
One group was the people who have seen Buffett 50, 100, even 300 times over the past 50 years. And the other group were the people who had never seen him before until Tuesday night in Bangor.
“I’m a Buffett virgin and I can’t believe it,” said Cami Costa, a Newport resident who was tailgating with several hundred other Parrotheads along the Bangor Waterfront. “I’m here with my friends who have seen him a ton of times, but me, I’m kind of embarrassed to say I’ve never been. They brought me with them because they had to sacrifice somebody.”
Left to right: Ella Campbell from Hermon, Bradley Gilbert from Levant, and Krysten Millett from Winslow enjoy the pre-party on the Bangor Waterfront before Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers performed at the Maine Savings Amphitheater on Tuesday, Aug 2. Cami Costa from Newport enjoys her first Jimmy Buffett concert in Bangor on Aug. 2. Colleen Cade and Meghan Cade from Toronto enjoy the pre-party on the Bangor Waterfront before Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers performed at the Maine Savings Amphitheater on Tuesday, Aug 2. A big group of fans enjoy the pre-party on the Bangor Waterfront before the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers performed at the Maine Savings Amphitheater on Tuesday, Aug 2. Credit: Courtesy of Jodi Devost
A Jimmy Buffett show is a traveling carnival, with a caravan of rum-drinking, grass skirt-wearing, uninhibited fans following the beloved singer-songwriter all around the world as he plays his songs about life, love and good times to huge crowds — from mega hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” to introspective classics like “A Pirate Looks at Forty.” For the second time on Tuesday after his 2016 show, Buffett brought the party to Bangor.
Pop-up tents stocked with full bars, lawn games and people ready to cut loose sprouted up all along the waterfront, taking over the area outside the concert venue, on Main Street and in the Shaw’s Supermarket parking lot. For many, after two years without a Buffett show during the pandemic, the musician’s summer tour was a long-awaited chance to, as the saying goes, put their fins up.
“He’s a great entertainer and he sings some great songs, but you just can’t beat the pre-party,” said Mark Molloy, who flew up from Jacksonville, Florida, with a friend to attend the show, and who has seen Buffett 52 times. “For this show, we said, ‘Let’s pick someplace cool to see Buffett.’ It was a little hot today, but it’s definitely not as hot as Florida.”
For Karen Stanhope Ryder, a Greenville native now living in New Hampshire who has seen Buffett nine other times, it’s also about the life experiences she hears reflected in his lyrics.
“He sings songs about his life, and we’ve all lived different parts of our lives that we can hear in his songs,” she said. “And we don’t want to grow up. Who wants to grow up?”
Sisters Colleen and Megan Cade of Toronto, Ontario, have been on a road trip through the Maritimes for most of the summer, but routed their trip through Maine so they could come to the show in Bangor.
“It was just kismet that Jimmy was playing. Our parents are big Buffett fans, so we’re the next generation. It’s been on our bucket list to see him,” said Colleen Cade, who like her sister is in her 20s — a bit younger than many of the fans gathered for Tuesday’s concert. “It’s just chill vibes. It’s people that don’t want to work, and just want to party and relax. And we’ve never been to Bangor so it’s been really fun to see this part of Maine.”
Buffett’s show was the sixth concert overall at the newly renovated Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor so far this year. Up next in the concert season will be A Day To Remember on Aug. 3, Incubus on Aug. 7, and Pitbull and Iggy Azalea on Aug. 11.