Get ready, Parrotheads!
On Thursday, July 21, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band will be performing at Riverbend Music Center as part of the Life on the Flipside Redux tour. There is no doubt that Jimmy Buffett mania has taken over Cincinnati for over 30 years, and in order to fully grasp the scope of his influence here in Cincinnati, you need to first understand the fandom.
Buffett fans are known as Parrotheads, a fandom nickname that originated here in Cincinnati.
In 1985, when Buffett was performing at Timberwolf Ampitheater, Timothy Schmidt, a former member of the Coral Reefer Band, noticed fans wearing parrot hats and Hawaiian shirts. He called them Parrotheads, a play on words to mimic the Grateful Dead fans known as Deadheads.
Since 1984, Buffett has stopped in Cincinnati on every tour, and in 1993, he performed five consecutive nights here.
Matt Corcoran, a current member and former president of the Parrothead fan club, attended four of the Riverbend shows in 1993. The proud Buffett fan has attended 121 concerts since his first concert here in 1984.
As far as Corcoran is concerned, there is more to a Buffett concert than just margaritas and grass skirts.
“I can’t speak for everyone, for most, there’s a lyric, an emotion, a memory that connects someone to a song,” said Corcoran. “As for Cincinnati, we’re landlocked, there’s no beach, no ocean and it’s cold half the year ... Jimmy Buffet and his concert is the one time we can dress up in tropical outfits, let loose and get that escapism that gets us through our daily lives.”
It is for this reason that Cocoran attends multiple concerts, even if it is only for a short period of time, it is his chance to live the lifestyle Buffett sings about. Not to mention the wild tailgating parties.
According to Patty Doak, current president of the Cincinnati Parrothead Club, Jimmy Buffett holds a special place in her heart, and she firmly believes that his music saved her soul.
In the past, Doak had some trouble coping with the separation of her parents when they moved to Okeechobee, Florida. It was her friend who introduced her to Buffett as a way to put her mind at ease.
“A friend knew I was having a hard time and handed me a cassette tape of Jimmy Buffett music,” said Doak. “She said, 'I can't get you to Florida to be with them, but maybe this music will help you feel like you are closer to your family.' ”
Doak described listening to Buffett and his stories as 'magic.' “My mind and heart were in sunny Florida,” said Doak.
After attending her first Buffett concert in 1994, Doak went to every show except in 2003, the year her dad passed away. But through it all, she found comfort in the songs of Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.
In 2019, Doak was elected president of the fan club, which marks its 21st anniversary this year.
The Cincinnati Parrothead Club is no ordinary fan club, it is a happy family. According to Doak, it's a well-oiled machine that needs very little direction. In addition to providing a variety of social activities for people who have similar tastes and interests, this fan club is chartered by Parrot Heads in Paradise, the national Jimmy Buffett club association.
Buffett fans share a unique story that bonds them together. Whether it's tailgating in parking lots or jamming out at concerts, these Parrottheads know how to have a good time, and let's just say what happens at a Jimmy Buffett concert, stays at the Jimmy Buffett concert.
Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, July 21.
Where: Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Jimmy Buffett concert: Cincinnati loves him, Riverbend 2022 schedule