Jimmy Buffett with limited tailgating? No thank you

It’s lunchtime. Thursday. April 25. And that means I should be sitting on the tailgate of my truck in Parking Lot A at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, Georgia, pouring my first margarita, eating a cheeseburger and getting my tailgate on for tonight’s Jimmy Buffett concert.

But I’m not.

Oh, I bought tickets. I hit reload 700 times back in January to finally land two lawn tickets. Then I booked a hotel room for tonight. It was going to be my ninth Buffett concert but my first in seven years. And I was really, really looking forward to it. I even posted a blog about it.

Last week, I re-sold my tickets and canceled my hotel room. This week, I finally got the online booking site to refund my “non-refundable” hotel reservation.

Why? Because the folks at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre informed me that parking lots for the show would open at 5 p.m. If they got to feeling generous, they might let a few folks slip in 4 p.m. Some said Ameris told them the parking lot for which I had reservations might open at 2 p.m. but if it filled up early, they’d close it and you’d be stuck in overflow parking with no tailgating at all. It was all getting too complicated.

Three hours is not even close to adequate tailgating time for a Jimmy Buffett show. It’s barely adequate for Tony Bennett. The whole point of Buffett coming to town is to have Parrotheads phlock together for hours in a parking lot — drinking, dancing, drinking, meeting new friends, drinking, dressing crazy and drinking … all of those things. The concert is for sobering up.

Tailgating has to start by noon, 1 p.m. at the very latest. Otherwise, you might as well stay at home and watch the concert on MargaritavilleTV or listen on Radio Margaritaville — two outlets upon which Buffett graciously allows nearly every concert to be broadcast for free viewing. He knows he’s going to sell out his concerts regardless, and he makes his gazillions off the whole Margaritaville empire, not ticket sales. Bless the man for still touring at age 72, but it’s not a wild show. I love the music, but I can hear it just fine at home.

I wish the Margaritaville empire would allow only tailgate-friendly venues to host shows. Perhaps Jimmy should try another area of Georgia since he’s no fan of Lakewood Amphiteatre, where so many of his Atlanta shows have been and which had awesome tailgating. Unfortunately for his fans, Buffett doesn’t like the place and keeps trying other spots. Maybe he should do a show at Mercer’s football stadium in Macon, Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Georgia Tech, Georgia State or anywhere that would allow a full day of proper tailgating.

To do otherwise would be like the NRA having a convention in a gun-free zone or a NASCAR race where rebel flags and the number 3 are banned. It just ain’t right. That’s why I’ll be at home tonight, mixing a margarita and listening to the show on Radio Margaritaville and watching the NFL Draft with the TV’s sound off.

If you can’t host a full day of Parrotheads cutting loose like in the video below, then don’t host Buffett shows.

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