Jimmy Buffett in Des Moines: Everything a Parrothead needs to know before the big concert
Singer Jimmy Buffett spawned an entire lifetstyle out of his song "Margaritaville" creating an entire subculture known as Parrot Heads. As his fan base reaches retirement age, Buffett is planning "Margaritaville retirement communities." The first one, Latitude Margaritaville, will open in Daytona Beach, Florida. The community is for Parrotheads "55 and better" who are in search of an "active adult community." Other communities are also in the works. Thomas Gounley/News-Leader
America’s undisputed king of kickin’ back is headed back to the Hawkeye state.
Margaritaville’s own Jimmy Buffett plays Wells Fargo Arena on May 22, bringing with him a collection of easy-goin’ country rock tunes alongside the Coral Reefer Band.
Here’s everything you need to know — from parking to tailgating to Buffett’s setlist — ahead of the big show.
The tailgate: Buffett brings with him a fan following, self-proclaimed Parrotheads, that is matched by few — and they like to party.
The Iowa Events Center plans to kick off happy hour at 2 p.m. with a tailgate featuring beer specials, food trucks and live music from The Bamboozlers.
The “Tuesday on the Island” tailgate is a free, all-ages and rain or shine event.
The Iowa Events Center parking lot, north of the arena between Third and Fifth avenues, opens on show day at 8 a.m., with extra tailgate parking available downtown at Principal Park. Parking costs $8 per car and $32 for buses and RVs.
What Buffett’s been doing: It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a studio album from Buffett and his band, with 2013’s “Songs From St. Somewhere” behind his last released collection of original tracks.
He’s been busy, though. The 71-year-old’s taken his tunes to Broadway, helping launch "Escape to Margaritaville," a jukebox musical featuring the singer’s beloved songs. The musical debuted in New York City earlier this year.
He last added to his recorded canon in November 2017, releasing the first volume of “Buried Treasure,” a collection of tracks Buffett captured in 1969.
Buffett last performed for Iowa's Parrotheads at Wells Fargo Arena in 2012, his first Des Moines concert since stopping at Principal Park (then Sec Taylor Stadium) in 1985.
What you could hear: The show comes as part of the “Son of a Son of a Sailor” tour, celebrating 40 years of Buffett’s 1978 release of the same name — the album that gave the world tracks such as “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Son of a Son of a Sailor.”
Buffett’s been playing at shows this year “Son of a Son …," “Cheeseburger," “Volcano” and "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere," his classic numbers. He’s also thrown a few cover tracks into his set, notably the Eagles “Take It Easy,” Bob Marley and the Wailers favorite “One Love” and the Allman Brothers Band tune “Little Martha.”
Country songwriter Caroline Jones is billed as a special guest, having appeared on stage with Buffett for “Come Monday” at past dates. The singer released her newest album, “Bare Feet,” in August 2017.
Show doors open at 6:30 p.m. with music set to kick off at 8 p.m.
Security: All who plan to attend the show will pass through a full-body metal detector prior to entering the arena. Arena officials suggest show-goers plan for additional time to enter the building. Music kicks off at 7:30 p.m., the events center website says.
Iowa Events Center security protocol prohibits items such as drugs and illegal substances, weapons of any type and outside food or drink in the arena for shows. A full breakdown of what can and can’t be brought in is listed at iowaeventscenter.com.
Additional parking and tickets: Tickets cost $36, $76 or $146 before fees and are still available at the time of publication. Tickets can be purchased via Hy-VeeTix.com, at the Wells Fargo Arena box office or at participating Des Moines and Ames Hy-Vee locations.
Paid street parking and ramps, varying in cost, can be found throughout downtown. A full list of parking options can be found at downtowndesmoines.com.