The Washington Post

Buffett fans avoid Live Nation Disaster Hole

Shortly before the Jimmy Buffett show started at Jiffy Lube Live on Thursday night, the reserved-seating area was virtually empty. Typically, it would be a raucous party zone. (Josh White/The Washington Post)

So when Hurricane Irene forced the rescheduling of Saturday night’s show, Buffett fans took advantage. Live Nation offered refunds to those who couldn’t make the rescheduled date of Thursday. And Buffett told USA Today before the show that “10,000 people asked for refunds.”

The reserved-seating area was virtually empty until just before showtime, many empty seats remained throughout, and the lawn area, usually a packed festival of weirdness, had open patches of green, fans reported.

In addition, I’m told that the beer lines were nonexistent, which would be, uh, unusual for this type of event. Buffett did not have an intermission, which is also unusual, and one fan suggested it might have been a way to cut into LNDH’s concession sales. USA Today reported that alcohol was available through the end of the show. Peter Chewning, president of the Washington Area Parrot Head Club, said that he didn’t go but that he “heard that a bunch of people came disguised as empty seats.” Colleague Josh White, who has seen many Buffett shows, said the quiet parking lot, the lack of a party atmosphere inside and the rampant sobriety made it “by far the weirdest Buffett experience I’ve ever had.”

Buffett already doesn’t play Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland because of similar restrictions. [A source at I.M.P., which handles Merriweather, notes that Buffett doesn’t play there because he is managed by Live Nation, which doesn’t want its artists going to competing venues.] Could he now move the party to Wolf Trap? Heck, they let you bring your own beer inside, to the lawn. Much smaller capacity though. For bigger venues, there’s RFK Stadium (anything goes, inside and out) or Nationals Park (parking is spread out but tailgating is permitted). interviewed angry Parrot Heads here.

Were you there? Would you do it again? Have your say below.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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