KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Several thousand admirers of Jimmy Buffett, known as “Parrot Heads,” are flocking to the island credited with inspiring the multitalented entertainer’s signature sound for their 27th annual “Meeting of the Minds” convention.
Events are scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 31, through Sunday, Nov. 4, in Key West, the laidback locale that fed Buffett’s early creativity and figures prominently in albums such as “A1A,” named for the highway leading to the island city. His lyrics are rich in references to Key West landmarks such as Fausto’s Food Palace and Blue Heaven Restaurant.
In the mid-1980s Buffett founded his first Margaritaville Store in Key West’s Lands End Village. Today located on Duval Street beside the Margaritaville Café, it remains a mecca for Parrot Heads.
Events during the 2018 convention include performances by Buffett band members and friends — including longtime cohorts Marshall Chapman, Roger Bartlett and Will Kimbrough — as well as a rocking street concert, charity events and beachside musical performances at the Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, at 1500 Reynolds St
While Jimmy occasionally surprises Parrot Heads in Key West, current members of his Coral Reefer band are definitely on the 2018 event’s talent roster. Among them are legendary singer/songwriter Mac McAnally, guitarist Peter Mayer, percussionist Eric Darken, steel pedal guitar player Doyle Grisham, keyboard master Michael Utley and steel drum wizard Robert Greenidge.
Also scheduled to take the stage are regional and Parrot Head favorites including Tropical Soul, John Frinzi, “Sauce Boss” Bill Wharton and acclaimed Nashville singer/songwriter James T. Slater.
Most convention activities are open only to registered members of Parrot Head clubs, but the public is welcome at The Lone Palm Foundation Meeting of the Minds Street Festival, planned for noon to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, adjacent to Margaritaville at Duval and Fleming streets.
The street fest entertainment lineup includes Trop Rock Junkies, Divers and convention veterans Boat Drunks.
As well as appreciating Buffett’s music and mindset, Parrot Head Club members focus on widespread humanitarian activities. In 2017, members of U.S. and international Parrot Head chapters contributed more than $4.1 million and nearly 200,000 volunteer hours to local and national charities.