Earlier tailgating for Buffett show
By Jessi Virtusio email@example.com May 4, 2012 10:38PM
Jimmy Buffett will perform June 30 at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. It is the first time in five years since he's been to that venue. | AP file photo
Updated: June 7, 2012 8:21AM
To appease the Parrotheads, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre has bumped up the tailgating start time for the June 30 Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert.
Originally slated to open at 3:30 p.m., the parking lot at the outdoor theater in Tinley Park now will open at 2 p.m.
“We just know how much tailgating is part of the concert experience with the Jimmy Buffett audiences,” said Jon Reens, senior director of marketing/Midwest for Live Nation, which operates the theater. “In working with the village of Tinley Park, we were able to get an earlier lot time that allowed for tailgating.”
But some Buffett fans are passing on the Southland concert because of the late start to tailgating.
Previous Buffett concerts at Toyota Park in Bridgeview featured all-day tailgating prior to the show, with gates opening at 9 a.m. for last summer’s show.
Oak Lawn resident Jim Baker, 47, has gone to about 32 Buffett concerts and said he’s passing on the Tinley Park show due to the later start time and setup at First Midwest.
“For core Parrotheads, hanging out in the parking lot is a big deal,” said Baker, who attended the 2011 concert. “Last year, we had one of those inflatable pools. I think it was 5 feet across, 10 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep. We brought a water truck and filled it up. I also brought 2,000 pounds of sand and made a beach.”
“Tinley was never a ton of fun,” Baker said. “The only space is the walk-around. I guess that’s great if you don’t put in all the work and bring props and displays and really don’t think about what your theme for the year is.”
Reens said fans will have plenty of time to tailgate at this summer’s show.
“We are opening when we can open to accommodate tailgating,” he said. “I don’t know what they do at other buildings, but I know what we do typically at that building and we wanted to provide tailgating and took the steps necessary to provide it.
“The show starts at 8 p.m., and we’re opening the doors at 2 p.m. That’s six hours of tailgating. This tailgating experience is going to be like any you can have at any other building. We hope everyone will join us for the show.”
More about this show including additional comments from Jon Reens and Jim Baker is at blogs.southtownstar.com/fmba.