They came for cheeseburgers in paradise and to see how a pirate looks at 40, making Sunday night’s concert the largest attended so far this year for the Fourth of July concert series. Complete with palm trees and surf boards on stage, that’s the kind of attention the Jimmy Buffet tribute band, Changes in Latitudes, tends to draw.
Even the intermittent rain couldn’t dampen the tropical mood that the band carries with them.
Fred Machado of Westport and Debra Lavoie of Fall River, Mass. set up their lawn chairs close to the stage to catch a good view of the band.
“We come down every year for the concerts,” Ms. Lavoie said.
Her favorite show so far this year was on Thursday, when Scarab, a Journey tribute band, played. But on Sunday, she and the group she was with were ready for a “change in latitude” wearing a colorful, Hawaiian lei to get into the tropical mood.
It wasn’t long before their view of the stage was interrupted by the dozens of “parrotheads,” a name given to fans of Jimmy Buffet who often don tropical inspired costumes such as leis and fake parrots. In Bristol-turned-Margaritaville, Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops or barefeet were optional.
The large turnout was expected, said Ray Lavey, chairman of the concert committee. Mr. Lavey, a former musician, spends countless hours going out to hear bands who want to play in Bristol. He said that while about one in five make to the Independence Park stage, some bands he already knows will be popular need no audition.
“I typically don’t hire anyone unless I see them first,” Mr. Lavey said of selecting bands. “Every year they draw a huge crowd,” he said of the tropical band.
While event planners hope to draw a large crowd of concertgoers to Bristol, the weeklong Fourth of July celebration, crowd control can be a concern to law enforcement. So far police said, things have gone fairly smoothly.
According to Deputy Chief Steven Contente, police investigated a couple of reports of backpacks left unattended in public areas. In each of these cases, they turned out to be oversights by the owners.
Police are advising that concert goers and parade attendees pay attention to their surroundings and report anything that appears suspicious as a precautionary measure.