Tailgating and margaritas: Bangor gets ready for hordes of Jimmy Buffett fans

Singer Jimmy Buffett performs during NBC's 'Today' show Summer Concert Series in New York City, U.S., July 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Singer Jimmy Buffett performs during NBC’s ‘Today’ show Summer Concert Series in New York City, U.S., July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

It’s finally here. The day the Parrotheads in Maine have been waiting for — the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, announced way back in dark, cold February, is here, set for (hopefully) sunny, warm Thursday, Aug. 18.

Likely to be one of the biggest concerts the DWP has ever hosted, the sold-out show is expected to attract well over 15,000 people to downtown Bangor, and the City and its businesses have planned accordingly, with deals and special events geared toward the iconic singer’s many fans.

Buffett has attracted legions of fans over the years who follow him on tour from city to city, bringing with them a traveling carnival of tailgating accoutrements — from lawn chairs and grills, to inflatable sharks, ice luges for beverages, kiddie pools and actual parrots. Bangor’s concert is expected to be no exception, though the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion differs from the other large venues Buffett normally plays, in that it’s located right in the middle of the city’s downtown, rather than on the outskirts of town, and lacks one large, centralized parking area for tailgating.

No matter though: Bangor is going to make do. For starters, the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion will has limited — and completely sold out — VIP parking near the venue, as well as a “picnic area” that is open to the public for tailgating sans the tail to gate (i.e., no cars).

If, however, you’re not one of the lucky few that managed to snag on-site parking, there are still tailgating opportunities for diehard Parrotheads. The Anah Shriners, located at 1404 Broadway, will open up their large parking lot at their Shrine Hall to tailgating at $30 per vehicle, beginning at noon the day of the concert, until space runs out. That $30 includes shuttles to and from the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, and it benefits the Shriners Hospital for Children.

There’s also parking, as usual, at the Bass Park and Cross Insurance Center parking lots, which are also open to tailgating — though those are, of course, City of Bangor property, so it would behoove you crazy Buffett fans to behave yourselves and not leave a mess. Additional parking is in the garages in both Pickering Square and at Hollywood Casino.

If you don’t plan to tailgate, but do want to indulge in some pre-Buffett loosening up, downtown Bangor offers numerous opportunities for concert-goers who want something within walking distance of the venue. Pepino’s Mexican Restaurant, located on Park Street, will offer Margarita Madness starting at 11 a.m., with drink specials, door prizes, giveaways and a free lei for everyone that walks through the door. The Sea Dog Brewing Company, just a few minutes’ walk from the DWP, will have a Jimmy Buffett Pre-Party beginning at noon, with a live reggae band, giant Jenga, corn hole, giveaways and a special Caribbean menu all afternoon and evening. Evenrood’s, located on Broad Street, will have a free raffle all week to win a pair of Buffett tickets, with a drawing set for Wednesday, Aug. 17, and a Landshark Lager and cheeseburger deal all week, including the day of the concert. And across the river in Brewer, Mason’s Brewing Company has brewed with Left Hand Brewing out of Colorado a special Parrothead beer just for the occasion — and you can reserve a table out on the patio, where you can hear the (albeit somewhat muted) concert from a distance.

Are you coming to Bangor for the full Buffett experience? How are you planning to celebrate? Are you a veteran Parrothead, or a first-timer? The BDN will have full coverage of the concert and the fun leading up to it this Thursday; check back for more.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.