KEY WEST, Florida Keys — When internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett wrote “I Have Found Me a Home” about Key West, he described riding his old red bike to “the bars and the beaches of my town.” Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 5-8, the island popularly credited as the inspiration for the entertainer’s hit “Margaritaville” is to host as many as 3,500 of his Parrot Head fans for their 18th annual Meeting of the Minds convention.
The 2009 convention is themed Floridays, recalling the title of a classic Buffett album.
Scheduled events include concerts by Buffett’s musical cohorts and friends, beachside parties and performances, charity auctions and raffles, a street festival with live music and an all-day oceanfront “Beach Bash” at the Casa Marina Resort, 1500 Reynolds St.
Buffett, who peppers his lyrics with references to Key West locales, established his Margaritaville Store on the island in 1985. A mecca for his fans, the store is now located beside his Margaritaville Café on Key West’s historic Duval Street. He also maintains a recording studio overlooking the former shrimp docks.
Headlining the 2009 convention’s entertainment schedule is the legendary rock band Little Feat, performing a private concert for attendees.
While Buffett occasionally makes a surprise visit to Key West for the Parrot Head bash, members of his Coral Reefer Band are definitely scheduled to appear. Among them are keyboard master Michael Utley and steel drum wizard Robert Greenidge headlining Club Trini, multitalented guitarist Peter Mayer, steel guitar guru Doyle Grisham and stellar vocalists Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson. Special guest Elo Ferrier is to showcase his talents as well.
The lineup also includes regional and Parrot Head favorites Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band, Jim Morris & The Big Bamboo Band, the Sunny Jim Band and John Frinzi.
Most convention activities are open only to registered members of Parrot Head clubs, but the public is invited to attend the Margaritaville Street Fest, planned for 1-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, adjacent to Margaritaville at Duval and Fleming streets. Street Fest entertainment is to be provided by Livingston and Mile Marker 24, “trop rockers” PHINS and Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef.
As well as sharing an appreciation for Buffett’s music and the laidback tropical lifestyle it promotes, Parrot Head club members focus on charitable, environmental, educational and humanitarian activities. Since 2002, members of the more than 200 national and international Parrot Head chapters have contributed more than $16.4 million and 2.3 million volunteer hours to local and national charities.
For more information, visit the Meeting of the Minds section of www.phip.com.
For information about lodging in Key West, call 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit the Keys Web site at www.fla-keys.com