When we think of the word Parrot Head, the name Jimmy Buffett immediately comes to mind. This is hardly any surprise as the most common definition of the term is “Jimmy Buffett fan”, but there is so much more to being a Parrot Head than attending a concert or listening to his album with a Margarita on a Sunday afternoon.
The identity of the Buffett Parrot Head has grown over the decades to symbolize a love of the lifestyle that Buffett sings about and a desire to kick back whenever possible with good music, good friends, and good drinks and just let the world go by.
While the generosity and spirit of the fan base are to be applauded, one important question remains for outsiders looking in – how did that name stick?
Why Parrot Head?
The name Parrot Head may not sound like the last term of endearment for a group of fans, but it is a name that has
stuck with this band of devout followers ever since the summer of 1985.
During a concert at the Timberwolf Amphitheater in Cincinnati, OH, it was noted by Timothy B. Schmit, a Coral Reefer Band member at the time, that many of the audience members were not only wearing tropical dress, with flowers around their necks and Hawaiian shirts, but that they had inflatable parrots on their heads.
After proudly exclaiming that the fan base was not a bunch of “dead heads”, but rather “parrot heads,” the name stuck.
The Parrot Heads Were Born And Soon Spread Their Wings To Create Clubs And “Keets”.
Since then, the identity of the Parrothead has continued to grow beyond the concert halls and even beyond Jimmy Buffett. The culture of Margaritaville and the desire to embrace the ethos of a laid back lifestyle of generosity and friendship has expanded into a way of life that is about more than the music. Fans now embrace the term and have created their little glossary to bring them even closer together.
They “lock” together on social occasions and nurture their “Keets” – the offspring and young initiates that still have a lot to learn about this culture. Groups that once met at a Buffett concert can now continue their association through other avenues.
A series of clubs and organizations have been set up where they can spread goodwill and positivity, and they have kept the Parrot Head name. There are non-profit Parrot Head clubs across America where fans can meet, catch up and do something great for the local community.
Today, you are probably just as likely to find a flock of Jimmy Buffett Parrot Head tailgating at a Jack Johnson concert and sharing cheeseburgers in hot dress as you are to see one in full inflatable plumage in its original habitat.
The movement has grown into a lifestyle with the aim to spread joy across the world, and newcomers are welcome, even if they have limited knowledge of Jimmy Buffett’s music. If you see one in the wild, give them a quick “fins up!” salute. You may even get a free drink out of it.