Music on the Bay: What is it all about?
It is the best Parrot Head party under the sun with children to benefit from a triple award winning Trop Rock packed venue. Parrot Heads and Trop Rock lovers gather to play in the white soft sand of Whiskey Joe’s Barefoot Bar and enjoy two stages of revolving music all day.
Dorothy Bedlin (President of Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club) explained it best all weekend what this event is about “Fun, music and the children is why we are so happy to welcome everyone.” Music on the Bay is a huge Shriners benefit for the children’s hospital. “We wanted everyone to have a chance to pick and choose a day pass or a weekend pass for anyone who would like to attend. Parrot Head or non-Parrot Head’s are welcome to join in on this fundraiser. Opening it up to the public has brought more awareness for the Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club.”
Diana DeVercelly with tearful eyes agreed “This event is all about raising money for the kids. It warms my heart to see everyone here.”
Mike and Julie Peacock of Space Coast Parrot Head Club helped to run registration with a wonderful group of volunteers that helped over 1200 attendees in getting the pre-registered guests setup and help walk-up guests learn about the venue they are about to enter. Attendees from across the United States, Canada and a small group all the way from France enjoyed the treasures of sand, sun and tropical music uniting us all as one dynasty to help the kids.
It takes a year and a legion of dedicated volunteers to meet, plan and agree for this event to happen. Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club, Space Coast Parrot Head Club, Sarasota Bay Parrot Head Club and Whiskey Joe’s (Marty Duffany and his staff) all pitch in to do their part in this masterfully well orchestrated event. Thank you all for a job well done and your hard work did not go unnoticed!
New contests and awards were added this year to enhance Parrot Head Club group attendance. The Tampa Bay PHC sure has a sense of humor! While designing and planning the “Most Attended Club” award they decided the award would be in the shape of a caveman style club with a parrot on it.
The Parrot Heads of North Carolina took the “Most Attended Club” award home with their group count at 51 in attendance and you could not miss the N.C. group as they were all at four Palapas and around the beach. I always enjoy hanging out with this extremely fun loving group at many Parrot Head events and always look forward to the next time we get together.
The Parrot Head Hat contest was an innovative display of fashion week Buffett style as the contestants walked down lumber laid over sand to reach the stage strolling and strutting their hats to the Jimmy Buffett song lyrics that inspired the creations. All had such great style and inspired you to sing the lyrics as soon as you saw the hats.
“Gravity Storm” (Kevin Connor, N. Arlington, NJ) took 3rd place with his hat and crowd sharing rum from his large coconut bra as he danced his way to the stage. 2nd Place winner “Carmen Miranda” – Melissa Bertoch (Tampa, TBPHC) and 1st Prize went to “Fins” Shawn Kuhlenschmidt – Cincinnati, Ohio. What a fun idea this was to enter representing your Parrot Head Club to create a hat and song theme to strut in front of over a thousand people.
Donation games were a great idea and the $5 donations to play Jumbo Jenga (Bob Seamon) went over very well all weekend with fun in the sun and funds for the kids. Raffles (Sharon Leverett) and Auctions (Gwyn Besner) had so many wonderful donations the odds were good to get a chance to win a vacation in the mountains, a cruise, signed guitars, furniture set, margarita blender and a whole lot of gift baskets to chose from all three days.
Sauce Boss with his gumbo and Howard Livingston along with MM24 using an outboard converted Johnson engine to make margaritas raised just over $4000 combined together for the kids.
What makes Music on the Bay so great?
The music line up is always packed with some of my favorite bands and has the most top notch entertainers in Trop Rock. I do like how I get introduced to new artists and get to see some of my favorite artists. Having a two stage system at one venue works perfectly for me. I enjoy listening to music all day and dancing with a few hundred of my feathered friends on a sandy beach.
I also love sitting in my chair with my feet soaking in the water enjoying a cool cocktail while I drift away in the lyrics of the Trop Rock Junkies, Jim Asbell and the Tropiholics, Sunny Jim, Michael Weiss, Jack Mosley Band and Jim Morris & the Big Bamboo Band just to name a few.
Dancing to all the bands on a wooden flat or sandy beach is what makes you feel like you are on an exclusive island getaway. Everyone joins in on group dancing with palm tree arms swaying and hula girl dance moves as the dancing areas become a smiling happy place for people to meet and greet. I met so many new friends in the dance areas and learned some new moves to Jeff and the Cameros.
Danced and played with the new masked and cape flying monkeys during Sunny Jim’s showcase. I really enjoyed my hugs dancing and swaying to “Hollow Man” when Mike Miller along with The Boat Drunks played this song to a thousand of us who can relate to this song in so many ways.
The sunsets are a special time to grab your camera, drink, friend or just a chair while you soak up the day’s last rays of sunshine watching the sun melt into a versicolored sky just before the stars take over the dark night. I even listened in on Trop Rock Artist Loren Davidson giving camera advice for the best sunset pictures.
At dusk, the fire pits light up the comfy warm gathering areas to help heat up the conversations. The fire pits may be lined with strange chairs and few beach blankets for cozy moments with its own tag line like Vegas, “What happens around the fire -stays around the fire!”
The memory of Thursday evening opening with Rich “Schooner” McGuire, Bill Cockrell and Rudy Cox was so packed with talent I could have left truly satisfied, but they were just the start to an evening of incredible performances. No one does an opening night like Music On The Bay.
The Margaritaville stage headlined John Frinzi, James “Sunny Jim” White, Melanie Howe and special guests for the evening. Guests that just kept our cardiovascular systems going from the amazing voice of Heather Vidal, memories with original former Coral Reefer Roger Bartlett, Pete Merryman from Mad Beach Band and Howie Golub of The Boat Drunks. It was a Trop Rock magical night with all the glory that a Grand Opening night could bring.
This was not planned and it worked out so perfect that NASA had a successful rocket launch Friday evening right before Jimmy and The Parrots took stage. Jimmy Maraventano made a comment referring to the loud claps and cheers – how cool to have a rocket open for you. Moments like this are what make a vacation memory become a lasting story of the moment NASA launched a rocket on the East coast of Florida that could be seen from the Bay of Tampa as Jimmy and The Parrots took the stage in 2016- “I was there!”
The private venue allows the Artists from all the bands to mingle freely with the crowd and enjoy listening to their fellow friends perform. I will never get tired of seeing that expression on someone’s face when they are out dancing in the sand and realize that they are dancing with Sunny Jim, Sheree Cade, Mike Miller, Bill Cockrell, Steve Tolliver or swaying with Jim Morris to some of the great Trop Rock sounds of whatever Artists are up on stage.
The Boat Drunks showcased one of their very own hidden treasures keyboard player Andy Gaines wife Amy Gaines. Amy Gaines joined the Boat Drunks on stage as a duet, back up and solo artist catching the phlock off guard as to who this new member is. I spoke with Mike Miller who explained Amy has been filling in a bit here and there when it works out for her schedule, but it could become more. Let’s hope so, as Amy brought a breath of sound that blended right into a perfect mixture of boat drinking.
The moments you get to share a cocktail or a banana with an Artist as they meet and greet with all their old and new friends. Telling stories of where they have been since you last saw them and where they are headed until you meet again.
While dancing and chatting in the crowd you learn so much about the bands, other parrot head clubs and who is the new artist that has been the show stoppers. This year there were two marvelous female guest stars that stood out from the rest, Heather Vidal of “Copper Sky” and “Tropical Soul” joining the stage with many artists showcasing her phenomenal voice and Amy Gains (as mentioned above) joining in with the Boat Drunks.
Music On The Bay 2016 brought the Magic and I can’t wait to start my vacation all over again in 2017 at Whiskey Joe’s Barefoot Bar along with all the Trop Rock I can stand.