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How the Gulf Concert Came Together

June 28th, 2010

The Alabama Press Register has an article on how the July 1st Gulf Coast concert with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, and others came to be: “Jimmy Buffett concert comes together quickly”

“To give you the exact timeline,” Philips said, “we literally made the connection the night of the CMT Awards, which was June 9.”

That meant that the day after CMT staff members put on “the biggest production of their lives,” he said, they were being turned on a dime for the Buffett show.

“We’re sending everybody,” Philips said. “It takes an army to make a show this big.”

A.J. Niland of Mobile-based HUKA Entertainment said he expects that by Thursday, the ranks of event workers will have surpassed 700, maybe 900. That includes those managed by HUKA, which is in charge of the site and infrastructure; the contingent from CMT; Buffett’s touring entourage; and a sizeable security team.

Niland said the show owes a lot to the recent Hangout Beach, Music & Arts Festival, which HUKA also produced. That experience, he said, helped HUKA convince Buffett’s team that the Gulf Shores beach was a viable location.

“Shows on the beach are very, very rarely done anywhere,” Niland said of large-scale events like the Hangout fest. “It’s not an ideal venue. We made it an ideal venue.”

Niland, like Philips, described Buffett as being extremely selective about where and when he plays.

“It’s important to them that the fans get the best Buffett experience,” Niland said. “We’re creating Margaritaville on the beach, for sure.”

Mike Foster, marketing manager for the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Buffett’s emphasis on quality was a major factor in determining how many concert-goers could attend.

The stage and sound system can only be so big, he noted.

Niland speculated that if the show were open to all, 200,000 fans might have tried to jam in. But a crowd that size would require video and sound production far beyond what was possible, to say nothing of the safety and traffic issues.

“It has to be a safe, enjoyable experience,” he said.

CMT will broadcast the show beginning at 7 pm Thursday. It will rebroadcast an edited version at 6 pm Friday, 8:30 pm July 3, 1 pm July 4, and 10:30 am July 5.

The show will also be shown on CMT.com, and can be heard on Radio Margaritaville.

Tagged in Charitable Causes, Concerts