This Week at Hampton: Buffett Beach Blast

Blast away

Changes in Latitudes plays Buffett Beach Blast

Waste away again in Margaritaville at the Salisbury Blue Ocean Music Hall’s ninth annual Buffett Beach Blast. Join Changes in Latitudes, one of the country’s premier nationally acclaimed Jimmy Buffett tribute bands, Friday, July 27, at 8 p.m. for an authentic Coral Reefer Band and Jimmy Buffett experience.

“We really love the Blue Ocean,” said lead singer and band founder Steve Kareta. “We’ve played there for a bunch of years; the folks there at the Blue Ocean and the Salisbury Beach Partnership take really good care of us. They also make it a whole event, which we found really works well with the Buffett thing.”

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $30.

Bring a grill, find that lost shaker of salt and whip up a cheeseburger in paradise at the tailgate party in the parking lot adjacent to the music hall. Parking costs $15 per car and, according to Kareta, offers the most authentic Jimmy Buffet experience.

“The parrothead scene is much like Halloween. People love dressing up, people love being given a reason to party. We give them something to run with, and people take it to the extreme,” Kareta said. “We always roam around the tailgate and try to visit and see what’s going on and partake a little bit. We enjoy hanging with our fans so we’ll definitely go out and roam the tailgate before the show. It really is one of the most authentic shows we do of the year in terms of the whole Jimmy Buffett parrothead vibe.”
Kareta, a long-time parrothead, would spend time traveling the country attending Buffett concerts until a drunken suggestion at a friend’s wedding party 17 years ago sparked the inspiration for Changes in Latitudes, named after the popular Buffett song.

“I just brought my acoustic guitar and was playing at his party and in his drunken wisdom my buddy Tommy came over and said, ‘Hey, you kind of look like Buffett and you kind of sound like him’ and the rest is history,” said Kareta.

Since then, Changes in Latitudes has gone on to become one of the premier Buffett tribute bands in the country, having performed along with members of the Coral Reefer Band itself, and in venues including the Disney cruise ships Magic and Wonder, at the National Hamburger Festival in Akron, Ohio, and more.

Kareta and Changes in Latitudes practice a laid-back, casual demeanor similar to Buffett himself, and with 17 years’ experience this attitude provides the most realistic and authentic tropical Coral Reefer Band experience possible.

Flexibility and a large catalog of songs for any situation is something that Changes in Latitudes prides itself on, according to Kareta.

“We always just aim to have a good time. I haven’t quite decided what we’re going to throw in for the gems,” Kareta said. “Sometimes I surprise the band at the show and say, ‘Oh, let’s do this, we haven’t done this one in eight years.’ Sometimes I won’t know what the surprise is going to be until somebody in the audience goes, ‘Hey, can you guys play…’ and we go, ‘Sure we can, ready, go.’”

Kareta said the band can’t wait to party with the crowd.

“There will be cars with big huge shark fins duct taped to the top, and guys wearing the grass skirts with the coconut bras,” he said. “Everybody will have their tents set up in the parking lot decorated like a tiki bar and everybody tries to outdo the drink concoction or the cheeseburger combinations. It really is an excuse to get dressed up and people love being given a reason to party. … We have as much of a good time in Salisbury as the fans do.”

— Andrew Clay

*Featured photograph: ‘Changes in Latitude.’ Photo courtesy of founder and lead singer Steve Kareta.

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