On Saturday (8-15), Kenny Chesney performed his only concert of 2014 at the beach area on the Gulf Coast known as Flora Bama straddling the Florida and Alabama state lines. It was a free concert Kenny threw for his fans, and one of the biggest major country concerts in the South during a summer concert season that has made headlines for the amount of trash, arrests, medical emergencies, alcohol incidents, DUI’s, rapes, and even death that has occurred at big mainstream country shows. Kenny Chesney’s Flora Bama concert saw “hundreds” of medical calls due to heat-related issues on a day with no clouds and 95-degree temperatures, but only one arrest was made in the crowd estimated at nearly 40,000.
Ken Grimes, the City Administrator for Orange Beach told WKRG News 5, “It was a very calm crowd for the most part, and heat was a big issue. So yeah, medical high intense. On the police side, very very low. So we appreciate the crowd. I think next year or anytime in the future, hydration in this [is important], and hopefully temperatures will be a little bit better. Heat index was high. But that was a the big issue, and I think traffic has moved well. I’m just real proud.”
Ken Grimes said that coordination for the event, especially when dealing with cross-state entities, was key. “I’m amazed with the staff. I appreciate all the staff with this. The impact is strong on the economic side. From a public safety side, all staff involved, both sides, both states, it was huge. Flora Bama’s done a great job with the event operation group … I think it worked great.”
Kenny Chesney took stage a little after 5 PM, and finished just before 7:30. Fans were let in on a first come basis, and were given wrist bands for admittance. Even though it was a free concert, with a lack of parking in the area, fans had to park elsewhere and take trolleys and buses to the location at a cost of $25. Nearly 400 boats also showed up along the coastline to take in the concert, and many fans floated in the surf to avoid the intense heat.
The event, entitled “Flora-Bama-Jama” is named for the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store. It is a 50-year-old roadhouse that has become legendary over time, and immortalized in numerous country songs, including Kenny Chesney’s latest single. The concert was held on the beach right behind the Flora Bama lounge.