This Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Retirement

I guess I should have waited a few more days before making last week’s post about today’s graying audiences not being the same graying audiences of two decades ago. Toward the end of last week I saw that Jimmy Buffet is launching Margaritaville branded and themed retirement communities.

Even if you view this as a cynical way to capitalize on the name, you have to admit that the Margaritaville name defines a lifestyle. There is a specific demographic who identify with this lifestyle and most of them weren’t retiring 20 years ago.

This reinforces the point I made last week that while the proportion of gray heads in the audience may seem to have remained constant for the last two decades, the current cohort that comprises your older audiences have distinct characteristics and interests.  Their parents wouldn’t want to live in a Margaritaville retirement village in significant numbers, nor would their grandchildren. (Their kids, maybe.)

Ultimately, the differences between the Margaritaville communities and those already being built by the company Buffett is partnering with may be superficial. It might be the same ground plans with different color schemes, furniture and soundtrack, but the company is telling retirees that they understand they have different expectations of their retirement experience than previous generations.

More to think about, eh?

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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