They arrive hours before the show begins to tailgate and party. Long before the sun sets and the Dave Matthews Band takes the stage.
Call them repeat offenders, the superfans who have seen the jam band play numerous times at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach.
This Friday and Saturday, they will make the trip again, and like always will hang out by their cars before the show, cooking on the grill and drinking beers while blasting their favorite DMB songs from the car stereo.
William Midtbo, of Fort Lauderdale, will attend both shows. It will be his 18th and 19th, respectively. He's seen the band perform in U.S. cities such as Las Vegas, but enjoys coming to the Cruzan because of the pre-show fun. "I tailgate pretty early and usually get there by noon, and I always run into someone I know."
Kathleen Berzon, of Boca Raton, is attending her third DMB show on Friday. She doesn't know if she'll tailgate, but plans on sweating it out just for a chance to see her favorite musicians.
"They're one of the only bands I've seen more than once in concert because I find the music and the atmosphere infectious," she says. "It's always a good vibe. Everybody is singing and having a good time."
The band, with its fanbase cultivating a more up-close-and-personal experience, typically will host meet-and greets after concerts for Warehouse members (those belonging to the band's fan association) and a few lucky others.
Andy Benedetto, of Boston, has seen DMB perform 69 times. This weekend, he'll return to Cruzan for the second time, where last year he met violinist Boyd Tinsley. "You will not meet nicer people than DMB fans, and not to mention the band. They're just fun-loving people."
Earlier this week, two fans on their way to a Dave Matthews concert in Pennsylvania pulled over to help a stranded bicyclist. He turned out to be none other than Matthews himself. As a thank you, the lead singer gave them front row tickets and backstage access.
"I mean I definitely would've done the same thing," Benedetto said. "But I wouldn't ask for anything. I would just help the man get to the venue so I can hear my favorite band play."
Jake Vigliotti, of Orlando, is one of the founder's of Antsmarching.org, a popular online community for DMB fans that formed in 2002.
He says one of the reasons the Cruzan Amphitheater is a popular fan destination for both locals and visitors is because of the venue itself – especially for those sitting in the lawn area. During the concert, the grassy area resembles something you might see at a Grateful Dead or Phish concert: blankets lay sprawled out on the ground, and a haze of marijuana smoke follows the crowd dancing.
"It's more than a show, it's like a festival," Vigliotti says. "You sort of get this subculture feeling where the people you meet have the same interests as you, and you know you'll never see the same show or setlist twice."
Dave Matthews Band
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with Blind Pilot
Where: Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach
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