Special Reports

Jimmy Buffett draws thousands to Alabama beach, stores

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Tens of thousands of people sang and danced on a broad Alabama beach at a free Jimmy Buffett concert meant to help the Gulf Coast through the oil spill crisis.

The show at Gulf Shores, Ala., accomplished its goal of luring visitors. Parking lots were fuller than they had been in days outside of hotels, condominiums, restaurants and souvenir stores.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley says the state might use its $15 million in tourism promotion money from BP to stage additional shows through the fall. The crowd included Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Organizers gave away 35,000 tickets, but an officials attendance count wasn’t available.

The concert originally was scheduled for July 1 but had to be postponed because of heavy surf from Hurricane Alex.