Garth Brooks Event Labeled ‘Worst Concert Experience’ As Fans Demand Refunds For ‘Catastrophic’ Parking Situation
Garth Brooks’ fans are demanding refunds for a concert that took place at the newly expanded Thunder Ridge Nature Arena…
Thunder Ridge Nature Arena; Photos via Twitter
Garth Brooks’ fans are demanding refunds for a concert that took place at the newly expanded Thunder Ridge Nature Arena at Bass Pro Shops’ Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri on Friday (Sept. 30) after a “nightmare” situation.
The concert reportedly sold over 80,000 tickets and fans claimed that the venue could not handle the overwhelming amount of concergoers arriving in the parking lot ahead of the show.
According to several news outlets and angry Twitter posts, many attendees were upset as they missed most or all of Brooks’ concert due to being stuck waiting in traffic for several hours as there were allegedly no available spaces in the full parking lots.
KY3 News shared that the venue lacked a solid shuttle system, which forced some fans to have to walk down Highway 86.
Jeff Wilhoit, a Bass Pro Shops leader, told the outlet that they hired an outside company to coordinate the shuttle system. “We hired a company called ASM Global. They do large events all over the country,” he explained.
Wilhoit shared that ASM Global works with FEMA and when the hurricane hit Florida, FEMA took most of their allotted shuttles meant to be used for the concert.
In addition to shuttle and parking issues, there were also alleged ADA complaints, saying that the venue could not properly accommodate fans with disabilities.
“It’s heartbreaking, honestly. It’s hard to know what to say to those folks. There were people that absolutely, it was a challenge on Friday night. It’s heartbreaking to watch those folks. Especially the ADA folks who had a hard time getting in,” Wilhoit acknowledged. “Again, for the vast majority of people, it was not only an amazing concert, it was the concert of a lifetime.”
“We had to scramble just to find some on Friday night. We would never encourage anyone to walk down Highway 86,” Wilhoit explained.
He promises the venue will improve in the future and that this show was a learning curve for them.
“Anytime you open something brand new, especially an arena of this size, you are going to have challenges,” he admitted.
Wilhoit extended his apologies to those who were not able to make it into the concert.
“I want to apologize. We are extremely sorry that they didn’t,” he said. For the vast majority, lots of people had an incredible time. You can tell by that aerial picture there were 20,000 people that had an incredible time. But for those folks that were not able to make it in, especially on Friday night when we had challenges, we are definitely sorry about that,” he said. “We will make it right with folks.
He then explained their plans to correct the issue.
“If they were not able to get in or got in the last song or something, we want to make it right with people. Johnny Morris is not in the business to scam people out of money. Thunder Ridge is in a not-for profit. (The) Johnny Morris Foundation and all the money raised from that concert goes back to conservation,” Wilhoit added.
Refunds are reportedly available for fans who never got to see the concert.
See below for fans reactions to the “nightmare” situation:
The concerts were held in celebration of Bass Pro’s 50th anniversary. The events took place at the newly expanded Thunder Ridge Nature Arena at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks of Missouri.
Originally planned for one night only, the demand for tickets forced concert organizers to add two additional nights.
Brooks took to social media after the shows to congratulate the Bass Pro Shops CEO on the milestone anniversary.
“Congratulations to my pal, Johnny Morris, on 50 years of @BassProShops! You ARE the American Dream! Thank YOU for inviting us to celebrate with you— we had a BLAST!!! love, g,” he wrote.
Garth Brooks has no tour dates on the books, according to his website.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.