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.