Live Nation, Hanover officials dodge questions about KeyBank Pavilion traffic
Fans might want to arrive early for Friday’s Zac Brown Band show at KeyBank Pavilion.
You could be waiting in your car for a while.
Live Nation, the entertainment company that owns the Hanover Township amphitheater near Burgettstown, won’t say if it is doing anything to address reports of long waits and traffic problems before a similar show this month.
When Luke Bryan took the stage three weeks ago at the amphitheater, some fans complained of a traffic nightmare that left them waiting in lines of cars for more than three hours.
Some reported on social media that they missed most of the show because of traffic.
The venue is located off of Route 18, a four-lane highway, near its intersection with Route 22-30. Concertgoers turn off the the four-lane highway onto the two-lane Star Lake Lane before parking.
“We always encourage fans to arrive early and subscribe to venue communications for updates for the most seamless entry experience,” Morgan Nicholson, marketing manager with Live Nation Pittsburgh, said in an email.
She did not respond to inquiries about how traffic will be handled for Friday’s show — only pointing out that there were no traffic issues during a festival Saturday that featured Willie Nelson, Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dawes, and Ghost Hounds. The Outlaw Festival, as it was dubbed, was a day-long event, not an evening show.
Evening shows have been a problem at the venue, which has been known a handful of names — Star Lake Amphitheater and First Niagara Pavilion among them — since it opened in 1990. Reports from its first shows, two sold-out Billy Joel concerts, note traffic problems. Traffic backed up to five miles on Route 22-30 before the Route 18 exit to the venue in 1992 when the Grateful Dead played a pair of shows.
More recently, fans complained about missing most of a Jimmy Buffett concert at the venue last July. Long lines stretched from the entry gates as the show started. Many fans reported waiting for hours in traffic, to park and to get inside the venue. Live Nation issued vouchers to fans who didn’t pass through the gates by 8:25 p.m. The vouchers were equal to price of the ticket for the Buffett show and good for other shows at KeyBank Pavilion or any other Live Nation venue.
Live Nation offered no such deal to fans complaining about traffic after the June 7 Luke Bryan show, with Cole Swindell and Jon Langston. One woman wrote on Facebook that it was her worst experience ever at a concert. She claimed she waited in traffic for four hours, missed everything but the last 40 minutes of the show and had to wait another hour to leave.
She said she spent $140 on the concert, left at 4 p.m. to get to the 7 p.m. show and wasn’t inside until 9:40 p.m.
“Major traffic was expected and communicated to all fans via social media, a series of emails to ticket purchasers, on-air discussions with country radio, etc.,” Nicholson said.
The majority of attendees — more than 90% — were parked and had tickets scanned by 9:15 p.m. for Luke Bryan, she said.
“In addition to these notifications, KeyBank Pavilion takes every effort to open parking lots at 3 p.m. to alleviate high traffic times. This is six hours prior to headliner taking the stage (on) a normal basis,” she said, offering an apology to fans who “experienced trouble getting into the show.”
Hanover Township police Chief Stan Henry did not respond to multiple inquiries for comment. Hanover Township officials also did not return calls from the Trib to talk about traffic issues.
The Zac Brown Band: The Owl Tour, which features the Zac Brown Band and Drake White, is listed to start at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Staff writer Paul Guggenheimer contributed to this report. Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.