RIDGEDALE, Mo. (KOLR/KOZL) — After many fans waited in bumper-to-bumper traffic before the Garth Brooks concert near Branson, Missouri, they decided to turn around and go home.
Ticket holders spent hours trapped in gridlock traffic on their way to Thunder Ridge Nature Arena in nearby Ridgedale only to find out that getting from the parking lot to the show was no easier.
“We left Kansas City around noon. We got into the Branson area about 4:00 p.m.,” said Michelle Boucher, who bought tickets for the concert Friday night. “It was 9:00 p.m. and we were still in line at the fruit farm lot to catch a shuttle, and people were actually coming back from the venue on the shuttles already. They were telling us that it took them an hour to get from the fruit farm parking lot to the venue. So then we were just like, yeah, we’re not doing that.”
Thunder Ridge Nature Arena is part of Big Cedar Lodge, a resort in Ridgedale, Missouri, that is owned by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops.
“They had two buses running that line back and forth to the fruit farm and those two buses held 54 people,” Boucher said. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of people parked at fruit farm for two buses.”
Since Friday, Boucher has spent hours calling Ticketmaster and Big Cedar Lodge, trying to get some sort of refund.
“From Ticketmaster, I’ve tried to contact them several times, and I keep getting that the venue has to OK the refunds to start happening, and that has not happened,” Boucher said.
As for Big Cedar, Boucher said one of the operators took down her name, number, and email. So far, the only refund she has received is for parking.
“I actually paid for the fruit farm parking on my debit card,” Boucher said. “On Monday, I contacted my bank and told them the situation. I told them what I had been getting, the feedback I got from Ticketmaster. And I woke up this morning and did have a refund for my parking.”
Nexstar’s KOLR has learned that Ticketmaster has been flooded with refund requests since the concert.
“I’m thankful for my $48, but I also like my $200 that I’ve spent on the Garth tickets,” Boucher said.
Some fans told KOLR they’ve had some luck with getting a credit for their tickets.
“We ended up working with Seat Geek Saturday, and they instantly were like, ‘Yes, we’ll get you a promo code just for you, just for the tickets’ and it was taken care of right away,” Heather Wyrick said.
Wyrick also bought tickets for Friday night’s concert. She drove from Kansas City to Springfield on Thursday.
“Originally, it said it was going to take about 45 minutes to get there,” Wyrick said. “Right before we left, it said like an hour and 45 minutes. We finally pulled into the fruit farm parking lot about 7:35 p.m. and a police officer was there and one of the parking attendants and they were like, ‘These people are not getting to this show.'”
Wyrick also called Ticketmaster and Big Cedar several times. Ticketmaster told her she could not get a refund for her parking.
“It was a relief to at least get our tickets taken care of,” Wyrick said. “If I have to eat the $50 for the parking, it is what it is. I mean, as long as we get something back out of all this, that’s better than nothing.”
Some fans said after reading social media posts about Friday night’s traffic, they decided not to attend.
“I had tickets for Sunday’s concert, but seeing the … craziness of Friday kind of turned us off to even trying to go,” said Ben Braun, who was traveling from St. Louis to attend the concert. “We would’ve had to leave at 3:00 in the morning. It just didn’t seem worth it.”
Braun also reached out to Ticketmaster about getting a refund. He said the company would call him later this week to help him with a refund.
“We didn’t want to, you know, get a hotel and spend the gas to get down there only to wait 6 hours and not even get in,” Braun said.
KOLR reached out to Bass Pro for comment on the parking concerns and potential refunds but did not receive a reply by publishing time.