Concertgoers trying to get to a Lumineers show at The Gorge Amphitheatre Friday evening were met with long, slowwww lines partly due to increased security following a June shooting at the venue that left two people dead and three injured.
The delays were so massive, many fans decided to turn around and drive away before ever making it to the iconic Central Washington venue.
“Would’ve been great if we could’ve made it and not sat in traffic for five hours instead!” one fan, Jessica Smith, wrote on The Lumineers’ Facebook page Saturday. “Been looking forward to our first Gorge concert for months. Now we’re never going back and out over $400.”
Several other would’ve-been attendees said they waited in line for over four hours for nothing. Live Nation, the giant entertainment company that owns the Quincy-area venue has yet to respond to a Seattle Times’ request for comment. Several ticket holders claimed on social media that they had not received a refund after missing the show due to traffic.
“We missed the entire concert and won’t be able to get our money back,” one ticket holders wrote. Another said, “We arrived early and the closest we got was 5.5 miles away. I saw about 16 miles of cars not moving.”
Delays were also caused by people trying to enter the property a night early, so they could camp out for an Eric Church concert on Saturday night, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
Foreman described the scene as thousands of people waited to enter The Gorge’s single entrance as “gridlock at a level that we’ve never experienced before.”
He said it also prevented locals from reaching their homes.
The Grant County Sheriff Joe Kriete apologized Saturday to residents and concertgoers for the vehicle logjam.
“Clearly, trying to move that many vehicles both in and out of the area simultaneously was not a good idea,” Kriete wrote on Facebook.
He said that the Sheriff’s Office will review plans this week with Live Nation and Grant County Public Works “to ensure this problem doesn’t happen again.”
Moving forward, Foreman said he expects the Sheriff’s Office position will be to “strongly” recommend to Live Nation that they only allow entrance for one concert at a time.
If that would have happened on Friday, Foreman said, “that wouldn’t have been theoretically twice the amount of people trying to go through the same space at the same time.”
The Lumineers — an American folk band known for songs like “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia” — has not released a statement about Friday’s delays. But the band posted several photos on their social media page that show hundreds of faces in the crowd and smiling fans.
On Saturday, the band wrote on Facebook and Instagram, “The Gorge last night! Beautiful as always. Y’all sure know how to have a good time! Thanks for having us.”