If you had tickets to the Janet Jackson concert Sunday night, how would you rate the traffic getting there? One star is terrible, five stars being no trouble getting there.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Let’s Wait Awhile was a Janet Jackson hit, and it was an understatement for the many people stuck in an hours-long line of vehicles to get into Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater to see her perform.
10 On Your Side received reports of heavy traffic and backups at the Janet Jackson concert, which was the first concert at the venue for the 2023 season. Video obtained by concertgoers shows lines of cars waiting to park at the amphitheater, and some who missed the show expressing their frustration on social media, saying they missed part of it trying to get in, or they missed all of it because they gave up and left.
Cameras along the traffic route showed cars backed up down Princess Anne Road.
The amphitheater posted multiple times starting Saturday to warn fans of the anticipated heavy traffic, and urged concertgoers to arrive early to consider carpooling.
Monday, the concert promoter Live Nation had no official statement on the long wait to get into the venue the previous evening – except to remind people to leave early – for the show.
Well, a lot of people did leave early – from the show. Those people didn’t get in.
WAVY spoke with a concert-goer who left her home 3 1/2 miles away, and it took her about 3 1/2 hours to get to the concert.
Traffic was so bad, and so backed up getting to the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater that she was wondering where 10 On Your Side was.
“What’s his name on Channel 10, Andy Fox? Andy Fox, where is he when you need him?”
Well, 10 On Your Side rode along with concert goer Irene Petrakis to retrace her path from her home to try to get into the show.
“At some point right about here it comes to a standstill,” Petrakis said in front of Landstown High School. “We are inching along. We aren’t even moving. We are inching, and kept inching up.”
At that point, cars suddenly started jumping the curb and racing ahead to cut off the corner at Concert Drive to get in quicker.
She recorded video as this happened. You can hear her say, “There goes another one. They do not even care that they are doing (it). No one is going to stop them.”
A spokesperson from the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach told 10 On Your Side there were no parking or staffing issues at the venue and that everyone who had a ticket to the show was in the building for the first act.
However, one woman who contacted 10 On Your Side said that she missed the concert after being in traffic for three hours. 10 On Your Side’s KaMaria Braye also said she missed the first act of the concert due to the traffic.
Petrakis’ video continued.
“We aren’t even moving,” she said.
When they did move, they came across the other side of the Landstown High School parking lot.
“See, this is where the cars that jumped the curb are coming out. They are shoving their way ahead.”
Then they had to park about a half-mile away, maybe more.
“We parked all the way down that road at the end,” Petrakis said. “It was dark back there … and we were walking and saw a huge parking lot with no light, and I’m sure people didn’t know where they parked their cars.”
We kept on driving.
“I did not see Ludacris,” she said, “and I didn’t see probably about 35, 40 minutes of Janet Jackson.”
She, and thousands of others who were late, are not happy.
Petrakis’ message to concert promoter Live Nation, who refused to comment except to remind concert-goers to get to the concert early, is “Take a look at what is going on. Just don’t turn your heads to it and think it is going to go away, or no one is going to complain about it.”
Petrakis says Live Nation needs to make it better.
“You need to upgrade,” she said. “You need to do what you need to, to have a better experience, have a safer one.”
She said she’s not sure where the blame falls, though. “Is it on the city because it is not taking part in it? Is it the venue promoter who is not organized?”
What about onsite law enforcement?
“The parking, the traffic not having direction,” Petrakis said. “There was no direction anywhere. Everyone was doing what they wanted to do … trying to get into the concert.”
The spokesperson said that there likely won’t be any sort of refund for those who arrived late due to the traffic.
But Petrakis said she and others trying to get to the show were left cold by the excessive wait.
“We deserve as as a community,” she said, “to have a better experience than what we had.”