Garrett Coliseum Fixing Traffic Problems After Elton John Concert


By Jessica Gertler

Rock-and-Roll legend Elton John's performance at Garrett Coliseum on Friday drew thousands casing traffic delays for miles. It was a problem the city wasn't expecting, so will it be fixed when the next big headliner comes to town?


A typical event draws 6,000 to Garret Coliseum, but Elton John attracted 10,000. The difference caused parking problems with bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching miles down this road.


Elton John hit the Garrett Coliseum stage Friday night wearing a sparkly suit and his famous shades. But many concert-goers found their seats outside in standstill traffic. 

"It's just we haven't had a 10,000 person event in a long time in Montgomery," says General Manager Randy Stephenson.

Stephenson says anytime 10,000 people are heading to one place at one time, it causes problems. But he wasn't expecting the traffic to stretch all the way to Ann Street forcing some concert-goers to miss the first few songs.

Stephenson says it's a kink his team, the police department and city engineers are working out, and plans to have fixed when stand-up comedians Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall drop by in May.

"Everybody kind of came at one time, and I think that slowed it down," he says. "There's probably some things we can do better, and we are working on them."

Elton John is one of the biggest names to hit the Capital City. Montgomery's Public Information Director Michael Briddell is hoping the Piano Man's performance will have an effect. 

"If we can have strong ticket sales upfront, I think that means more people will say, 'Yeah, I'm going to stop by the capital of dreams,'" he says.

But with the city trying to attract big names, Stephenson says the traffic issue must be fixed, because you can't count on all musicians to be like Elton John. He heard about the traffic jam, and chose to start his show 20 minutes later.

"He played for two and a half hours, and he did a great show," Stephenson says. "Everybody that came, and once they got in, got their money's worth." 


Friday night's show wasn't sold out, but it came very close. Stephenson says this is the first time in a long time that that's happened. 


There are other big acts coming to the city including Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall at Garrett Coliseum on May 3. Crosby Stills and Nash will be performing at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre May 24.






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