Fans of country music superstar Kenny Chesney streaming into Wildwood today to catch his free beach concert will cause the city to nearly quadruple in size for one day.
The 20,000 ticketholders will be the only ones permitted inside the gated venue on the sand between Schellenger and Spencer avenues. That is a huge influx of people into a city with a population of 5,325 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All of these people are being drawn to Wildwood for Chesney, 44, a Tennessee native, who is one of the biggest acts in country music.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said 35,000 people came to the beach in 1991 to catch a show by the Beach Boys, but he has never seen a stage as big as Chesney's, which he estimated was at least 80 feet tall, at least 300 feet wide and 150 feet deep. Even though the huge stage means that people without tickets to the event should be able to catch site of Chesney from the Boardwalk, Troiano is still discouraging people who can't get into the show from coming to town to try to watch the concert. He said Chesney will appear about the size of an ant from the Boardwalk.
WPUR-FM 107.3, commonly known as Cat Country, gave away 5,000 tickets for Chesney's performance, said Joe Kelly, the station's brand manager.
Kelly talked to Chesney Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia where Chesney was co-headlining with Tim McGraw.
"He is very excited He was actually down for the first time in Wildwood on Friday afternoon doing some pre-filming for the video portions of the concert," Kelly said. "He enjoyed Wildwood. He said it's very unique and has a really great family feel, and he loves it. He's looking forward to Wednesday (tonight)."
Contact Vincent Jackson:
If you go
Kenny Chesney performs 8:30 tonight on the Schellenger Avenue beach in Wildwood. Gates open at 7 p.m.
Tickets are sold out. City officials and promoters are discouraging people without tickets from coming to listen or watch from outside the gated venue.
The concert can be watched live at YouTube.com/KennyChesneyVevo
Parking is available at the usual legal spaces on the island. Parking will be at a premium, so come early. There are parking lots, meters, and street parking will be available the farther west a person travels.