Concert goers at Thursday’s Rascal Flatts show will see some changes from Sunday’s Maroon 5 show.
For one, those who paid for preferred seating will have two separate entrances from the general admission area.
Break out the cowboy boots and hats, because Thursday country music is taking over Atlantic City.
The 50,000-plus crowd at Sunday’s Maroon 5 concert on the Atlantic City beach was a blessing and a curse, depending on your perspective.
Some concert goers, frustrated with crowd-control issues and not getting the seats they paid for, took to social media to complain about Sunday’s show. Officials are using what they’ve learned to make the concert experience better Thursday, when Rascal Flatts and Ashley Monroe will take the stage.
Police will also continue to make sure things run smoothly.
“We take it very seriously,” said Deputy Chief William Mazur. “The fan experience is paramount.”
Michele Baccare, who has a house in Ventnor, paid more than $700 for eight tickets in the preferred seating area, Zone 1. She arrived at the Boardwalk at about 3:50 p.m. Sunday and was miffed to wait in line behind eight blocks worth of other concert-goers to get in at the sole Kentucky Avenue entrance.
The issue wasn’t with the concert itself — Baccare said she eventually had a fun time with her two children and a few friends — but it was pushing through the crowds. She said she ended up right at the border of Zones 1 and 2, between preferred and general seating, several football fields of space away from the stage, she said.
“Imagine going to a Phillies game or a Flyers game with one door,” said Baccare, who lives in Haddonfield. “Every inch of sand was packed.” She added that she contacted both Live Nation and Ticketmaster explaining she would like at least a partial refund.
She went to the free Blake Shelton beach concert last year and said the crowds were comparable. She didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for that concert, though, and said she deserved better seats for Maroon 5.
A serious three-car crash on Route 30 westbound backed up traffic for miles.
Jeff Guaracino, executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance, said based on surveys the alliance did, 90 percent of the concertgoers enjoyed themselves.
To help alleviate some of the crowding at the single entrance to the venue, Guaracino said Thursday’s concert will have two additional entrances for those with preferred seating tickets.
“When people pay for a ticket, they come with a different expectation. I think some people felt, ‘Is there a seat or is there not a seat? I paid for it,’” Guaracino said.
An updated site map will most likely be made available Wednesday, Guaracino said.
While police acknowledged there were a few heat- and alcohol-fueled arguments with some shoving during the Sunday show, there were no arrests. Three people were taken to the hospital, all for heat-related issues, Mazur said.
Those with tickets for preferred seating in Zone 1 will now enter through the VIP areas at Michigan and Ohio avenues, explained Mazur.
“That’s going to fix a lot of the problems,” he said. All concert-goers will be screened through security.
Live Nation, which organized the concert, did not return requests for comment.
Nihal Kamel, of North Brunswick, posted on the DO AC Facebook page that she managed to avoid some of the logjam other fans ran into.
“We had a great time — got there a little before noon and got a great spot up front in Zone 1 — if you got there early you were fine ,” she wrote.
Maroon 5 was Eric Lipkind’s first beach concert. It will also be his last, he said.
Like many who paid extra for preferred seating, the Union County man didn’t make it to the prime location. When he arrived with his 9-year-old son, he was told there were too many people in that area already.
Part of the problem was the decreasing ocean tide, which extended the venue farther out, making it more difficult for private security, Mazur said.
Dan Bates, a DJ from Egg Harbor City, said he saw lots of pushing and shoving, and said a path that was supposed to be clear for accessibility was full of concert-goers who moved in.
“There was no control over anyone in those two sections,” he said of the two zones set aside for higher-priced tickets.
Other Atlantic City beach concerts he has attended did not have these problems, Bates said.
“The city really had nothing to do with the interior of the beach,” he said, placing the responsibility with Live Nation. “I would compliment the city on traffic control,” Bates said. “When it was over, you got out of the city pretty quickly.”