A number of guests who attended the Kenny Chesney concert at Historic Crew Stadium on Aug. 18 expressed dissatisfaction with the experience to The Dispatch, particularly in regard to parking and staffing at the event.
“Staffing was low or non-existent to help with parking, entering and finding your seat, and keeping poachers from cramming into the space ahead of us in our seats. Kenny was great … everything else was not,” said Peggy Oberlin of Hilliard in an email.
“This concert was a bust. The $40 to park was outrageous, and cars were cutting in and lined up for hours,” said Donna Mulholland of Marysville in an email.
No longer the home of the Columbus Crew, Historic Crew Stadium is still managed by the Crew. It is occasionally used for concerts and other events, including the Chesney concert and the upcoming Breakaway Music Festival, to take place Friday through Sunday.
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We reached out to Columbus Crew Director of Communications and Broadcast Tim Miller with questions.
“We obviously have some of our staff there, but staffing and security are contracted out,” Miller said.
Security is contracted to the Columbus Police Department, he said, and general staffing to CSC (Contemporary Services Company), a national company that serves stadiums and concert venues.
Guests at the concert noted that staffing seemed light compared to other local venues, and that staff was not uniformly checking tickets or seating, so that seats were frequently occupied by people who didn’t hold tickets for them.
“We’re always working with our staff to let them know that if people have comments or concerns, they should relay those to Command as soon as possible,” Miller said.
Some guests also complained about the condition of restrooms at the facility.
“Obviously, we do have regular facility cleaning. The facility is a little bit older. During major set breaks, it’s a challenge with people going to the restroom at the same time. We try to staff that the best we can,” Miller said.
In the long break between sets by Carly Pearce and Dan + Shay, lines to restrooms weren’t overly long, but the restrooms were strewn with paper products and in general need of attention.
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A common complaint from those attending was that parking for the event was $40. Parking was contracted to SP+.
“I think the reason that they priced the parking that high was because there are a lot of people that don’t actually go into the concert. They stay out in the parking lot and continue to tailgate and listen from outside. I was very taken aback about the $40 price tag,” said Marian Musgrave, of Powell, in an email.
“Advance parking was $25, and we were trying to encourage people to buy it in advance to speed things up,” Miller said.
As for the “day-of” parking fee of $40, “I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine it’s consistent with day-of events around the area,” Miller said. “I would imagine it’s a combination of discussion with SP+ and whatever the market rate is for large concert events around the area.”
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Dispatch reviewers, who frequent concert venues, say “day-of” parking at the Schottenstein Center is typically $20 for nearby parking lots. At Nationwide Arena, parking garages range from single-digit prices for those located a few blocks away to $20 and sometimes more for those adjacent to the arena. Parking for events Downtown, at the Ohio or Palace theaters, for example, is often $5.
Guests who would like to express their concerns, questions or other feedback about the Chesney concert and other events at Historic Crew Stadium are invited to do so at [email protected]