As the clock neared 7 p.m., Marion Broadway pointed to the sea of fans lining the Georgia Regents University sidewalk.
“That’s a long line right there,” the Evans resident said. “Instead of being at the stadium getting ready for Florida Georgia Line, I’m still at GRU waiting on a school bus shuttle. Things definitely could have been handled better.”
Broadway was one of an estimated 10,000 fans to attend Friday’s country concert – which began at 7:30 p.m. – and one of many unable to purchase a parking pass.
Augusta GreenJackets general manager Tom Denlinger said 700 parking passes were made available, all of which quickly sold out.
Those without a permit were advised to take a $5-per-vehicle shuttle from GRU to Lake Olmstead Stadium.
“I’ve lived here all my life and have never heard of 10,000 people at Lake Olmstead Stadium,” Broadway said. “I realize the people in charge want to make money, but next time lets have more parking and sell fewer tickets.”
Broadway wasn’t the only concert-goer caught off guard by the two-mile shuttle.
“They sold out of parking passes by the time we heard anything about needing one,” Monica Petersen, who tailgated with a group of friends in a GRU parking lot, said. “Obviously it would have been nice to tailgate closer, but we’re making the best of the situation. I’ll just say one thing: It’ll be a deal-breaker if I miss Nelly.”
Frustration mounted, however, as kickoff to Florida Georgia Line grew closer.
“It’s 7:30 right now, so I guess we’re missing the opening act,” Augusta resident Stacy Tanner said during her wait for the shuttle. “Four of my co-workers are also coming and none of us heard anything about a parking pass until this afternoon. Nothing was mentioned online when I purchased tickets.”
North Augusta resident Lisa Taylor didn’t realize she would have to take a shuttle until 30 minutes before leaving for the concert.
“My (niece) was checking Facebook and noticed it online,” Taylor said. “Thank goodness she saw it when she did ... We would have panicked if we got to the stadium and had no place to park.”
In addition to fan confusion, residents near Lake Olmstead Stadium were also left in the dark about the parking situation until 24-hours before the concert.
Natasha Ruff – who lives on Division Street – says she returned home Thursday with a letter in her door about Friday’s concert.
“I looked in my door and had a note from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office warning us about traffic,” she said. “And this was one day before the concert.”
In the letter, RCSO warned residents of delays, traffic problems and parking issues, while advising them to plan their Friday accordingly.
“I had already made plans for Friday, so now I’m worried about getting back to my house later tonight,” Ruff said. “I just wish they had given us more of a warning about what’s going on – one day isn’t a lot of time.”
In spite of the inconvenience, Ruff said her main concern is safety.
“Division Street is pretty narrow to begin with, and with cars parked on both sides of the street, it’s almost impossible for a fire truck to be able to get where it needs to go if something were to happen,” she said. “It just makes me nervous.”