FLORENCE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5 ) - A concert many had been dreaming of for years turned out to be a nightmare for hundreds of people who didn't make it to see Luke Combs at Country Thunder Saturday night. Between a traffic mess and confusion on parking, some people want their money back. Country Thunder officials said this was one of the largest concerts in numbers they've ever had.

Country Thunder traffic

Country Thunder saw huge lines of traffic.

Luke Combs is one of the biggest names in country music, and before the pandemic, Keil Krieg bought special tickets to the concert for his and his wife Tiffany's anniversary. "I bought the platinum experience," said Keil. "It was supposed to give you front area parking, kind of a set away stage area off to the side with food and water, your own bathrooms and all that. It was supposed to be an exclusive area."

Because of COVID-19, they had been waiting since 2019 to see this show. On Saturday, they left their Mesa home to head to Florence at 6 p.m.

Luke combs was set to go on at 10. But like thousands of others, they waited hours to only go a few miles on the one-way road to get into the venue. "4.5 hours at least," Keil said.

Country Thunder officials said they put out notifications on social media about the heavy traffic. The Kriegs took a video at 10:45 p.m. with a long line of cars behind them as they were searching for their reserved parking area. By then, Combs was already on stage playing. "The staff said, 'Yeah we're just parking you guys where we can,'" Keil said.

They said it took about 25 minutes to walk to the venue, where they were let in. But once they got to the skybox, they were asked for their wristbands. "We were never given wristbands because at the front area, there was nowhere to get your wristband," said Keil. "Nobody scanned our tickets to get us into the venue or anything, so our tickets never got scanned, but we were in the venue."

They said where they were, to walk to will call and back for the wristbands would have been at least another 45 minutes and by then, the concert would have been over. So, they never saw Combs.

Country Thunder said it did not oversell parking - it was just very crowded. But the Kriegs want a refund and said they haven't gotten any response from organizers. "We've both sent emails and posted on their social media pages and just nothing," Tiffany said.

Combs was set to start at 10 p.m. but because of all the traffic, a Country Thunder staff member came on stage and announced he would be starting at 10:15 to give more people a chance to get in. Organizers said they'll be looking at their processes and ways to improve ahead of their return to Florence in April of next year.

Florence shop owners prepare for Country Thunder music festival

Festival officials also told me significantly more people came to Combs than came to headliner Dierks Bentley in 2019, and more people came just for the day this year rather than camping out for the weekend.


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