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MARTIN, Mich. (WOOD) - Changes could be coming to the B-93 Birthday Bash next year after a number of issues plagued the free country concert last weekend in Martin.
A 9-year-old girl was hit by an alleged underage drunk driver, people that pre-paid for parking were turned away when the lot filled up and people abandoned their vehicles along the side of the highway and hiked into the venue.
All those issues need to be addressed, according to Jason Peterson, who is the General Manager of U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, where the Bash occurs.
"Well, you always try to address things," Peterson said. "There are things that happen every year that is different from year to year, you have to adjust and change, so that will be addressed."
One thing the venue may change is the pre-paid parking.
"The pre-sale parking passes done this year through J and H oil did get us in a little bit of a bind there, but we are refunding those, they are mailing their tickets back into us as we are sending them a full refund for that day," Peterson said.
Peterson said the much larger-than-normal crowds can be explained by great weather and a great lineup.
"It is what I would call a perfect storm, in a good way," he said. "The lineup that B-93 put together was outstanding and the weather was just prefect. Mid-70's is a perfect time to be outside, which caused some issues. We ran out of room, unfortunately. Saturday, the state police shut us down, not allowing us to park any more cars because we were full."
Peterson said there was no way they could have foreseen the issues.
"I wouldn't say that we could have foreseen [parking problems]. The one thing that hasn't happened here, this is our four year of hosting, each of the previous years we have always had some turnover about the two or three o'clock in the afternoon time where people would be here all morning and would leave, which would create additional parking spots, this year it didn't happen."
As for how to stop people from hiking through the woods to get in, Peterson said it is a matter of adding more security or putting up a fence around the venue.
Early estimates are that 70,000 people showed up to Saturdays concert, 20,000 more than expected.
According to Doug Montgomery, Operations Manager for B-93, redemption rates were much higher this year than in years past.
Montomery told 24 Hour News 8 that where the concert may normally see a redemption rate of 50 percent of the free tickets given out, this year, the redemption rate was closer to 90 percent or 95 percent.
The concert weekend was also earlier than it has been in past years, which Montgomery said may also have contributed to the higher turnout.
The country station is considering making changes next year to tickets as well.
"Put restrictions on tickets, not give away free tickets, put a ticking charge on, make everything reserved, there are any number of different options that we're looking at," Montgomery said.
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