MARTIN, Mich. (WOOD) - Cars were backed up for miles as tens of thousands of fans tried to get into the B-93 Birthday Bash on Saturday.
The country music concert, featuring multiple acts, will continue on Sunday at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin.
Some people with pre-paid parking passes and MVP tickets were turned away from the event's parking lot because while around 50,000 people were expected to attend the Bash, more than 70,000 showed up, organizers said.
"We were waiting in line five, five and a half hours, and we had two day passes then they just started turning everyone around and not letting anyone in," said Paul Bartholomew. He and Roxanne Giggy drove up from Indiana specifically for the show, their third time doing so, but they had never seen a turn out like this year's.
"At $4.29 for gas, it sucks," said Giggy about the long wait. "Yeah, that was a painful little dig in the pocket," said Bartholomew.
The pair planned to sleep in their car at nearby fairgrounds, so they could be in line early on Sunday. Though they still hadn't gotten over their annoyance at missing everything Saturday.
"It's hard to understand why if you're going to pay for your two day passes and you're VIP, one should be guaranteed people to get in," said Bartholomew.
"We saw people jumping the fences on 131," said Giggy. "We thought about it," Brtholomew chimed in. and"And I said that's a good idea, but it's not worth getting caught."
The line leading up to the Bash was so bad that Michigan State Police troopers had to shut down exit 55 on U.S. 131 on Saturday afternoon to try to clear out as much of the traffic as possible. It also took more than three hours to empty the venue after the last show of the evening ended.
For the first time this year, more than thirty vehicles, according to authorities, parked along highway 131 after the highway off ramp was shut down, those cars were towed. Many of their occupants then hopped the fence to get into the show.
Others took back ways into the venue, cutting through thick forest, many having bloody, scraped up legs to show for their efforts.
Some of those people told 24 Hour News 8 they thought it was only fair after getting turned away.
"Especially when you stand in those lines to get the tickets at first, and then you stand in line again and then not get in, especially when you're looking forward to it. We've been looking forward to this for months," she said.
Organizers said it was a combination of the great weather and great music that attracted the record breaking numbers to this year's event. They said they did not issue more tickets than years past, but it's difficult to estimate an exact turnout.
24 Hour News 8 was told the pre-paid passes would be refunded to those who could not get in to the show Saturday.
Most of the people who got in to the venue were in good spirits, saying they had an excellent time even if it was a bit crowded.
The general manager for B93 told 24 Hour News 8 the turnout is usually 20% lower on Sunday than on Saturday. On Sunday, parking gates for Birthday Bash open at 8 a.m.
and the gates for the concert open at 10 a.m.
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