SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon is gearing up for a crazy few days as the first Garth Brooks show in more than 20 years opens Thursday night.
“We haven’t had an artist in our market that has had the power to sell out six shows in four days and we have 90,000 fans coming and we’re extremely excited, it’s going to be a great run for us,” explained Scott Ford, executive director for SaskTel Centre.
The concerts will present a major logistical challenge for the centre. The biggest battle will likely be keeping traffic running smoothly on the double show nights on Friday and Saturday.
“Lots of planning, working with lots of city departments, transit, city police, and certainly our own internal staff and parking team, but it’s a big job for us,” Ford said.
On Friday and Saturday the first show will start at 7 p.m. sharp. After everyone clears out, doors for the second show open again at 10 p.m. or later.
“How the Garth camp works, is they watch the scan numbers to make sure the building is loaded before they start the show,” Ford explained.
For the second show on those nights, it’s best not to come too early or the parking lot will still be full from the previous show.
On Thursday and Sunday the show doesn’t start until 7:30 p.m. but the gates and doors will open at 6 p.m.
“For those two shows, the Thursday and Sunday, we’re certainly telling people to come early. Take advantage of the shuttle buses,” Ford said. “We have shuttle buses from three malls: Lawson Heights, Market Mall, and (Confederation), where it’s a park and ride and it’s a five dollar fare and then we’re just telling the customers to be patient and follow the directions of the police and parking attendants when they’re coming to the event.”
For fans eager to see the country music icon, the key to getting in and out will be patience.