MARTIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Some big changes are coming to B-93 Birthday Bash this weekend.
The two days of free country music are expected to draw more than 100,000 to the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
Last year, hours before a concert, the country radio ratings leader was forced to tell its listeners to stay home. They did not. About 20,000 extra people showed up and the venue ran out of parking. People began leaving their cars on the highway, causing a traffic mess on U.S. 131 near the Martin exit. Public safety resources were stretched and stranded Birthday Bashers were unhappy.
To prevent the traffic headache from happening again, this year attendees must buy a $60, two-day parking pass before Birthday Bash.
“This year we have limited the amount of parking passes that are being sold,” B-93 Vice President and General Manager Tim Feagan said. “People should not come if they do not have a parking pass or they will be turned away.”
B-93 has been warning listeners since February that they need to purchase parking passes ahead of time. Parking passes are only available at select ticket stops. For a complete list of stops, click here.
But Thursday morning, Feagan made a surprise announcement: Some passes may still be available the day of the show.
“One thing that we have not told people is that there will be some limited supplies the day of the show that we will be selling at the parking lot of the Gun Lake Casino starting at 8 a.m.,” Feagan said.
Feagan said it is impossible now to know how many, but the passes will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Capt. Frank Baker with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department said by not selling parking passes at the gate, the lines should move faster and get cars off the highway quicker.
Another big change, according to the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, people will not be allowed to bring in alcohol for tailgating.
“It’s not uncommon to see people in their vehicle, sitting on the roofs of their vehicles drinking, things we know is going to end in tragedy,” said Capt. Baker. “We tried to take what steps we can to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Capt. Baker said concert-goers would not be allowed to bring alcohol into the event from the outside but Saturday morning, event organizers from B-93 said that information was not correct and that alcohol could be brought in.
Parking opens at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin at 8 a.m. both June 7 and 8.