Raleigh won’t fine Beyonce for late concert; many still steamed by traffic snarls

Beyonce in concert at Carter-Finley Stadium (CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The City of Raleigh did not fine Beyonce Tuesday after her concert went past 11 p.m., the city said in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon.

Beyonce’s concert was delayed around 10:30 p.m. as a storm roared through the area. Thousands of concert goers left, but some went to PNC Arena to wait and see if Beyonce returned.

Officials soon announced that the gates to Carter-Finley Stadium would reopen at 10:50 p.m. and Beyonce came out around 11:20 p.m. and played until just before midnight.

Thousands of fans, however, missed the concert because of brutal traffic. Even as late as 9:30 p.m., cars were jammed along the Blue Ridge Road exit off Wade Avenue. On the other side of the arena at Edwards Mill Road, conditions were even worse and cars inched along while they could hear Beyonce playing through the trees.

The Highway Patrol blocked the back entrance to PNC Arena and routed cars toward Trinity Road, which was jammed. Many fans abandoned their cars and walked to the concert.

One couple from Carrboro said it took them five hours to get to the concert and they arrived after 10 p.m. Another couple from Aiken, South Carolina, scrambled to the front gates around 10:15 p.m.

Many fans were outraged  by the traffic delays.

“We will never come to Raleigh for a concert again,” said Jennifer Ballsieper of Winston-Salem. She said Raleigh was “not equipped to handle a big event. We will go to Charlotte.”

Beyonce fan Ali Evans was in traffic for over four hours, was turned away from full parking lots, and eventually missed the whole show.

“Every time I kept looking around at the thousands of people that were in the same situation as me I could see little kids in the back seats of cars, so excited, but then realizing that they weren’t going to get there,” said Evans.

She said she understands that folks needed to plan ahead and leave early, but it’s just not realistic for everyone.

“If I had had the opportunity to  leave work early, it would have never crossed my mind that they might be saying six hours early. That’s just heinous,” said Evans.

Some did make it back in late at night and praised Beyonce for coming back onstage for a final 40 minutes.

“We were actually getting ready to leave, but then we were like no let’s hang around. And it was worth it,” said Bianca Butler.

But it made for a frustrating night for many, some of whom never made it to the concert. Whether they can get a refund is uncertain.

One fan from Durham told CBS North Carolina that she left for Raleigh at 6:40 p.m. and lives only 18 miles from Carter-Finley Stadium.

“However, traffic was so terrible and mismanaged that we didn’t even arrive next to Carter-Finley until about 9:30,” one fan emailed CBS North Carolina. “We could hear Beyonce from the car starting around 9. Police were re-directing traffic around Edwards Mill, but it was at a standstill and the only time it moved was when somebody decided to turn around or turn off and park illegally. After 3 hours in the car and missing the beginning of the show, we made an executive decision to just go home. I understand that Beyonce is a huge act, but traffic was literally stopped.”

The fan shared an online conversation with a Ticketmaster employee who said there were no refunds for the event.

A spokesman for Live Nation did not immediately return an email for comment.

A person answering the phone at the N.C. State University ticket office at Carter-Finley Stadium declined to comment and referred all questions to a University athletics department spokesman. In a statement, N.C. State athletics said, “The severe weather that hit the Raleigh area at the peak of rush hour, along with pre-event traffic, resulted in significant congestion before the concert.  We recognize that many arriving fans were unfamiliar with the venue, and we will work together with local law enforcement to consider how to better assist first-time visitors to improve traffic flow.  We regret any inconvenience experienced by fans.

“A second major weather system with dangerous lightning approached the area near 10pm and forced the evacuation of the stadium.  It was an unfortunate development, but patron safety is always paramount.  We were very pleased to be able to finish the show shortly after the weather delay and keep everyone safe in the process.”

Fred Demarest, the associate athletics director at N.C. State, said any refund requests would have to go to LiveNation.

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