Local News

Traffic problems cause some people to miss U2 concert

Posted October 4, 2009
Updated October 18, 2011

— Not everyone who paid to see Irish rock band U2 perform at Carter-Finley Stadium got to see the Saturday night show due to traffic back-ups.

"We were really disappointed,” concertgoer Carrie White said.

White spent $250 on U2 360° tour tickets for her husband’s birthday. She said they were stuck in traffic for three hours, and were then told no parking was available.

"One of the state troopers told us, ‘Too late. All lots are full. Go home and see you next year,’” White said.

Some U2 fans upset over traffic back-ups Some U2 fans upset over traffic back-ups

The state Highway Patrol said the traffic congestion was not due to poor planning, but rather too many people trying to come to the concert all at once.

On WRAL's online interactive community GOLO, on person wrote: "When an event for 60,000 people is scheduled at a certain time, about 60,000 people are going to show up to that venue at that time. Did they expect people to come in shifts?"

Another person wrote, "I was very disappointed with what I witnessed last evening. I will never participate in any event at Carter Finley Stadium or RBC Center in Raleigh AGAIN! I have seen many concerts over the years and the way this (traffic) was handled was a joke."

Join WRAL viewers talking about traffic problems at the concert.

An estimated 60,000 concertgoers braved the traffic back-ups that at one point stretched for 6 miles along Interstate 40.

Earlier Saturday, the state Department of Transportation warned motorists of significant traffic congestion on roads leading to the stadium, as well as the general vicinity.

There were some people who abandoned their vehicles along I-40 and walked to the concert due to the backups. Congestion lasted late into Saturday.

White said she called Ticketmaster in hopes of getting a refund, but she was told by a manager that no refunds were being offered because the concert went on as scheduled.

Meanwhile, crews were still dismantling the stage Sunday.

The band’s circular performance area was surrounded by green prongs that recalled claws towering 90 feet in the air. Crews took four days to build the steel structure. It will take two days to dismantle and load the structure out of the stadium.

John Elks was so impressed with the elaborate stage Saturday night that he brought his sons to the stadium Sunday to see it being taken down.

"It was awesome. It was very good. It was very exciting,” Elks said of the concert.

If you have any photos from the show send them to WRAL.com. ReportIt!

U2 concert pumps money into economy

Triangle businesses could drum up at least $4 million from U2's concert, according to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"This is an internationally known band, so the fact that they picked Raleigh over any other spot in North Carolina and made it one of their stops on the East Coast, that's pretty phenomenal," said Loren Gold, executive vice president of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Hotels across from the stadium were packed this weekend by people attending the concert.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • RainierBeer Oct 6, 2009

    Hello! the way I see it, I would love to see U2. I would love to eat, pay my bills, clothe my family, send them to college. Any U2 fan has their CD's -- so turn up the nice stereo you just bought with the ticket $ you saved by not going, and crank it up today and tomorrow, and the next day, etc., etc.!

  • steelcity36 Oct 6, 2009

    U2 didn't arrive at RDU until 6pm so how did they get to the Stadium? That is right they took an alternate route.

  • NETDEE Oct 6, 2009

    Tickets were bought in May for $30.00 each for great seats, cause we planned ahead. Planned to get to concert by leaving EARLY Saturday. Parked for free, hung out with friends and walked to concert at 6:30, got to seat before Muse played who is a great band in there own right. U2 put on a great show!!!!Took time to hang out for 15 min, drove off with little traffic and home in 30 min..Some planned AHEAD knowing this would be a big event with LOTS OF PEOPLE going. It is a shame some didn't get to see the concert at all but PLANNING AHEAD was key.

  • sunneyone Oct 6, 2009

    Why should a trooper be fired for turning away someone that paid $250 for tickets? That's unreasonable.

  • DasStonecutter Oct 5, 2009

    I'm not sure why people are being blamed for not getting there early. When you buy a concert ticket, there is an expectation that there will be somewhere for you park your car besides abandoning it on the interstate. Someone screwed up big-time. You should be able to show up just before the encore if you want to and park your car if you have tickets.

    The poor planning was not from the would-be concert goers for not showing up hours early, it was from the concert promoters for grabbing the cash from ticket sales and leaving fans to fend for themselves.

    And BTW, $20 for parking??? Jesus tap-dancin' Christ! When do we hit the parking ceiling? at $30? $50? Someone should alert Roy Cooper to this price gouging - $20 to leave your car in the parking lot of the event you are attending (and have already bought a ticket for) is insane.

  • oceanchild71 Oct 5, 2009

    Grow up and leave earlier next time. You knew it would be congested. You only have yourselves to blame. oleliss

    We were at the exit from 40-East onto Wade Ave. by 5:25. That was a whole 1 and 1/2 hour from the opening act. It took us 1 hour to travel that ramp. I guess we could have adopted the "We are more important than you attitude" and traveled down the side of the road and then go around the bottleneck at the Edwards Mill Exit. However, we chose to do the classy thing and stay in line. However, once we could get onto Wade, we got out of the Edwards Mill line and were in the Stadium within 5 minutes. We had figured 90 minutes to tailgate and we knew that leaving we would have to wait awhile. While I would have loved to go out there earlier, we also had responsibilities such as children, dogs, worrying about babysitters on the road at night, etc. We did not get home (in Holly Sp.) until 1:00 am b/c while SHP couldn't be out there BEFORE the show, they could after for DUIs.

  • foetine Oct 5, 2009

    Bunch of old people whining about not being able to see an elderly Irish group that's barely younger than the Chieftains. And why should some one who lives in Raleigh have to buy a stinking hotel room? The simple fact is the RBC/CF parking lots are a mess and not made for real traffic flow. They were designed by the ways the cows fled the toxic waste dump on that property

    I'm still amazed that 60,000 people want to see U2 (although I had several friends who were given free tickets on Friday night by various Clear Channel/Live Nation connections.

  • EZeegoing Oct 5, 2009

    This story is so humorous. Let's see:
    5pm - Leave work for quiet drive home
    5:15 - hmmm traffic is thick, think I'll pick up a pizza before the concert
    6pm - Hurry up woman, show starts soon.
    6:30pm Leave house headed for concert
    7pm Cursing, where did all this traffic come from ?
    8pm Headed home, no place to park, crowded, spent all that money on tickets - grumble, grumble.

  • gandalla Oct 5, 2009

    First, the concert rocked and the stage show was amazing. Second, if the State Highway Patrol was in charge of parking and making sure traffic would flow normally, why is anyone suprised that this incompetent department failed at their job?
    Third, plan ahead folks the gates to the parking areas were open at least a couple hours before the doors to the stadium were opened.

  • cj1979 Oct 5, 2009

    "and i still haven't found what i'm looking for..."