BILLINGS- Thousands are expected to travel from all around Yellowstone County Tuesday, for one of the biggest concerts to hit MetraPark this year to watch country music singer Luke Combs.
But with COVID-19 cases on the rise, officials with MetraPark in conjunction with safety protocols along with working with music promoters are making some adjustments this week to accommodate the influx of guests.
General Manager Bill Dutcher says they anticipate not only accommodating Combs’ 14 semi-trucks carrying concert equipment but over 10,000 concert goers when the lights go down Tuesday evening.
“This is a big one,” said Dutcher. “When you talk about, we'll have the standards like Garth Brooks. This will be the biggest show since Garth Brooks.”
So what’s changing? Dutcher says mostly just a few things to get people in the venue quicker, so crowds don’t gather.
First, the venue will open 90 minutes earlier than the usual time of an hour before the show starts. This is to help people get inside and find their seats in a timely matter.
In addition—staff is adding extra entry doors by reversing exit-only doors and re-routing floor guests.
“In this particular show, the stage will be in the middle. So, the whole arena will be surrounded, so we'll be able to let people with floor tickets in, they'll be able to line up on our Southwest doors,” said Dutcher.
Also, there’s an added no-bag express line and early merchandise sales outside will be outside, again with the goal to get people in quickly and not let pools of crowds form.
“We have a lot of signage out, letting people know that there'll be areas where you can get right into the building, we have 30 Scanners, that’ll be the most we've ever had to scan your tickets,” he said.
As for those heading to the concert, they’re ready.
Just ask Drew Keierleber of Billings who says, he’s been waiting for this concert for over a year after the pandemic forced the show to cancel all tour dates.
“Yes, this has been a long process,” he said. “I bought tickets for him in 2020 but with COVID and everything going on, it's just been long, but I'm really looking forward to it.”
Keierleber says what he loves most about Luke Combs. His voice.
“I really love country music, so Luke Combs, I think has one of the purest voices out there, so I'm really excited to see him,” he said.
As far as COVID-19 cases go, Keierleber says he’s not going to let it shut down a good time, but he does believe it’s a good idea to take some caution, and that’s what the staff with MetraPark has been trying to do, to make everyone who comes will have a good and safe time.
Metrapark General Manager Bill Dutcher says preparation started weeks ago with COVID in mind…
“I think there’s a little concern,” said Keierleber. “I think getting back to normal life is definitely a good step in the right direction.”