Traffic Snarl At Janet Jackson’s Chicago Show Bad News for Fans
Back in 2021 Mike Pettis and I headed out to see Garth Brooks perform at Arrowhead Stadium and ran into a traffic tie-up that took two hours to go that last mile on the backroad from Highway 50 into the parking lots. So I'm sympathetic to those caught up in the traffic snarl on their way to see Janet Jackson at her Chicago show.
Janet's Show was taking place in the Chicago suburbs in Tinley Park, home of Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre. An outdoor shed in the south suburbs of Chicago that I'm very familiar with.
I've been seeing shows there since it opened in 1990. Back then it was amazing. For better or worse it replaced a shed called Poplar Creek, which was in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
When we'd see a show a Poplar Creek it seemed like we drove for hours. And there were always traffic jams getting into and out of there. Leaving post-show was always a nightmare. It took an hour to get out of the place.
Then Credit Union 1 opened. At the time it was called The World Music Theatre. Back then, like Poplar Creek, Credit Union 1 seemed in the middle of nowhere. Access in and out of the Music Theatre seemed suspect. Yet, I don't remember any issues ever getting in or out, or any nightmare traffic jams going to shows there. I went to some very packed shows over the years too. Kiss and Aerosmith, Chicago, John Mellencamp, and Aerosmith with the Black Crowes to name a few.
So I was really surprised when I read an article from WGN TV in Chicago talking about the traffic nightmare. One attendee told the television station in 30 years of seeing shows there he had never had an issue. While NBC 5 talked to a Janet Jackson super fan who said she heard from a local resident that she had never seen the traffic so bad for a concert.
One of the major problems was that traffic never seemed to move enough to get people into the parking lots. Those that did make it into the parking lot, had missed a significant amount of the show too.
I remember going to see Garth I was ticked off I missed his opener, Martina McBride because of the traffic. Still, we got into the remote parking lot. Were able to walk into the stadium. Find our seats. Then stand in a long beer line. Yet, we still had time to kill before the show started.
Whether Arrowhead Stadium staff or Garth's staff or both were aware of the issues getting into the stadium, I'd say it seemed like they made every effort to wait to start the show until most folks could get in to see that. That, unfortunately, wasn't the case in Chicago.
That Janet Jackson superfan I mentioned, she and her significant other, turned around after hours trying to get into the show and just skipped it. The dude who never experienced this much of a hassle getting into the venue. Well, he got into the parking lot at about 10:00 PM and caught the last 40 minutes of Jackson's performance.
NBC 5 says some concert-goers tend to think Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre or local traffic control authorities didn't expect as many people to attend the show as did. Or that the music theatre's parking lots and access roads weren't staffed as properly as they should be.
Live Nation, the owner of Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre told both television stations that they didn't run out of parking. They say they warned concert attendees about heavy traffic and that they should arrive early through emails and phone calls. NBC 5 said one Facebook poster had been compensated a $50 dollar credit to see another show. While WGN TV said it was unclear how fans who missed the show, or most of the show, would be compensated for their inconvenience.
The moral of the story? If you're heading to a show. Especially one that's highly anticipated. Leave early and bring your patience. That goes double for the huge concerts coming to Arrowhead this summer. Those Taylor Swift shows are going to be a nightmare.