7 On Your Side: Spurned ticket holders demand refund for McCartney concert

Saturday, September 20, 2014
Dozens of spurned ticket holders demand refund for McCartney concert
An estimated 2,000 ticket holders didnt't get to see Paul McCartney perform at Candlestick Park because of a nasty traffic snarl around the stadium.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Paul McCartney thrilled thousands of fans when he performed the final event at Candlestick Park last month. But an estimated 2,000 ticket holders never got in to see the show because of a nasty traffic snarl around the ballpark.

Instead of seeing the historic sendoff to an iconic park by the legendary McCartney, fans were stuck in gridlock for hours with no bathrooms and no way out.

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney investigated the situation.

For those inside Candlestick Park, it was a magical night. Paul McCartney crooned his popular songs in a final salute to the old ball park. Outside was more like a nightmare. Hours before the concert, traffic came to a standstill with nowhere to park. Time kept moving, but cars did not.

"We were really shocked when we saw the traffic," said ticket-holder Ann Rasmussen.

"There was no place to go. You couldn't turn around if you wanted to," said concertgoer Patricia Silvieri.

Those were a just few of the fans who contacted 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney with stories of heartbreak and frustration.

The concert began without them. The strains of familiar songs floated over the sea of shut-out fans.

"After nine o'clock I realized it was pretty hopeless," Silvieri said.

Parking attendants began going car to car, "telling people the parking lot was full and we had to go home," Silvieri said.

Spurned ticket-holders now want their money back and they've an started an online petition demanding refunds.

Mette Adams of Bodega Bay paid a ticket broker a $1,000 for two seats in front and $500 for a hotel room, all gone to waste.

"If they had managed the show better, and the parking and traffic, we would have gotten into the show," Adams said.

The concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment at first blamed fans for arriving too late, saying 47,000 of the 49,000 ticket holders did get to their seats on time.

That infuriated those who were stranded.

"I am not the guilty one. I am outraged," Silvieri said.

It's unclear exactly what went wrong. 7 On Your Side spoke with representatives from Another Planet, the City of San Francisco, and the parking company City Park.

Another Planet president Sherry Wasserman told 7 On Your Side the promoter was not responsible for traffic and parking saying, "Our role is to make certain that the artist performs as advertised. Additionally, we staff the inside of the venue for ushering and safety." The city controlled traffic, City Park handled parking.

However, 7 On Your Side obtained the city permit and it did require Another Planet to arrange traffic and security. The promoter submitted a plan for parking, with 15,000 spaces.

Fans said no one directed them to those outer lots. City Park told 7 On Your Side, 4,000 spaces were still available before the concert, but vehicles may not have been diverted on the street to get to the open spaces in perimeter lots.

The city's Municipal Transportation Agency said its officers were directed traffic to those lots, but it appeared too many cars arrived at the same and backed up traffic all the way to Highway 101, so no one could move.

The city's Recreation and Parks Department, which operates Candlestick Park, said streets around the stadium were clear as of 6:30 p.m. and the city used the same traffic plan employed during the Justin Timberlake /Jay-Z concert last year with no problems.

Another Planet asked 7 On Your Side to refer everyone who came to 7 On Your Side for help. The company said it will consider compensation for all fans "case by case."

"We feel horrible that this occurred to anyone and this is not the experience we would wish any of our patrons to have," Wasserman said.

Some ticket holders who couldn't get in told 7 On Your Side Another Planet has been offering them tickets to a future concert.

Some fans told 7 On Your Side they're happy with a private agreement they made with the promoter. Other say the offers don't go far enough and they want refunds, an apology and maybe a commemorative T-shirts.