Special Reports

Consensus: Arena's first concert a success

Brad Paisley performs during the inaugural concert at Intrust Bank Arena.
Brad Paisley performs during the inaugural concert at Intrust Bank Arena.

There were a few glitches that surfaced during the first concert at Intrust Bank Arena. There was a brief bottleneck at Waterman and Emporia after the concert because buses were lined up, crowds of people were leaving, and the parking lots had a hard time emptying immediately.

And some people may have over-indulged in alcohol and become mouthy while headliner Brad Paisley was singing.

Aside from that, most people on Sunday remained positive that Wichita's newest performance venue was a good thing.

"It went amazingly well," said Mandy Pankratz, downtown parking coordinator for the city of Wichita. "We were super happy. We didn't have any reports of complaints."

As arena and local government officials meet today, they will discuss problems with traffic at Waterman and Emporia, Pankratz said.

One question will be whether officers could have funneled traffic in other directions.

Steve Ainslie, assistant transit director for Wichita, said that for future concerts, there may need to be more control over parking on Emporia.

One problem occurred as personal vehicles dropped off passengers in areas where buses, taxis and limos were loading and unloading, Ainslie said.

"We may need to block off a section of Emporia to traffic sooner in the day," Ainslie said.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton said he paid close attention to details: How was the arena run? Did it leave patrons feeling good?

"In business you sweat the details," Norton said. "I must have talked to 100 people, and I had only two who said 'Well, they will have to straighten out the parking.' Everybody else seemed to think this place is incredible. I looked at people's faces and they seemed to want to be there and have a good time. I didn't see grumbling or scowls."

Sgt. Terry Litton of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said there were a few alcohol-related fights that broke out during the concert.

"You have that with country concerts," Litton said. "It was nothing out of the ordinary for a large show like that. We usually have more problems at hockey games."

Concertgoer Amanda Milbradt said she was simply relieved when an intoxicated woman behind her passed out instead of the other alternatives.

"It wasn't the arena's fault," Milbradt said.

Still, Milbradt said she's a fan of the new arena.

"I go to all the country concerts that come to town. The sound was good. We parked at Lawrence-Dumont and rode the bus. They could have had more buses running. But I really have no complaints — except for those people behind us that couldn't control their liquor."

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