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Garth Brooks Shows Bring Excitement, Challenges

Josh James

It’s been 16 years since Garth Brooks took the stage in Lexington and judging from the ticket sales, it would appear he hasn't lost his star power.

Garth Brooks is back in town – and around 80,000 fans in the region are expected to flock to Rupp Arena for a pair of back-to-back shows Friday and Saturday.

At a press conference before the first show, Brooks had effusive words for the venue, which he hand selected along with his wife Trisha Yearwood. "When people ask you where are top five places to play in the world, Rupp Arena is in that top five," he said. 

Waxing nostalgic about his experience playing in Lexington in 1998, the Grammy-winning country star said his biggest hope for this round of shows is to recreate that environment.

"Why Rupp Arena?" he said. "Because these people are right on top of you. It's crazy."

Brooks is touring behind his new, yet-to-be released album Man Against Machine, his first in 13 years. The Lexington shows will be Brook’s only appearances in the region during his world tour.

Ticketholders are being encouraged to come early, utilize LexTran if possible, and take in pre-show concerts at Heritage Hall and Cheapside Pavilion. By urging fans to spread out their arrival times throughout the day, event organizers hope to avoid the gridlock that could occur if the first show runs late and outgoing drivers find themselves pinned in by incoming concert-goers.

The scheduling presents an unprecedented challenge for parking officials who will have as little as 45 minutes to shuttle one group out as ticketholders for the second show arrive both nights.

While the standard Rupp event traffic plan will be in effect, offsite parking at the corner of Old Frankfort Pike and New Circle Road will open up for the later show at 7. LexTran will be supplying rides to and from the additional lot.

As for people not attending the concerts, police are urging those drivers to avoid the area if possible or expect backups.

The first show starts at 6:30 tonight, the second at 10:30.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.