The American Express Golf Tournament and concert series has been a huge success. This year’s numbers eclipsing last year’s by thousands. By some estimates 18 to 28 thousand people attended the Stevie Nicks and Luke Bryan concerts each night on Friday and Saturday.
Mayor of La Quinta Linda Evans says this event was a game changer, “Absolutely with headliners like Stevie Nicks and Luke Bryan it really changed this entire event and what we can expect in years ahead.
But that success brought headaches for many, especially on Friday night after thousands tried to get home after the Stevie Nicks concert. Many were stuck in parking lots on PGA Blvd. for hours and others resorted to walking miles to get a ride share. The city took responsibility and posted an apology on the city’s Facebook page, that’s where many took the opportunity to vent their frustrations.
“What a mess,” commented one concert goer, “last night was a nightmare,” said another, and “beyond frustrating” seemed to be the running theme.
Evans says the city and event officials immediately went to work to find out what went wrong and find a solution, “There were probably two to three thousand visitors that were outside the normal parking areas that came into the resident areas and they were all trying to merge with the valet areas, the parking spots, and the shuttles back onto PGA West Blvd.”
They added deputies to control traffic and rerouted residential traffic to Madison and traffic was better on Saturday, but still slow.
Evans says the lessons learned here will be used to make the event better next year, and they have a track record that proves it can be done, “We want that experience of golf, music that fan experience to be fabulous all the way up until they exit so we’ll take ownership of that and work collectively as a team and improve it, we did it with Ironman, we can do it with a golf tournament.”
She says despite the traffic the event’s success is a win for everyone especially local charities who thanks to american express and the Phil Mickelson Foundation will receive a $1 million, “We will manage what we need to do to enhance the traffic flow because the end result is all about charity and is all about local charities.”