SPOKANE, Wash. --- The Spokane Arena is warning concert goers to be prepared to wait following a very long wait to get into the Elton John concert last week.
Journey will play the Spokane Arena on Thursday, with opening act Asia. Crowds waiting to get into the Elton John concert said they waited more than an hour to get inside, and some even missed the beginning of the show.
At the time, arena officials told KREM 2 the new security measures put into place last year contributed to the extended wait times.
Tuesday morning, Spokane Arena officials said they hoped the long lines would not happen again.
"These are the things that keep me up at night," said Matt Gibson, a spokesperson for the arena. "Our first goal is to get people into the building on time. This hadn't happened before. We've had metal detectors for six months now, so for something like this to have happened, we're taking this as a learning moment for us and with all the shows this weekend we're going to get better at it."
Ahead of Thursday’s concert, arena officials asked Journey fans to do the following:
- Bring only essential items needed for the event you are attending.
- If you bring a camera other than your mobile device, please ensure that it fits within your front pants pocket. No detachable lens cameras will be permitted.
- Leave ALL weapons at home. Weapons may include firearms, pocketknives and wallet chains.
- On-duty police officers in uniform are welcome any time.
- Off-duty police officers will be allowed in with weapons at a later date; until that time, please leave your weapons home
- Private citizens are asked to please leave their weapons at home as they will not be allowed into the venue.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. an hour before Asia is slated to take the stage.
For the Elton John show, arena officials said they were not sure why concert goers were not directed to alternate entrances. Apparently, the majority of concert-goers tried to enter the southeast lobby, but only four of the arena's 22 metal detectors are stationed at that entrance. The entrance up top is the one that gave people the shortest wait of about 20 minutes. It is meant to accommodate larger crowds with over a dozen metal detectors.
Since October, the arena has enforced more security in response to high-profile shootings across the country. So, the arena added metal detectors and bag searches. Since then, the arena says it has worked to prepare the community for heightened security.
Arena officials said they had increased their typical staffing level for events to get everyone into the building in time for the show.
On a related note, for anyone driving to the concert, parking lots operated by the Spokane Arena also only accept cash.