Bayou Country Superfest Traffic: Can Baton Rouge handle events of this size?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge city-parish leaders are quick to boast about this year's record-setting Bayou Country Superfest but some fans said, not so fast.

Traffic was a nightmare, and some people in attendance said they wonder whether or not Baton Rouge was built to handle the massive crowds that came with the three-day event.

There is no question Bayou Country Superfest 2014 was a hit. Tiger Stadium was packed with people and Friday's Fan Fest was no different. Organizers said people traveled from across and outside of the country just to be a part of the affair.

Organizers report 135,000 people attended. While no one complained about the talent, talks of traffic took on a different tune.

"There's a lot of people standing in this line from out of state. Some have driven seven, eight,16 hours, and it's just not putting a good positive spin on our city," Judy Bayhi said.

Bayhi said on Friday she and others were stranded outside of a hotel waiting on public transportation to Tiger Stadium. Traffic was tight on Saturday night too. Those who chose to take their own cars said they too got stuck in a jam, more than once.

"It's very frustrating. Last night we didn't get out and get to our hotel until about two in the morning, almost three. So it's pretty backed tonight too," Twaila Lacaze said.

Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman, Don Coppola, said Superfest coordinators hired 30 BRPD officers and other law enforcement agencies to work inside and around the concert venue. Coppola said Friday's traffic snarl took everyone by surprise.

"I don't think they had plans for traffic to be that bad being that this is an all day event," Coppola said.

Coppola said some officers were shifted from working inside the stadium to outside. It helped alleviate some traffic the rest of the weekend, but some in attendance wonder if Baton Rouge was ready to receive such a large crowd. Coppola said the city is on top of it.

"They are looking in the future as working this as LSU football where we implement some sort of contra flow similar to what we do for LSU football games," Coppola said.

With a success rate like this there is no doubt, the musical acts, crowds, traffic will continue to grow. City leaders said next time, they will be ready.

Bayou Country Superfest 2015 is set for Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24.

9News reached out to event promoters to see whether next year's concert will include a Fan Fest. They did not return our calls.

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