Construction on the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion finished just in time to host county superstar Blake Shelton Saturday night.
The gates opened up at 6 p.m., but the line to get into the new amphitheater started forming around 3 p.m.
The opening act for Blake Shelton was Hunter Hayes. Hayes performed for 45 minutes and Shelton took the stage at 8:30 p.m.
Shelton played fan favorites including “Honeybee” and “Boys Round Here” and did a three song encore, wrapping up around 9:45 p.m.
Before the gates even opened, AMP organizer Terri Trotter was ready to fill the 3,000 covered seats and the 4,000 lawn seats.
“I just know the energy is going to be incredible,” Trotter said, “I mean Blake Shelton is such a popular artist, and the fact that we were able to get him, and we are so grateful to Walmart, plus the fact that people could get tickets for 5 and 10 dollars…I mean what a gift to the community.”
For the 7,000 lucky fans that got tickets, most had to go through the chaos of the AMP website crashing a month ago.
“My mom waited online for like five hours, and yeah we seriously were trying so hard to get tickets,” one fan said.
Organizers said the $5 and $10 tickets brought in a sold out crowd for the first show.
Construction on the amphitheater finished on May 31. The $11,000,000 facility boasts the title of the biggest outdoor stage house in Arkansas. The venue has air conditioned restrooms, upgraded concessions and two giant television screens suspended on either side of the stage.
Trotter said with 7,000 people leaving the arena at once, she knew there would be congestion.
She said the AMP had their own secuity staff to help with crowd control, and the Rogers Police Department had 40 officers helping direct traffic after the show.
Concertgoers said they didn’t care about the traffic jam after the show—they came to enjoy a country concert.
“It’s going to be awful,” An attendee said, “And even at the old AMP it was bad, so this is going to be worse, so we have a tactic of waiting it out and then we’ll get away.”
The next show at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion will be Darius Rucker on June 20.