Dozens of people were still standing outside the gates of M&T Bank Stadium for the sold-out Billy Joel-Stevie Nicks concert after the show started, as many more were on logjammed roads leading to the venue.
The Fleetwood Mac singer took the stage around 7:15 p.m., about 15 minutes after the concert’s posted start time.
Heather Benjamin, dressed in a bohemian outfit reminiscent of Nicks, and her parents were still waiting to get in. She said it took them two hours to get to M&T Bank Stadium.
”We left at 4:30 from Hagerstown, and the streets everywhere were just jammed,” she said.
They were gridlocked getting into the parking lots, and Benjamin said the experience was frustrating.
Finally, they were in line to see the concert 20 minutes after it was slated to begin.
About 8 p.m., the Maryland Department of Transportation’s interactive map showed heavy congestion on Interstate 395 South heading toward downtown and on the streets surrounding the stadium.
With the concert scheduled for the same day as Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Orioles and Rangers, local officials sent out advance warnings of heavy traffic in the downtown area Saturday.
Matters were complicated when the Orioles game was delayed by about an hour due to rain.
Initially, the parking lots at the Camden Yards Sports Complex were set to open for concert-goers at 5:30 p.m., but that was pushed back to 6:15 p.m. due to the delayed first pitch.
In addition to Joel and Nicks, Mexican singer Carín León is performing just up the street at CFG Bank Arena at 8 p.m.
Other events in the vicinity included the Greek Food, Wines and Culture Festival along West Preston Street, the Italian Heritage Festival in Little Italy, the Fells Point Fun Festival, the International Edgar Allan Poe Festival and Awards and the World Oddities Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Officials in the Baltimore City Department of Transportation encouraged drivers to plan ahead to avoid possible traffic congestion and delays. The department encouraged people to use mass transit, including Light Rail, Metro subway, bus or the Charm City Circulator, and to avoid parking in nearby neighborhoods with restrictions and residential permit parking regulations.
After the Orioles game ended, Baltimore Police officers directed traffic as other fans squeezed their way onto the packed Light Rail.
The congestion on Pratt Street was typical for a well-attended game at the ballpark.
Not all concert-goers experienced problems.
For some who are familiar with the city and came early, parking at a shared lot was not difficult.
Shenaz Oomrigar-Sabnis, who is a “big Billy Joel fan” and shares a birthday with the singer, said she and her friends went to Federal Hill early, around 3 p.m., expecting the traffic would be bad.
Getting information about parking and navigating the concert was tough, added Meg Roth, but everything ran smoothly on the day of.
”It was better than we thought it was going to be,” Julie Betler said.