The tailgaters won.
Jiffy Lube Live, the 25,000-capacity concert venue in Bristow said Wednesday that it is lifting the tailgate ban it enacted last year, a decision that irritated concert-goers who ventured to see performances from Jimmy Buffett, Lil Wayne, Stevie Nicks, Kid Rock and others in 2011.
Jiffy Lube Live, which is owned and operated by concert promotion colossus Live Nation, says that the decision was inspired by their patrons’ unhappiness over the ban.
“Fan feedback is critical to help improve our operations and create the best possible concert experience for our fans,” Matt Rogers, the venue’s general manager, said in an email. “The decision was made after listening to our fans and doing our due diligence.”
Rogers says that meant researching the tailgating policies of more than 30 sports arenas and concert venues across the country to find out what works and what doesn’t.
“With the new policy and guidelines, we want nothing more than to work with our fans to create a safe and friendly “pre-concert” environment,” he said.
So here are the rules. Grills will now be allowed. Tents and canopies will still be forbidden. Driving aisles must be kept clear of chairs and tables. And members of the Prince William County police, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Jiffy Lube Live staff will continue to enforce a ban on open alcohol containers in the parking lot. Underage drinking will also be targeted aggressively, Rogers said.
“Jiffy Lube [Live] coordinated with us in making this policy change and we feel that their operational plan will create a safe and manageable environment in the parking lot,” said Maj. Stephen Hudson, Assistant Chief of the Prince William County police in an email.
Jiffy Lube Live would not share its attendance figures for 2010 and 2011, but with the struggling economy continuing to erode the concert biz summer after summer, the venue has good reason to be sensitive to fan feedback.
Pollstar, the concert industry’s leading trade publication, says that the 25 top grossing tours to zig-zag across North America slipped four percent in 2011, from $1.24 billion to $1.19 billion. That was bad news for Live Nation, the largest concert promoter on that planet.
And while this frosty January weather makes the upcoming concert season feel far, far away, Jiffy Lube Live expects to begin announcing this summer’s bookings as early as next month.
For complete details on Jiffy Lube Live’s new tailgating policy, visit www.livenation.com/jlltailgating