LINCOLN, Neb. - With 80,000 concertgoers expected to converge on Memorial Stadium for Garth Brooks' return to this weekend, businesses and government leaders are preparing for the influx of people.
The owners of Tipsy Tina’s in the Haymarket District told news partner 10/11 Now that they are getting ready for the concert the same way they would for any other Memorial Stadium sell out during football season. The same amount of food and alcohol have already been ordered, as well as extra staff members will be on hand.
“It’s just about getting people feeling comfortable again,” said managing partner of Tipsy Tina’s, Nathan Stewart. “I feel like this Garth Brooks concert will start everything for football season, just kind of getting back into a routine a little bit.”
Tipsy Tina’s will have sanitation stands and the restaurant said they’re following CDC guidelines as the city gets closer to the concert.
Not only is this a good opportunity for the community to get back into bars and restaurants in downtown Lincoln, but Stewart says it’s also a great opportunity to recoup some of the losses from last football season.
According to the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lincoln lost roughly $6 million per home game last season, which included downtown restaurants and bars.
“You know there’s a reason businesses pay a higher rent to be here at the Haymarket, O St., things of that sort. We pay a higher rent so we need a higher revenue for these game days so it’ll be nice to not have to stress out and we should have all the home football games and we can count on the revenue that we’ve had in the past,” said Stewart.
Downtown businesses are treating this concert just like any other Husker Gameday, and Stewart said this Saturday will be a good indication of what home football games will look like for the upcoming season.
During a city news conference Wednesday, Lincoln Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez highly encouraged anybody heading to the Garth Brooks concert to wear a mask, even though it’s outdoors.
“The delta variant is different. It spreads more easily and quickly than other variants and it’s more likely to cause severe illness, particularly among people who are unvaccinated," Lopez said. "This is not the same virus we were dealing with months ago.”
Only 35 of the more than 70,000 people who attended Brooks’ concert in Kansas City on Saturday took advantage of a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the Kansas City Health Department said. The mobile vaccination clinic operated for four hours in the Arrowhead parking lot before the concert, and fans were offered a chance to get upgraded floor seats to the concert if they were vaccinated.
Brooks, who has said he is fully vaccinated, has encouraged his fans to get the shot.