Our first-time visit to Roanoke and the Berglund Center on Aug. 11 for the James Taylor, Jackson Browne concert was disappointing, distressing, and dangerous. They were utterly unprepared to facilitate 10,000-paying customers entering their venue, and they made no effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 at a time when the country is being ravaged by the Delta variant.
We arrived an hour early and could only locate four working doors, all having extremely long lines. With a single security guard and metal detector at each doorway they simply couldn’t process the growing crowd. We found our seats 90 minutes after arriving and missed the first 30 minutes of the show which started on time.
With no ushers in the building, we wandered around a dense crowd of other lost people as we tried to find our seats in a darkened venue. It is mind-blowing to think the Berglund wouldn’t make an effort to delay the start of the show when thousands of people were outside and unable to enter due to their lack of organization. It is equally mind-blowing that when other concert venues are requiring masks AND evidence of vaccination, the Berglund Center acted as if COVID didn’t exist.
In 10 years of attending concerts all over the mid-Atlantic we have never seen anything this chaotic and unsafe. When expensive concert tickets are offered for sale at civic venues there is an expectation the purchaser’s visit will be safe and memorable. We will unfortunately remember the Berglund Center for this regrettable experience.