Music News & Reviews

Festival-goers raved about Railbird’s facilities, setup. The traffic plan? Not so much.

Photo slideshow: Railbird Festival, Day 2

Thousands of people were on hand for the final day of the Railbird Festival at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Music: https://www.bensound.com
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Thousands of people were on hand for the final day of the Railbird Festival at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Music: https://www.bensound.com

The first day of Railbird Festival went off without a hitch for many of the thousands of patrons, but it was a different story when they got in their cars to leave.

Some social media users said they waited one hour and even up to two hours to leave the Keeneland grounds following the first night of the festival Saturday night.

The traffic woes will lead to small changes in the parking procedure for Sunday’s last day of the festival.

“We made it out in the end. Took just shy of two hours,” wrote Mariah Bozzell, who chronicled her nightmare in the parking lot of Keeneland Saturday night. “In a way I kind of miss our hours living in the Corrola.”

“Are we supposed to just spend the night here or what?” another Twitter user said.

Others wrote to Railbird on Twitter, telling organizers of the inaugural festival there seemed to be zero plan for leaving the Keeneland grounds and asking how they could be this unprepared.

Lexington police Sgt. Donnell Gordon, who worked the festival Saturday night, said traffic was actually moving smoothly. But with thousands of people leaving at once during the last act or immediately after, it likely led to some congestion.

Gordon said they were packing up their traffic cones to leave around 11:40 p.m. Saturday, with the last act concluding 40 minutes prior.

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A Railbird spokesperson said parking procedures will remain the same for pre-paid GA, VIP and Superfecta weekend parking Sunday. However, there will be adjustments to single-day parkers.

“Today, patrons paying for single-day parking will enter through Gate 1 and park in the Drive-thru wagering lot,” a statement from a festival spokesperson said. “When it is time to leave, these patrons will exit through Gate 4.”

There are four separate exit points from the Keeneland grounds and those using Uber or Lyft are urged to use the designated pickup point inside Keeneland and not on Versailles Road, Gordon said.

Visitors traveling inbound on Versailles Road are asked to use Gate 1 rather than the Van Meter entrance. When the festival ends Sunday, Gates 4 and 5 will transition to exiting towards Old Frankfort Pike to ease traffic on Versailles Road, Gordon added.

Brandi Carlile, Mavis Staples, The Raconteurs and Old Crow Medicine Show were among the favorite acts for the festival’s first day. More than 15,000 patrons were expected to attend each day, a festival spokesperson said.

Gates for Railbird’s second day open at 12 p.m. Sunday and the last act, Hozier, is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.

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