RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Fans of Garth Brooks still remember their concert woes one year after his performance at Thunder Ridge Nature Arena. There has not been a public concert at the venue since, which took place in October of 2022.
No announcements have been made about what the next big concert is at the venue, but Big Cedar said there are plans to bring more entertainment to Thunder Ridge.
“Regarding future events, we will be bringing world class entertainment and experiences to the Ozarks in 2024 and have developed partnerships with two of the leading concert promoters and special events organizers in the world, Live Nation and ASM Global.”Big Cedar
Big Cedar Lodge said Garth Brooks’ performance drew in 80-thousand people over the course of four days. The large crowds were too big for the highway, causing some to miss the concert completely. Those who made it in were stuck for hours trying to leave the venue.
“I feel like we waited 3 hours,” Amy Ricke said. She and her husband attended the concert, and were stuck in stand-still traffic leaving the venue. “It could have been longer, but it was a long time and it was a long time of not moving. The way that they were letting traffic out, it was per line. In our [parking] lot, [we were] one of the later lines to be let out because our lot didn’t move.”
For the last several months, Big Cedar has been working to expand Highway 86.
“We are working in conjunction with the state to improve traffic flow on Hwy. 86, which is becoming one of the most heavily traveled arteries in southwest Missouri.”Big Cedar Lodge
The expansion is being done in phases, with Big Cedar sharing the first phase is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
“I think by better, you know, having more lanes and just having a little better flow, having more organization around it will help increase the amount of traffic that can get in and out in a more timely fashion,” Ricke said.
As for parking, Big Cedar said the goal is to have all patrons park on-site in 2024. Big Cedar has also made more room for parking at the venue, and is making other additions to Thunder Ridge.
“We are adding many guest experience elements, including expanded suites, towers with overnight accommodations, meeting rooms, enhanced entertainment experiences, concessions, restrooms, campgrounds, and increased parking.”Big Cedar Lodge