Garth Brooks concertgoers were given parking priority while UF students struggled to find spots Saturday.
On Thursday, UF Transportation and Parking Services sent an email to UF students, staff and faculty about reserved concert parking, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando. It closed 16 on-campus reserved parking areas on Friday and Saturday. The concert noise and parking shortage caused problems for students before finals week.
The Commuter Lot, Welcome Center Garage and other parking areas were reserved for $25 to $50, according to the notice. Alternative parking lots were not given.
Jenna Waterous, a 20-year-old UF marketing junior, usually parks at Garage 4 on Newell Drive to study on the weekends at Marston Science Library.
Waterous saw parking complaints on Facebook while driving to campus but still came to study for her business statistics exam. She didn’t see any UF parking notices in advance.
She saw concertgoers parked in apartments complexes, along sidewalks and in the grass.
“They were just letting the fans park wherever,” Waterous said. “I’m confused about what people on campus were supposed to do.”
An O’Connell Center employee directed her to park at the Commuter Lot, Waterous said, but other employees at the Commuter Lot said she could not park there either.
Waterous said there were many empty spaces in both garages.
“I hope they get towed because they definitely didn’t have decals,” she joked. “They were all wearing boots and hats and camo, and I was like, ‘I don’t need this on my campus.’”
Reserved parking lots were selected to minimize the event’s effect on students, said Scott Fox, UF Transportation and Parking Services senior director, in an email. The University Athletic Association managed parking sales.
“We heard from a handful of students expressing specific needs, so we made special parking accommodations for them on Saturday,” Fox said in an email. “That number was quite small.”
Shannon Moriarty spent two evenings listening to Garth Brooks’ music boom from the stadium in her Midtown apartment during his Friday soundcheck and Saturday concert.
“I had a long day, a long week, and I just wanted to go home and relax,” said the 20-year-old UF art history junior. “But all I could hear was Garth Brooks — he was everywhere.”
Moriarty created a meme that showed how loud the concert was. The meme included characters from the television show SpongeBob SquarePants. Squidward was labeled as “Me in my apartment behind mid,” and SpongeBob was smiling as Garth Brooks.
She hopes future concerts are planned with more noise and traffic notice for students.
“We live here. We don’t just come here for Garth Brooks,” Moriarty said.
Shannon Moriarty, a 20-year-old UF art history junior, created a SpongeBob SquarePants meme after hearing loud noise from the Garth Brooks concert and soundcheck. She posted it on the Swampy memes for top 10 public teens Facebook group page.