Everything You Need To Know Before Attending This Weekend's Free March Madness Music Festival.
It's no longer March, but no matter: This weekend, due to the fact that the NCAA men's basketball championship tournament is set to come to its close out at the AT&T Deathstar in Arlington at essentially the same time, Downtown Dallas will play host to a series of free-to-attend concerts as part of its March Madness Music Festival, which now occurs in conjunction with the tourney each year.
And, as we've already noted, the names playing this thing are pretty huge
Springsteen, The Killers, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, fun. and — as of today — LL Cool J are all set to perform. And those are just the super-huge names involved.
So, yeah, it's a pretty cool deal. Especially when you consider how crappy free events like these generally tend to be.
And, as a result, you can expect things to be hectic this weekend around the old Reunion Arena grounds where these shows are being held. The Dallas Police Department has already gone on record as saying that they expect the freshly dubbed Reunion Park to hit its 40,000-person capacity on each and everyone one of this affair's three days; in fact, they're already planning on having to turn some 10,000 to 20,000 people away each and every single day.
Given that, we figured it'd be helpful to consolidate all of the information about this weekend's affairs in a single place, so you can best be prepared for the mayhem you'll be getting yourself into should you choose to attend these shows.
First of all, a should-be-obvious reminder that applies to most any event of this scale: Don't forget to wear your comfy shoes and to bring a positive attitude. You're going to be standing around for long stretches of times, and you're going to be forced to wait in long lines both to get into the concerts and to get any concessions once inside. Expecting otherwise would be foolish.
Now, onto other pertinent details you should keep in mind.
THE DAILY SCHEDULE.
• 3:30 p.m.: Jack Ingram.
• 5 p.m.: Wild Feathers.
• 6:30 p.m.: Eli Young Band.
• 8:30 p.m.: Jason Aldean.
• 1:30 p.m.: LL Cool J.
• 2:45 p.m.: Tim McGraw.
• 7:30 p.m.: The Killers.
• 2:15 p.m.: The Wind & The Wave.
• 3:30 p.m.: Pat Green.
• 5:15 p.m.: fun.
• 7:15 p.m.: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.
OTHER STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND, OK?
• Yes, all of these events are all-ages.
• Yes, they're completely free-to-attend. As a result, expect plenty of early-arrivers. And don't dilly-dally around and show up late yourself. You will be turned away once capacity is reached.
• On Friday, gates open at 3 p.m. On Saturday, they open at noon. On Sunday, they open at 2 p.m..
• Feel free to show up earlier to guarantee entry, but know that the cops will turn you away if you try to line up prior to 6 a.m.
• No, you don't need to bring anything in order to get in. But you will need an I.D. if you want to purchase alcohol, which is a no-brainer.
• You will not need cash, though. Food and beverage vendors inside the park will accept either cash or credit/debit card payments. ATMs will also be available inside if needed.
• Parking will be available at the Kay Baily Hutchinson Convention Center and some other Downtown parking lots for a fee.
• Take the DART if you want to avoid parking headaches. If you ride the Red Line, the Blue Line or the TRE, your closest stop will be the Union Station stop.
• This is important: Because it's a first-come, first-served event, re-entry is a tricky proposition. Just be safe and don't leave. If you do, you're not guaranteed to get back in. There will be no tickets or wristbands handed out at entry. Once you're in, you're in. Once you're out, you're out.
• All purses and/or handbags will be subjected to physical inspection by security personnel. You know the drill, guys. This happens at events like these. Refuse to comply with this rule and you will not be allowed inside. Leave your guns at home.
• Events will have heavy strobe-lighting and laser-lighting. If you're prone to seizures, beware.
DO NOT EVEN BOTHER TRYING TO BRING THESE THINGS INTO THE GROUNDS. IF YOU DO, THEY WILL BE TOSSED AND NOT RETURNED.
• Bags of any kind that are more than 11×17 inches.
• Pets. (Service dogs will be allowed with proper certification and paperwork.)
• Bottles, cans, liquid containers or coolers.
• Outside food.
• Video recorders or still cameras with lenses longer than four inches.
• “Missile-like objects.”
• Laser pointers.
• Poles or sticks.
• Artificial noisemakers.
• Objects that will obstruct other attendees' views.
• Folding chairs.
• Promotional items.
• Beach balls or basketballs larger than 29.5 inches in circumference. (That's the normal size of a basketball, just so you know.)
• Any item deemed dangerous or inappropriate by management.
Note that there are three entry points.
Map courtesy of the NCAA.
Map courtesy of the NCAA.