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Tamer crowds expected in Pittsburgh for Swift concert, arts festival |

Tamer crowds expected in Pittsburgh for Swift concert, arts festival

Pittsburghers anticipating raucous crowds on the North Shore this weekend can shake it off.

Officials expect fans at Taylor Swift’s show Saturday at Heinz Field to be a tamer crowd than at last week’s Kenny Chesney concert.

Swift’s 1989 World Tour show is expected to draw primarily teenagers, said Sonya Toler, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety. Police will monitor traffic and scalpers around the stadium, she said.

“It’s a different crowd that comes to a Taylor Swift show, so we don’t expect that tailgating and drinking is going to be an issue,” she said.

Parking lots will open at 3 p.m., two hours before stadium gates open. Music will begin at 7.

For the Chesney show, lots opened at 1 p.m. and roads were closed around the area to prevent early tailgating.

Mike Gable, director of the Department of Public Works, said road closures will not be as extensive. They will be in effect around Heinz Field up and down Art Rooney Avenue, he said, as opposed to across the North Shore.

“We don’t envision the same impact,” he said.

At Chesney’s 2013 concert, cleanup crews removed 30 tons of garbage from parking lots surrounding Heinz Field and arrested 73 tailgaters. This year, the city counted 10 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Across the river, thousands of other music and art fans are expected to attend the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, a 10-day display of music and art Downtown and at Point State Park. Now in its 55th year, the free annual festival runs Friday to June 14. Attendance in 2014 surpassed 400,000.

Organizers advised attendees traveling by car to find a space among the 5,000 parking spaces at garages in the Cultural District, near where the festival begins at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The event will have free bike valet parking from noon to 9 p.m. daily.

Concertgoers traveling the Parkway West likely won’t contend with detours, said Steve Cowan, PennDOT District 11 spokesman. Road work is scheduled to close inbound lanes from Interstate 79 to Parkway Center West at 10 p.m., after motorists will head toward Heinz Field for the concert. No detours will be in effect on the outbound lanes, Cowan said.

“We do our best to try to schedule around these major events, but the work does need to be completed,” he said.

Merrill Stabile, president of Alco Parking, said traffic before and after the concert could be challenging, since parents may be dropping off children and picking them up.

“This is going to be a tea dance compared to Chesney,” he said. “The last time Taylor Swift was here, things went very smoothly, and that is what we expect to happen this time around also.”

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or

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