Kenny Chesney returns to Pittsburgh for the first time in four years

PITTSBURGH — Kenny is back in the Burgh after a four-year hiatus — the infamous Kenny Chesney concert has returned for its 11th summer.

The crowds also returned, with fans flooding Art Rooney Avenue as early as 11 a.m., and with boats docking some two to three weeks ago to get a prime spot for the show. North Shore parking lots opened at 1 p.m., and the stadium gates opened at 4 p.m., several hours before the three opening acts (beginning at 5 p.m.) and Chesney (scheduled for 9 p.m.) took the stage.

Chesney was to be joined by Dan + Shay, Old Dominion, and Carly Pearce.

Fans who spoke with Channel 11 News throughout the day said this year’s concert felt much safer and cleaner.

Todd Pifer and Russ Adkison, both first-time concertgoers, said their initial impression of the tailgate and concert were positive.

“I’m not seeing any trash,” said Pifer, who enjoyed the afternoon’s tailgate from a friend’s boat. “The parking lot we were at was spotless when we left,” said Adkison.

In the past, Kenny Chesney’s concerts have been characterized as unruly and messy. Following 2018′s event, 25 tons of trash had to be removed. And in 2013, 75 fights erupted in and outside of the stadium.

“I remember when they brought in the snowplows to clean out the beer cans that were laid around here,” said David Carlock, a diehard fan who attended several of Chesney’s past concerts in the city.

This year, though, fans seemed to be on their best behavior.

“It is a totally different vibe, totally different everything. Everyone is just having fun,” said Carlock.

And that is a good thing for concertgoers, who had the opportunity to enjoy the weather, the water, and the music.

“The people, the party, the boats, walking down here along the North Shore — it is awesome,” said Joanne Savinda.

But it is also a good thing for the city, which put in place new measures to help keep everything clean and everyone safe.

This year, the following rules were put in place:

  • Upon entering, fans will receive trash and recycling bags.
  • Trash must be disposed of properly.
  • The following are prohibited: solicitation of any kind, the sale of food and alcohol, glass containers, tents, personal port-a-johns, furniture (other than folding lawn chairs and tables), and oversized vehicles.
  • The NFL’s clear bag policy was also in effect for the show.

“Everyone was so community-oriented and sharing and loving,” said Jaloyn Focker.

And so far, so good for fans who have waited for Kenny’s return.

“I order my tickets instantly. I couldn’t wait until it came back,” added Carlock.

Exact numbers of how many people came out to celebrate will not be available tonight, but, in years past, upwards of 40,000 people have flooded the North Shore for Kenny Chesney.