Kenny Chesney's "No Shoes Nation Tour" not only set a record for the largest crowd ever at Target Field, it also helped Metro Transit set a record for pre-sale tickets on the Northstar Commuter line.
The transit agency said it sold 530 advanced tickets for the two Northstar runs from Big Lake to the Minneapolis ballpark for the concert on Friday, July 12. That eclipsed the previous pre-sale record set just two weeks ago when 466 advanced tickets were sold ahead of the Twins-Kansas City Royals game on June 30.
In total, more than 2,000 people took the Northstar Line to the big show. An estimated 10,000 people arrived at Target Field by way of the Metro Blue Line, the light-rail line that runs along Hiawatha Avenue from the Mall of America in Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis.
Spokesman John Siqveland said Metro Transit employees counted people getting on and off light-rail trains at Target Field and the Warehouse District stations to arrive at the 10,000 number.
Siqveland attributed the record pre-sale on the Northstar Line to publicity and heavy promotion in the St. Cloud area, where many fans drove to Big Lake to catch the train.
"People are finding that it's an easy and fast way to get in and out of Target Field with no hassles," Siqveland said. Ridership is "building as people become aware that we do this."
In addition to its regular weekday rush hour service, Metro Tranist offers special Northstar runs for Twins and Vikings games and special events. Last year the agency did not run a train for the Chesney and Tim McGraw concert at Target Field.
"We got many inquiries as to why we didn't," Siqveland said. "There clearly is a demand for it."
Metro Transit plans to run special Northstar Commuter trains for the Skyline Music Festival on July 26. The concert, also at Target Field, features Soul Asylum, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Matthew Sweet and the Gear Daddies.
Riders can buy tickets to take the Northstar to the show or for other special events such as Twins and Vikings games at www.metrotransit.org/northstar. Round trip tickets from Big Lake begin at $12. Prices drop for rides from stations in Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley.
Family passes, which allow two adults and up to three children ages 6 to 17 to ride, are $20 from Big Lake and less from stations closer to Minneapolis.