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Kevin Hart at the John Paul Jones Arena Review: The parking pass to nowhere

Chris Graham
kevin hart
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I’ve had my last bad experience at a John Paul Jones Arena entertainment event. The hour and 15 minutes that it took me to get into a parking garage before the Kevin Hart show on Saturday night, and hour-plus it took to get out, that’s it for me.

And we’re veterans of JPJ shows, enough to know to buy a parking pass so that we don’t have to fight for the last spot on the top floor of the parking garage on Ivy.

Which is why it was beyond frustrating when the traffic cop told us when we got to the prepaid parking lot that we’d have to head over to the Ivy garage.

But, but, but … we have a parking pass.

Obviously we wouldn’t have sat in traffic on the Leonard Sandridge Road entrance for 45 minutes if there’d been signage on the 29/250 bypass directing us to the parking garage, right?

Not to mention the 20 bucks we’d plunked down for the parking pass that did us no good.

I’m reminded of the bit from the “Seinfeld” episode when Jerry was at the airport trying to pick up a rental car, and was told that despite having made a reservation, they didn’t have his car.

In our case, we had a parking pass, so, y’know, there should be at least one spot in that prepaid lot without anybody in it, right?

Um, no.

I emailed a general contact address at JPJ about the issue while we were sitting in traffic.

This was the response:

“Prepaid parking passes are valid at a number of lots surrounding the arena. Emmett Ivy Garage still has open spots at this time and is one of our lots.  The parking pass does not guarantee a specific space within a specific lot.”

Problem with this response is, there was no one there checking for parking passes.

The Emmett Ivy Garage is free and open to everyone.

Which is fine, just that, why did I pay 20 bucks for a parking pass again?

I replied to whoever it was that had responded to my query to that effect.

No response.

Whatever, the show started a half-hour late, so we only missed the first two warmup acts.

Kevin Hart was funny, yada, yada, yada, go see his show in Richmond, at Altria Theater.

Never had a problem getting in or out of there.

Getting in or out of JPJ is always a nightmare, and if it’s possible, it was worse Saturday night.

We hit the car at 10:10 p.m, and it was around 11:15 before we were able to roll out.

Leaving our box score for the night: roughly two hours, 15 minutes sitting in the car around JPJ trying to get in and out, an hour-45 inside enjoying the show.

I hope the JPJ folks get a lot of value of that 20 bucks for the parking pass to nowhere.

It’s the last 20 bucks of mine they’re ever going to see.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].