Baby, you can drive my car: UTPD offers advice for McCartney show

The former Beatle’s first show in Knoxville is a sellout. Police advise you to get to campus early to avoid traffic snarls.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Baby, you can drive my car. And you better be early.

Paul McCartney plays Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night, and the University of Tennessee Police Department is urging all concert-goers to plan ahead and get to the campus venue early.

This is McCartney’s first trip to Knoxville, and the show is a sell-out. The former Beatle turns 80 in less than a month and is in the midst of what he’s been calling his “Got Back” tour, his first since the pandemic broke out.

UT police are managing traffic and they expect “significant traffic congestion” for such a spectacle. McCartney will draw fans from across the South.

Beatles and Wings fans got a glimpse of what a bad parking experience can be like last weekend before the McCartney outdoor show in Winston-Salem, N.C. Thousands of people waited for hours to park in traffic jams, causing a lot of frustration for what was supposed to be a joyous event.

The Winston-Salem hassles offer excellent anecdotal evidence about why it would be good to get to campus early on Tuesday.

Take advantage of early access to parking: Campus parking lots will open at 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to UTPD. It’s first-come, first-serve.

Party in the parking lot. The weather should be pleasant.

“Please plan to be parked and at the gates at least 90 minutes before the 8 p.m. start of the concert. Parking lots and garages closest to Thompson-Boling Arena will likely fill up first,” UTPD’s notice Wednesday states.

Other parking will be available on the UT Agriculture campus, which veteran sports fans will recall is a popular spot for football game days. Free shuttles will take you back and forth to TBA from there.

Unreserved garage and surface lot spaces will be $10. You can bet lots will sell out before the show starts.

You’ll find more helpful information here.

McCartney and his band have been covering more than 25 songs a show this time around, including many of his greatest hits. If you’re going, you can expect fireworks, a special nod to his bandmate and friend John Lennon and a show that will easily last more than 2 1/2 hours.

The band might even bring out a University of Tennessee flag.