High traffic, police presence expected in Panama City Beach for 2024 Gulf Coast Jam

PANAMA CITY BEACH − Another booming week of tourism is on the horizon for the Beach.

According to Chief J.R. Talamantez of the Panama City Beach Police Department, motorists traveling throughout the area this weekend should expect traffic delays and many pedestrians crossing Back Beach Road for the 2024 Gulf Coast Jam, which will be held Thursday to Sunday at Frank Brown Park.

"We're expecting one of the larger, if not the largest, Gulf Coast Jam event this year," Talamantez said. "With that will come some traffic delays. I want to remind people to take their time and understand that on top of Gulf Coast Jam, we have a lot of construction in the area.

"Plan ahead, utilize ride shares, taxis, car pools − anyway that you can minimize the amount of vehicle traffic on the roadways."

Chief JR Talamantez of the Panama City Beach Police Department says motorists should expect traffic delays, pedestrian crossings this weekend for 2024 Gulf Coast Jam.
Chief JR Talamantez of the Panama City Beach Police Department says motorists should expect traffic delays, pedestrian crossings this weekend for 2024 Gulf Coast Jam.

Tickets for the concert have been sold out since November. Gulf Coast Jam officials expect about 25,000 attendees this year − the same as in 2023, which set the record for having the largest turnout in the event's history.

According to the event's website, the headliners the festival are Parker McCollum, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson and Morgan Wallen.

Other artists slated to perform include Shane Smith & the Saints, Priscilla Block, Chase Matthew, Corey Kent, Kidd G, Austin Snell, Sadie Bass, John Morgan, Heartland, Peytan Porter, Deana Carter, Shelby Darrall and Chandler Flint.

Talamantez said local law enforcement will not tolerate those who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He also said there will be an increased police presence on the Beach this weekend to account for the influx of tourists.

Another upcoming festival: Bless your hearts: Another star-studded country music fest planned for Panama City Beach

Gulf Coast Jam is slated to occur about a month after 2024 Thunder Beach Spring Rally, a biannual motorcycle rally held May 1-5 in PCB that also is known to attract thousands of tourists to the area. During the event, there were at least eight motorcycle crashes within the city's limits.

The crashes resulted in three deaths and multiple serious injuries. All of those involved were tourists. Alcohol, speeding and reckless behavior are suspected to have been contributing factors.

"Just like any other event or any other time of the year, consuming alcohol without a plan to get home ... is a failure," Talamantez said. "We take drinking and driving seriously. If you plan to drink alcohol, do not plan to drive. Do not plan to test the limits and drive 'buzzed' because driving buzzed is driving drunk."

This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Panama City Beach police prepare for high traffic for Gulf Coast Jam