WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Getting back to business. For the first time since before the pandemic, Intrust Bank Arena had a sold-out crowd Thursday night for country singer Morgan Wallen.

“We have had a lot of great concerts and great events since then. But packing the house with 12,000 fans. People from all over the state driving in it felt really great. I mean, everybody just had a smile on their face,” said Christine Pileckas, Intrust Bank Arena director of booking and marketing.

That crowd, pouring into businesses surrounding the area.

“We love it. We have missed concerts at INTRUST Bank Arena, and we’re so happy that they’re back,” said Natasha Gandhi-Rue, Owner and Executive Chef of The Kitchen.

The return of major shows brings a welcomed rush to the area.

“It really puts some pressure on restaurants and bars and downtown, which makes it fun. It’s a lively atmosphere,” said Brooke Russell, owner of Public at the Brickyard.

“It’s great. It’s a definite influx of not just revenue, but we get new people that haven’t been here. Maybe they’re from out of town, and they’re visiting or, you know, maybe they just don’t come downtown often,” Gandhi-Rue said.

Twenty-four hours later, local businesses are ready to run it back. Intrust Bank Arena is hosting another big-name concert featuring Ice Cube, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ying Yang Twins, and Cypress Hill.

“Everybody is eager to get back out there. There are a lot of tours that, you know. We’ve already got on the books for the rest of this year and next year. So, you know, I think we have entertainment-wise, we’re gonna have something for everybody,” Pileckas said.

Looking at the upcoming schedule, owners like Russell are feeling optimistic.

“We’re really hopeful that we’re getting to the point where this is endemic and that we can start looking at covid. And kind of a different way, and businesses can be more stabilized,” Russell said.

Some of the names coming to Intrust Bank Arena this year include the Beach Boys, the Backstreet Boys, and Jason Aldean.