O/T Wheelchair Seating At Concerts

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by commecicommeca, Feb 24, 2001.

  1. commecicommeca

    commecicommeca Earning My Ears

    Feb 9, 2001
    I apologize in advance for this very off topic and very long post.

    I've always been interested in this and never really had much opportunity to find out how it is in other parts of the country/world, but what kind of seating do your "main" venues offer for people with disabilities?

    The seating here in the NYC Metro area varies quite a bit. The only other place I've been to concerts is Montreal up in Quebec.

    Some of my pet peeve venues:

    1. At Madison Square Garden the orchestra seating for concerts is in the 13-15 rows and flat floor which means if everyone decides to get up, which more often than not they do, people stuck in wheelchairs are stuck watching the screens. For concerts I usually transfer and I can stand by holding on to the seat in front of me but I get tired easily so I have to pace myself. The rest of the accessible seating is on levels 200,300,400 which is quite high up.

    2. Jones Beach (or should I say Nazi Beach). I went to Lilith Fair there and when I called I told the guy right away to transfer me to the accessible seating department because I'd be using the wheelchair and he said no need that he could book the seats, I asked him if he needed a doctors note (the norm when booking accessible concert seating for the first time at a venue, after that you're registered with them) and again he said no, so I purchased my seats which I were row 1 in the accessible section. Apparently there are 2 accessible sections, the ones at the very front on the sodes pf the stage for people who were registered and the one right above the orchestra for people who asked for seats that could be accessed with a wheelchair (astounding logic). A great view until the whole orchestra got up and I couldn't see a thing. I can't stand unsupported so I went across the aisle to hold onto the rails in 2 feet front of us but was told about 10 times by the stupid Nazi security guards to return to my seat because I was blocking the way (I was really skinny, about 100 pounds at 5'5" and the 400 pound security guard standing next to the large trash can isn't in the way?) and I explained to him pointed out my wheelchair that I couldn't balance and that if I had to sit down then so should the whole orchestra because they were in MY way and they said no. For the last act, who is one of my favorite artists, I brought flowers because I believed that since my tickets said Row 1 that meant I'd be in the front row right in front of the stage. I went down to ask the security if I could give them to her and he said only if I could do it w/o being in the aisle (???) but he would throw them up for me if I liked and I was welcome to move to the real wheelchair area (like 5 rows from the stage) for the rest of the show.

    Venues that were great:

    1. Continental Airlines Arena. Simply the BEST!!! I saw Ricky Martin there and ordered tickets the minute they went onsale through the special office @ Continental. One bad thing is they don't tell you exactly where the seats are but on the night of the show we had quite a pleasant surprised being escorted by the ushers right to the front row! The security guards were great, they took photos of us before the show and didn't mind that we snapped away 2 films of Ricky.

    2. Molson Centre in Montreal. I had regular seats in nosebleed but decided to take my wheelchair along since the venue was a short walk from my hotel (short for my mom, short for me is a block) and we wanted to save cab money. When we were looking around for a way to get to the upper levels we were stopped by a very amusing usher with a big French accent who said that he did not want a wheelchair upstairs and he had better places for us to sit. He upgraded us to an accessible seating area a level lower than we were supposed to be.

    3. Radio City Music Hall. I went there for the Celine Dion All The Way television program taping which some might have seen on TV. Orchrestra seating is great because it's sloped. I had seats in the 23rd row (1st row of the 2nd part of orchestra) right on the aisle, they were regular seats but part of the accessible seating because I had my crutches. The venue had just been rennovated and the seats were comffffffyyyyyyy. I saw a lady in a wheelchair sitting a row in front (back row 1st part of orchestra) of us. There was just a space for a wheelchair and her companion was next to her in a regular seat (not folding chair). The staff was great, don't know if they were naturally so or if it was just because Celine's people wanted it to be a relaxed evening, but they let us go up to the stage and give her gifts and get a closer look at the closing number.
  2. JudithM

    JudithM DIS Veteran

    Dec 5, 1999
    I know Tarzan Rocks isn't exactly a "concert," but I'll share a positive anyway. A friend, also using an DCV, & I & our spouses went to Tarzan Rocks. The friends had already seen it, but from the handicapped area near the top. This time she wanted to be closer to the stage. Well, let me tell you we could not have been closer to the stage without being on it. We were right down front - it was awesome - Tarzan flew over us, Terk posed for pictures with us - it was a lot of fun. Plus we weren't very far from a rest room before the show began. We were one of the first guests there, & the cast members were very accomodating.

    We also found many cast members at the other shows - Beauty & the Beast, Indiana Jones, Hunchback, Festival of the Lion King - at WDW to be very accommodating.
  3. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    This wasn't a concert, but we went to a Twins baseball game in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. DD (the one in wheelchair) got bored during the game, so I took her out into the hallway which goes around the whole Metrodome. We planned to make the complete circle, but when we got about 3/4 of the way around, there was a guard who wouldn't let us any further. It seems that our seats were in the "good view" area and at some point on our trip, we had passed into the "bad view" area. He wouldn't let us go past him to the "good view" area because I didn't have our tickets. He told us there were no accessible seats in the "bad" area, but he still wouldn't let us through. We had to go all the way back. Luckily the guard who had been there when we passed thru the other way was still there and recognized us.

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES

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