Going to a Concert in a Wheelchair: Making Live Music Accessible

I love the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of people who all have the same love for a performer as I do. There’s just something about being at a concert and singing along to your favorite songs you’ve heard on the radio, but now it’s all in real life. Using a wheelchair to maneuver around doesn’t change my desire to enjoy concerts. But sometimes, finding accessible concert venues and accessible seats may take a little more time.  This article will cover how to make going to a concert in a wheelchair easier.

What Does an Accessible Ticket Mean?

First, let’s define “accessible concert tickets.” These are tickets someone who uses a wheelchair may purchase, as well as their companions. This ticket will provide the person using a wheelchair with an accessible seat. An accessible ticket also means you are treated with fairness while purchasing your ticket and attending the concert. In other words, an accessible ticket means I, being a wheelchair user, can attend a concert, remain in my wheelchair, and enjoy the show just like everyone else.

Accessible Ticketing and Seating

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides clear guidelines on what constitutes accessible seating, including:

  • Seating Options: Wheelchair users can attend a concert, and remain in their wheelchair, enjoying the show just as everyone else would, or they can transfer to a seat provided by the venue.
  • Ticket sales: According to the ADA website, venues are required to sell tickets for accessible seats in the same manner and under the same conditions as all other tickets. This includes: 
    • Methods of sale: Methods of sale include online or in-person ticket sales, which should be accessible to all.
    • Stages of sale: Accessible seats are required to be available during different stages of sale like pre-sale and public sale.
    • Times of sale: Accessible tickets should be available at the same time as all other concert tickets.
    • Price of tickets: Venues cannot charge a higher price for accessible seat tickets than for non-accessible seats in the same section.

The above guidelines help to ensure an accessible experience for all concert goers.

Purchasing Accessible Tickets on Ticketmaster

Accessible tickets on Ticketmaster are tickets that have been set aside to be purchased by someone using a wheelchair or their companions. Here are the steps to find accessible tickets:

  • Purchase options: When tickets go on sale at Ticketmaster, either purchase accessible tickets online from your event’s interactive seat map or call 1-800-877-7575.
  • Online purchase: If purchasing accessible tickets online, you’ll be prompted to create a Ticketmaster account and join the queue. When purchasing your tickets:
  1. Select the ‘filter’ button.
  2. Toggle the ‘show accessible tickets’ switch and the types of accessible tickets available for that event will appear.
  3. Select the ‘apply filters’ button.
  4. Click a section on the interactive seat map to see how many accessible tickets are available, their location within the section and price.

Accessibility and VIP Concert Tickets

Accessible concert tickets can be purchased to include a VIP package if desired, but first you will want to follow these steps:

  1. After selecting your concert and purchasing your accessible tickets on Ticketmaster, you may then purchase a VIP Package through Ticketmaster.
  2. After purchasing a VIP package, you can then submit a request for accessible tickets for your VIP Package. To submit this request, you must sign in to ‘My Account’ after purchasing your VIP tickets, find your VIP Package order in ‘My Events’, then tap the ‘chat’ icon and a support representative will assist you with your request. 

Third Party Tickets and Accessibility 

If you have purchased a non-accessible seat through a third party, but you need an accessible seat, no worries! The ADA states you must be permitted to exchange the ticket for a comparable accessible seat. This can be done once you have entered the venue on the night of the event, with your non-accessible ticket in hand. 

ADA Seating at Concerts

ADA seating at a concert is specifically designated for people with disabilities. The accessible seat may be a space solely designated for a wheelchair user to park or for the wheelchair user’s companion. This seating area is often larger and more spacious than the rest of the seating areas in the venue. The accessible concert ticket may also provide you with access to a chair in the seating area if you would like to transfer from your wheelchair to a chair provided by the venue.

Using a wheelchair should not stop you from enjoying any concert you desire. You will have to act quickly though, as the number of accessible seats at concerts is limited. This can be frustrating as you will still have to remain in the same ticket purchasing queue as everyone else with a smaller selection of seats to choose from. As soon as the queue opens for your desired concert, jump online so you have the best chance at getting accessible tickets.

Accessible Seating for Concert Goers Attending with a Disabled Person 

The ADA also allows for seating for up to three companions with the wheelchair user in the same row which are next to each other if available, or in the nearest section to the wheelchair user within the same price range.

Creating a Memorable Concert Experience

I love being able to not only enjoy concerts in my wheelchair, but my friends can share in the experience with me as well. 

Live music has always been a love of mine, and not letting my disability stop me from doing what I love has been a driving force throughout my life. Just like people without disabilities, people with disabilities enjoy live music too. I am thankful the ADA includes concert regulations, but I am most happy when concert venues are easily accessible and accommodating for all. Just talking about all of this has made me want to book another concert trip. Maybe I will see you there - in the accessible seating, of course!

Cory Lee

Travel Blog Author and Accessibility Advocate

Cory Lee has visited over 40 countries and all seven continents as a wheelchair user. He also runs the award-winning travel blog “Curb Free with Cory Lee”, where he hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to break out of their comfort zone and experience all of the beauty our world has to offer. 

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