Accessibility at concerts

Lack of Accessibility at Concerts is a Problem

“‘We’re accessible; we have an elevator,’ but then the question is, ‘Can I get to the elevator?'”

In this revealing article in Denver’s Westword publication, hip-hop artist Kalyn Heffernan details the struggles she and her friends face attending concerts and performing as a person with disabilities. Kalyn was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital bone disorder characterized by brittles bones. As a result, Kalyn is three feet six inches tall and gets around in an electric wheelchair. Accessibility at concerts is incredibly important to her.

Concert venues are not the safest places for people with disabilities. In crowded spaces, Kalyn faces particular risks. She is far more susceptible to broken bones, and it’s important for her to be able to navigate easily. Her biggest issue is getting noticed by others in her vicinity because of her small stature. Improved accessibility at concerts would significantly advance the safety of people with disabilities, like Kalyn.

In addition to improved safety, accessibility would also ensure a better viewing experience for people with disabilities. Often, venues do not have a sectioned off area or viewing platform for wheelchair users or others with spatial needs. This means people with disabilities often find themselves in the back of the room with a worse view of the stage, cut off from a social experience.

Granted, viewing platforms are not the perfect solution to the problem of accessibility at concerts. For example, they still isolate people with disabilities from the rest of crowd. However, they offer a clear line of sight and increase safety for people with disabilities. Although they’re not the best solution, viewing platforms are a building block.

Despite the obstacles she faces at venues, Kalyn has a positive outlook. Her passion for music will always outweigh the hassle a night seeing music presents. In the meantime, Kalyn and her friends have plenty of ideas how concert halls could improve their accessibility.

What Are Your Thoughts on Accessibility At Concerts?

In the comments section below, let us know your thoughts and experiences with venue accessibility at concerts. How would you improve the safety and accessibility of concert halls? What types of accessibility features have worked for you? What’s important for you to know about a facility before attending a concert?

Click the link below to read Kalyn’s full discussion with Westword about venue accessibility.

http://www.westword.com/music/going-to-concerts-is-a-huge-hassle-for-people-with-disabilities-but-it-shouldnt-be-6279205

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Josh Appel
jappel@disabledspectator.com
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