Blog > May 2024 > Attending concerts as a wheelchair user

Attending concerts as a wheelchair user



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Being a wheelchair user doesn't stop me from loving music and wanting to see my favorite bands and singers perform. I love live music! There is just something about being in that crowd of people who all share the same love and passion for the performer on stage. Concerts give me a burst of energy and good vibes throughout my soul. But finding wheelchair accessible seats at concerts can come with plenty of challenges. Let's talk about this process and learn more about how to make it easier to go to a concert in a wheelchair!

Cory attending a concert in his wheelchair

First, let's define "accessible seats." When referring to a concert venue, an accessible seat is a space that is solely designated for a wheelchair user to park or for the wheelchair user's companion. This seating area is normally larger and more spacious than the rest of the seating areas in the venue. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design provides clear guidelines on what constitutes accessible seating.

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 ticket sales. This includes selling tickets during the same hours, through the same methods, and during the same stages of sales. I mean, why shouldn't they? But knowing this is the law helps to keep the venues and ticket selling entities more fair for the concertgoers who use wheelchairs. The ADA website also states that venues cannot charge a higher price for accessible seats than for non-accessible seats in the same seating section. This is great as well, and of course is fair for any concertgoer.

The ADA also states that people purchasing a ticket for an accessible seat may purchase up to three additional seats for their companions in the same row and these seats must be contiguous with the accessible seat. If they have already been sold, the venue must offer other seats as close as possible. This is often an issue with myself and other people who use wheelchairs, as we want to go to a concert with all of our friends like anyone else. We travel there together and want to remain together to witness performance while sharing laughs, conversations, and photos during the show.

Because venues are not allows to require proof of disability as a condition for purchasing tickets for accessible seats, it may then become harder to find available accessible seating. People who do not use a wheelchair may purchase these seats even though a wheelchair use may be left with no accessible seats at all for the event. The venue can, however, ask a person to change seats if the disability is questionable and if a ticket-holding wheelchair user is there and needs that section of seating.

Now that we are familiar with the laws of accessible concert seating, let's dive in to acquiring a ticket. I always call the event venue first before purchasing online. Often, the phone system will have an option for the accessible ticket office, and you can speak directly with someone about the seat that you will be needing. I also like to check with the venue first because sometimes they may change their seating charts and not update this with ticket sellers like Ticketmaster.

If I can't purchase my ticket directly through the venue office, I then will have to try my luck with a service like Ticketmaster. Since there aren't many accessible seats per venue and I have to wait in the same queue as everyone else, it can be difficult to snatch those accessible seats. The availability will vary based on the event space and the policies of the venue. Therefore, finding somewhere I can remain in my chair and enjoy the show when there is only one accessible row in each section is sometimes difficult.

When tickets go on sale at Ticketmaster, you can either purchase accessible tickets online directly from your event's interactive seat map or call 1-800-877-7575. If purchasing online, you should first select the Filter button. Next, toggle the Show accessible tickets switch and the types of accessible tickets available for that event will appear. Then, select the Apply filters button. Lastly, slick or tap a section on the interactive seat map to see how many accessible tickets are available, as well as their location within the section and price.

if you are wondering if you can purchase a VIP Package for a concert while attending in your wheelchair, follow these steps! First, purchase a VIP Package through Ticketmaster and then submit a request for accessible tickets for your VIP Package. To submit this request, you must sign into your account after purchasing your VIP Package tickets. Next, find your VIP Package order in "My Events." Then, tap the Chat icon and a Fan Support representative will assist you with your request.

If Ticketmaster isn't the primary ticket seller for the event, you should call the venue box office directly to check accessible seating availability. Or if you have purchased a non-accessible seat through a secondary market, but you need an accessible seat, the ADA states that 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.

Cory attending a concert with his friend

Now that you've waited in the queue and purchased your accessible seat tickets, it's time to start planning for your next concert event! There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to enjoy any concert that you choose, regardless of your need to remain in your wheelchair.


Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie Q500 M.