The answer is yes and no with a maybe the promoters will go the 9 yards on accommodation
By Stephen Pate – When I wrote Rod Stewart Cavendish PEI Disabled Attendees Will Be Survivor Contestants it was my concern that the tickets are sold on a RUSH basis to people who needed accessible seating.
“First-come-first-served seating for wheelchairs is a game of Survivor-of-the-fastest at Cavendish for Rod Stewart,” was the byline 2-weeks ago.
The promoters Whitecap Entertainment objected to those conclusions and point out the efforts they have gone to in trying to make your concert, if you use a wheelchair, to attend and enjoy the concert. In my estimation, Whitecap are almost there in ensuring the accommodation of people with disabilities. They still need to issue tickets on an accessible basis to finish the job.
Whitecap partly admit that it might be better to sell reserved accessible seats, like most concerts away from PEI and similar to the Shania Twain concert last summer in Charlottetown. Whitecap will consider this suggestion and make a further announcement if they change their minds.
Yes you still have to arrive early to be assured seating in the accessible or wheelchair area but Whitecap believes they have done enough to make you happy.
There will be limited capacity for 60 wheelchairs plus companions in the accessible area, which is elevated and will have a very good view of the stage. Separate accessible facilities will allow you ready access to the toilets and parking.
Whitecap say that after years of running the Cavendish Beach Festival they have never had a capacity crowd in the accessible seating. They do plan for a 24′ by 24′ back-up section if the Rod Stewart audience includes older audience members who potentially could need wheelchair accessibility.
Of course, there is limited reserved wheelchair seating on the ground at a higher ticket price.
Will that work for you? It depends on your sense of adventure. If you arrive early, couples with wheelchair use will probably be seated in the accessible area. Some people who use wheelchairs don’t like the separate seating in any event and will be happy to be in the crowd.
So if you’re a late comer and the accessible seating is full, it may not be a big concern. Each person has their own need for accommodation and tolerance for risk.
I mention the Shania Twain concert in Charlottetown. The accessible seating was reserved and that worked well.
Whitecap assured me they will be strict about keeping unauthorized people out of the accessible area. There is a somewhat bizarre need to bring your accessible parking tag to the seating area, at which point your car will seem to be parked without reason in the accessible parking. It’s a logistical issue Whitecap haven’t sorted out.
Using a pre-authorized tag – like Shania Twain – would solve it. Or selling tickets to capacity like they are required by law to do for people without disabilities. People with disabilities are still begging at the table for whatever scraps they are given.
In the United States, the promoters would not ticket the concert this way. The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities from discrimination. Fines for failing the ADA are usually high enough to bring businesses into line.
I got a refund on my tickets. Personally, I don’t need the hassle of worrying about entertainment and I can’t fight the crowds any more.
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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network