ADA Seat Clash At Red Rocks

Disabled fans are crying foul over able-bodied patrons scoring Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant seats to concerts at  near Denver. 

Seats in one of the ADA-compliant sections in the venue are apparently in high demand, as they’re located right in front of stage. But the tickets often wind up on the secondary market, and in the hands of people without disabilities. The local KUSA-TV looked into the matter during several recent concerts, finding some able-bodied patrons purchased tickets on secondary sites despite knowing they were in the disabled seating section.

“My belief is there is a special place in hell for people who knowingly buy those [tickets],” Red Rocks spokesman Brian Kitts told the station. “Until someone changes the law, we have to live with it the way it is.”

For fans like Corey Fairbanks, who uses a wheelchair, the ticket situation is more than a little frustrating. “We simply can’t get tickets because everyone who doesn’t deserve them has already bought them,” Fairbanks told the station. “They don’t want to embarrass you because of your disability, but there needs to be a happy median, especially at a venue like Red Rocks where the desire to be as close to the stage as you can is really high.”

Red Rocks policy allows disabled patrons requiring special seating to purchase up to three companion seats next to their accessible seat in rows 1 and 70 of the venue.

Trouble is, even though you have to go through a special process on Red Rocks’ website to purchase such tickets and click a disclaimer to affirm that you need the special seats, there are no penalties for those able-bodied people who are willing to lie and claim they have a disability.

When interviewed by the station, several local disability lawyers told KUSA-TV that Red Rocks is not in violation of the ADA, but could pursue more aggressive policies such as asking people to move if they don’t require the accessible seating.

Kitts disagreed, explaining there’s simply no way to obey current ADA policies and be fair to all patrons.

“There’s not a legal way for any venue – not just Red Rocks – to inquire about what your disability is,” he said.