Thanks to Friedreich’s ataxia, I’m never more anxious than in an open crowd in a big space. While feeling hopeless and lost in space, a lot of mixed emotions and questions run through my head: “Will I be able to transport through the crowd OK, or will I lose my balance when doing so? Will people judge my walker use?” My fiance Justin and I recently attended a concert with general admission seating. It was hard to fight my anxieties while there. However, I knew I was safe and in good hands by being there with Justin.
A Pearl Jam tribute band was playing at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino in Chester, Pennsylvania. Justin and I love Pearl Jam and live music, and Guy Fieri just opened a new restaurant there, so we thought to ourselves, “Why not?”
Only general admission tickets were available. General admission can be tricky because each venue has a different setup, so it’s hard to predict accessibility. It is important to research before attending any event, especially when the event could be “standing room only.”
Justin and I researched by searching the casino’s website and Yelp page for any mention of a designated ADA section
. Both sources did not have what we sought, perhaps because the venue is fairly new. I wish the provision of that information would be standard.
We called a casino representative who said the event space is one large room and does not have special areas for people with accessibility needs. However, the worker said the room is large enough for me to sit on my rollator. We decided to move forward with purchasing tickets.
The night of the concert, Justin and I ate a delicious meal at Guy Fieri’s restaurant. We then entered the venue and realized we were in luck! There were a few rows of chairs, plus multiple cushioned benches along the walls of the big, open space. I am unsure why the person speaking on the phone didn’t mention this. We sat comfortably to enjoy the show! We will definitely be back if there are any good future acts.
Remember, it is important to do your homework on ADA seating and room layout before going to a show, especially if it’s at a small venue! Justin and I love live music and will continue to find the most accommodating ways to make concert attendance happen!
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