Colorado advocates are pushing back against ticket reselling websites like StubHub and SeatGeek that they say are snapping up accessible seats at the Red Rocks Amphitheater the minute they become available and reselling them on a first-come-first-serve basis. New Mobility interviewed two of these advocates, Kevin Williams and Carrie Lucas. They both live in Denver, Colo., are both lawyers, both use power wheelchairs, and both say they have been shut out of concerts at Red Rocks as a result of ticket resellers grabbing the accessible first-row seats and selling them to nondisabled patrons.
Kevin Williams, legal director of Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, thinks one way to alleviate the problem is to provide additional accessible seating behind the existing section. “They could keep the current first row available for people with other kinds of disabilities,” he says. His solution addresses an ancillary problem of all people with disabilities, including those who don’t need physical access, competing for those front row seats. “This still would not prevent fakers from acquiring the tickets, but it could open up possibilities for those of us who use wheelchairs.”
Carrie Lucas, director of Disabled Parents Rights, has attended many concerts at Red Rocks, but when she tried purchasing tickets last April for the June Barenaked Ladies concert she ran into trouble. “I clicked the accessible seat button about 90 seconds after they went on sale and all the accessible seats were sold out,” says Lucas, who had previously been able to easily purchase tickets for the venue. “As it is now, the only way we can get tickets is to pay a surcharge by going through StubHub or other ticket resellers. I think that’s an ADA violation.”
Although Lucas agrees with Williams’ seating suggestion, she’d like to take it further. In addition to a new front row section for anybody with a mobility device and their companions, she thinks ticketholders ought to need a mobility device to sit in that section and ushers should ask if they had a disability. “If they restricted those seats to people who used mobility devices only, then they would have a way to weed out people,” she says.
But Brian Kitts, a spokesman for Red Rocks, says the Americans with Disabilities Act prevents the amphitheater from policing accessible ticket sales. “My belief is there is a special place in hell for people who knowingly buy those tickets,” said Kitts to PollStar. “Until someone changes the law, we have to live with it the way it is.” Kitts may be correct, but as more advocates such as Williams and Lucas fume over this problem, a solution is bound to be worked out sooner than later.