Botanic Park accessibility issues while at the Bon Jovi Concert in Adelaide

Success with accessible seating tickets via Ticketek

The tour poster promoting Bon Jovi touring around Australia - Adelaide Botanic Park accessibility issues

I wasn’t a fan of Bon Jovi, because Jon Bon Jovi was too sexy, and made other males look bad. But I did enjoy listening to their music and jumped at the opportunity to see them in concert. It was scheduled to occur on Tuesday 4th December 2018, in Botanic Park. This area is adjacent to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens and the Adelaide Zoo. As this was my first concert in Botanic Park, I was unaware of any potential accessibility issues.

The official seller of tickets was Ticketek, and I asked them for an accessible seating location for myself, and a seat for my carer. Madie, my partner, was my carer that evening, and the cost of her ticket was covered by the companion card scheme. My wheelchair location was in section G2, and I wasn’t aware of the actual position. The past 19 concerts in a wheelchair involved elevated seating with a view of the stage. I assumed something similar would occur.

My Bon Jovi ticket from ticketek which included the cost and the seating location - Adelaide Botanic Park accessibility issues

Our arrival at Botanic Park

We arrived at the venue with 45 minutes until the scheduled start time of the Bon Jovi concert. A staff member spotted me and chaperoned us through the security and ticketing checks, and all the way to our seats. Fantastic service to help people with mobility devices. The support band was playing, and we had a clear view of the stage but were a long way from the front. That was ok.

the seating layout of the bon jovi concert had so many rows of people in front of me

Bon Jovi concert starts and ends

We were sitting near the back of section G2, and 90% of the people in front of me, were now standing up. And they remained standing for the entire concert. Bon Jovi sounded great, and I could have listened to them at home on Spotify or Youtube for free. The three other people in wheelchairs also watched the backs of thousands of standing fans.

the photo shows the backs of four people who were standing in front of me.

What is accessible seating?

The organisers of the Bon Jovi concert thought it was as simple as leaving a vacant spot between the other chairs. Wheelchairs would then slot into position nicely. All the individual chairs in the other rows were locked together with cable ties, as some concertgoers like to throw chairs around. Accessible seating definitely wasn’t watching the backs of people standing, and I brought the issue up on social media the next day.

Tweeting about Botanic Park Accessibility issue

Throughout the week, I tweeted each day, commencing with the Bon Jovi Australian tour promoter, TEG Dainty. The goal was merely to bring up the issue, and for it to never happen again. This required the promoter to listen and take action.

The tweet mentioned "Great music @BonJovi in Adelaide. @TEGDAINTY why put wheelchair seating behind rows of people standing. This was the view of 4 wheelchair users for entire concert. We looked at the backs, stars and backs. We cannot stand. 1st concert in 20 like this. Others had platforms etc."

 The tour promoter didn’t reply and I included other organisations associated with the concert. Ticketek Australia was the only company to respond, but they only sell the tickets.  They are not responsible for the accessible seating locations.

The tweet mentioned "Hi TEG DAINTY, do you require any further info in regards to accessible seating issue at the @BonJovi concert in @CityofAdelaide ? If no, when will I expect a reply? @Ticketek_AU @AdelaideMP @DignityParty @BotGardensSA #accessibility #disabilities #disability"

End of Patience

I felt that a week of tweeting was sufficient time for a response, and I gave TEG Dainty until 4 pm to respond. After this I would raise a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The content of the tweet is "Hi @TEGDAINTY about a week since my first tweet on the wheelchair seating with a good view of a thousands backs. I've sent an email too. I've asked if you need more info. I've heard nothing. Tweet a reply by 4pm Friday. Better to chat before its a @AusHumanRights complaint."

The phone call

Just before 4 pm, I received a phone call from Space Events in Adelaide. They are the organisation responsible for the entire Bon Jovi concert in my city. The manager was extremely apologetic for my experience at the concert and listened to me for around 15 minutes. Each time I bring up an issue with accessibility, I expect someone to listen. Most of the time it happens. Another recent experience with bad customer service occurred with the Adelaide Festival Centre.

The Resolution of the Botanic Park Accessibility issue

The manager of Space Events explained that on the night of the concert, there was a failure on the part of the ushers. The staff are trained to move people with wheelchairs to suitable alternative locations if there are issues with the seating location. Such as other fans blocking the view of the stage. He promised that it would never happen again. I thanked him for his time, and the Botanic Park accessibility issue was resolved. Next time, I will ensure that the ushers are aware of the problem.

Pity about the customer service of TEG Dainty.

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