ACCESSIBLE SEATING AT THE 2015 JUNO AWARDS

As some of you may know I am a twenty-one year old R&B/Hip-Hop artist, and as most of you probably know I am confined to a power wheelchair. At about a year of age I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disease that affects my nerves and ability to build muscle. Despite any obstacles I face, I continue to move forward with a positive attitude, and the goal to show the world that individuals like myself can contribute to society.

Seeing as how the 2015 Juno Awards are in Hamilton this year (only about a fourty five minute drive from my home), I thought I would look into getting some tickets to the event (I was hoping that maybe my music would be nominated- unfortunately it wasn’t my year, but you never know what the future holds, right?). As I started perusing Ticketmaster for ticket options, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that wheelchair seating was going to cost $166.75 a ticket for me to attend. Since I can’t go alone and need an attendant with me at all times, that would be a total of $333.50 just to get in the building. I then turned my attention to able bodied seating to see what options were available for individuals without physical limitations. For those people there are at least four ticket pricing options ranging from $70.50 to $166.75 a ticket, and in some sections the able bodied seating RIGHT IN FRONT OF the wheelchair seating is $53.25 cheaper per ticket! Now maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that mind boggling?

I decided to contact Ticketmaster regarding the issue and they told me that the company running or sponsoring the event sets the ticket pricing and availability, not them. So, what did I do? Well, thanks for asking, I’ll tell you! I took to Google and found out that a company called Core Entertainment is in charge of running the events at FirstOntario Center which is where the awards are set to be held. I then emailed them and received this response, “Good morning Brent, Accessible seating is priced the same as the seats in the lower bowl which are all at top price. The lesser priced tickets are in the upper level.” Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that the accessible seating is in level 100, but why do individuals that can walk get four different ticket pricing options and people like me get ONE!? The wheelchair seating is at the back of level 100 anyway! Just because I can’t go up or down stairs why do I get stuck with an expensive night? It really is frustrating that if I want to go I HAVE to pay the absolute highest price offered! So, who’s fault is this? The entertainment company? The people who built the arena that only inserted wheelchair seating into one level? I’m not sure- but it’s definitely not MY fault for being in a wheelchair!

Some have said to me, “Why not buy the cheaper tickets and hope they move you to the wheelchair seats when they see you can’t get up the stairs?” That’s a great point, and I’ve had that thought myself, but doing that doesn’t help the issue, nor does it help to raise awareness about how people like myself are treated. My whole mission in life is to show the world that anything is possible, and that individuals with special needs have a lot to contribute and offer to society, and through my own music I hope to do just that.

What would my suggestion be? I would suggest that the wheelchair seats, although located all on one level, still have a range of pricing options just like other seats.

I know that not everyone will understand or agree with my thoughts, but I hope for most of you it’s at least eye opening.

(If you would like to listen to my newest song featuring Madchild please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GOEnP8zTwU)

CONTACT: bflixmusic@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/bflixmusic
www.twitter.com/B_flicky

- Flix
B-Flix and Shane McCurdy hanging out. (right to left)

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