Half Access board member Sean Gonzalez met Tiffanie at a show in Denver, Colorado. At the show, Tiffanie was front row at Summit Music Hall for Picturesque, Silverstein & Tonight Alive. We’re excited to bring to light an avid and excited show goer with a disability. Tiffanie has Sacral Agenesis, meaning the last few vertebrae of her spinal cord did not form in utero.
Where are you based out of and where do you see shows in relation?
I live in Wyoming, and I travel to Denver, Colorado for most of my shows with the occasional one in other towns/cities in Colorado.
In terms of venue accessibility, what was the best treatment you have received?
Both the Fillmore Auditorium and the Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado have the best treatment. Both venues have very helpful staff, allow those with disabilities first entrance into the venue, and have ADA sections with a great view of the stage. Both venues are also well accessible, with all areas of the venue being able to be reached via wheelchair or crutches.
What was the worst treatment?
The Gothic Theater in Denver. The ADA section had a completely obstructed view of the stage and was only large enough for two small manual chairs, or one motorized chair. I was also yelled at by their staff for trying to move to an area with a better view of the stage.
How would you have wanted that situation to be handled so in the future venues know how to be better?
Venues should make their ADA sections in an area that can easily see the stage from a sitting position, and if it isn’t able to be done, shouldn’t prevent me from moving to be able to see the show that I paid to watch.
What is your favorite style of music?
My favorite style of music is metal or rock.
Best or favorite show you have seen?
Panic! at the Disco at Fiddler’s Green.
Knowing not all venues are entirely accessible, what keeps you coming back to see bands?
I’ve found at least in Colorado that the venues are willing to make any accommodations they can for me when I go to a venue, and I really enjoy the energy that comes with live music.
Any advice to able bodied people on how to be more aware of accessibility at shows?
Don’t try and help me unless I ask for it. I’m aware of my limitations a lot more intimately than anyone else, and if I’ve gone to an area, that’s where I want to be, I don’t want people trying to dictate what I can do and where I can be, especially not strangers. Also, it’s super rude to step over a person in a wheelchair, or move their chair. If you wouldn’t do it to someone who wasn’t in a chair, don’t do it to me.
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James Cassar is currently managing three bands (Barely Civil, bristletongue, and If Only, If Only) with his childhood friend Rachel Malvich as rumblepak. He is also helping out Take This to Heart Records with label management/A&R and will be launching another venture later this year. You can hear him on the podcast Stereo Confidential, which is the rebranded new home for the award-winning Modern Vinyl Podcast. He co-owns and formerly co-operated the record label Near Mint, and has written for Alternative Press, MTV, and more. He once bought business cards that called him “The Reigning King of DIY” but, truly, you can find him playing Yoshi’s Crafted World after he gets home to Philly from his job in Jersey, if he’s not answering emails.read more
TJ Hayes has been regularly attending shows in Chicago since 2015. Hayes, who has spina bifida myelomeningocele, checked in with Half Access to talk about their experiences with accessibility, where venues still have room to improve, and advocating for your right to accommodation.read more
Valerie Gritsch is the community manager for London-based indie label, Xtra Mile Recordings. As community manager, she handles all of their social media channels, in addition to managing their street team and other fan engagement efforts. A New York native, Gritsch is currently working towards her Masters degree at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where her research includes, but is not limited to, music fandom and celebrity studies. The subject of her thesis will focus on celebrity death and how fans create history. Gritsch—whose history of chronic nerve pain eventually led to fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome)—caught up with us to talk about her experience in the music industry and what adequate accommodations can and should look like.read more