A stadium on the Gold Coast has been criticised after a woman with a disability was unable to see Harry Styles perform at his concert (even on multiple screens) due to an emergency barrier. Somehow this isn’t even the first issue of ableism at his Aussie gigs.
Norah Sweeney detailed her experience at Brisbane’s Carrara Stadium (also known as Heritage Bank Stadium) to the ABC.
Sweeney has a disability that prevents her from standing for long periods of time, and due to where she was seated, she couldn’t see a thing. She told the publication that she paid $222 for her reserved seats to ensure she would be able to see Harry perform while sitting down, which were more expensive than the $160 general admission tix.
Paying extra just to watch a barricade sing “Watermelon Sugar”? Not a fun time.
“I went with the pre-sale and I selected the best available seats, expecting that best available seats meant available to actually see the stage,” Sweeney told the ABC.
“We even got a disabled parking pass across the road to park in, so then to go in and be in a seat where I couldn’t even see was very disappointing.”
Per the ABC, Carrara Stadium maintains that if Sweeney had let the staff at the concert know she needed to be moved, she would have been, saying “several” others made similar requests during the show.
The problem with this is that people living with disabilities already face innumerable obstacles when it comes to enjoying events like these and it shouldn’t be Sweeney’s responsibility to navigate barricades — she should be told by the event organisers which seats actually have a fkn view.
According to Sweeney, Ticketmaster did not tell her that her view would be blocked when she bought the “best available” ticket.
After some time, Ticketmaster has finally given Sweeney a refund.
This is the second time a venue hosting a Harry Styles concert has been accused of ableism. Heartbreak High’s ray of sunshine Chloé Hayden slammed Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium in February after she was allegedly prevented from using its sensory room because she didn’t “look autistic enough”.
She also accused the venue of “demanding diagnostic papers to access sensory rooms and sensory packs, fat-shaming disabled people, refusing to accommodate wheelchair access and laughing at autistic people who are in melt down (sic).”
After a discussion with Hayden, Marvel Stadium apparently agreed to build a second sensory room and “committed to retraining their staff”.
How unfortunate that these events both unfolded at Harry Styles concerts, given the stars’ own values.
PEDESTRIAN.TV reached out to Ticketmaster for comment.