Man upset about high price of accessible seats at Juno Awards
WATCH: Brent Flicks feels it’s unfair he has to pay the most expensive ticket to attend this year’s Junos because he uses a wheelchair. Cindy Pom reports on the reason behind the pricing decision.
TORONTO – Brent Flicks wanted to buy a ticket to the Juno Awards but didn’t expect to pay a premium because he uses a wheelchair.
There is only one block of accessible seats at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.
Each ticket in that area is $166.75 but the seats in front of the accessible seats are only $113.25. Regular tickets start at $70.50. And the top/best seats go for $166.75 – the same price as an accessible seat.
“I didn’t really believe it at first,” he said. “I want to go and be a part of it but people with disabilities are on fixed incomes or things like that, and they also have to bring some people with them.”
Flicks, 21, has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair. He makes rap music in his bedroom and was looking forward to the 45-minute trip from Dunnville to Hamilton for the awards show.
He would have to go to the Junos with someone else who would attend to him. He was willing to pay for two tickets but he questioned why all of the accessible tickets options were the same price as the most expensive seat in the house.
Global News asked the general manager of FirstOntario Place about the reason accessibility seats are only available on the first floor. But Scott Warren said he was unavailable for an interview on Wednesday.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) determines the cost of each ticket and puts on the Juno Awards.
“For the JUNO Awards, the prices for all seats are determined by their location in the venue, said the organization president and CEO Allan Reid in a statement. “First Ontario Centre only designates one area for accessible seating and this is on the concourse level from sections 111-119. In the past, when the JUNO Awards have been in larger venues (NHL size rinks such as the ACC) accessible seating is available on different levels and multiple price points would reflect that.”
After Global News spoke with CARAS, a representative called Brent and told him they would give him a pair of tickets for free.
He told Global News he’s happy for the tickets but noted it doesn’t help other people who need accessible seats.
His mother, Barb Flicks, said the problem of expensive tickets, or poorly-designed spaces for people with special needs is prevalent throughout the province.
“We’ve taken him to a lot of venues over the years and it seems to be the same everywhere,” she said. “People aren’t aware, unless you’re living with that, you just don’t know that there are issues out there.”