Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an iconic concert venue cushioned between natural rocks. Depending on parking, it can be a hike to enter the venue. Not to mention the stairs once inside the venue. It’s not the easiest concert venue to navigate and not the most accessible venue. And now, the iconic venue is coming under fire for allegedly overcharging wheelchair-accessible seats.
The U.S. Justice Department announced on Monday that it settled a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver, Red Rocks and concert promoters after the agency said they overcharged for wheelchair-accessible seats at the venue. The U.S. Attorney’s Office settled the discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against the City and County of Denver and concert promoters Live Nation, AEG, and PBS12.
It all began when a complaint was filed with the Department of Justice that claimed wheelchair-accessible seats for concerts held at Red Rocks Amphitheatre were more expensive than tickets for non-accessible seats. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the practice violated the ADA by charging more for wheelchair-accessible seats than was allowed under ADA regulations.
For reference, there are 121 wheelchair-accessible seats available for each Red Rocks event. According to The Justice Department, between 2018 and 2020, “concertgoers who used wheelchairs, and their guests, were charged $47,950.90 more for those seats than was permitted by ADA regulations.” In the end, this works out to be 1,817 over-charged tickets at 178 events held at Red Rocks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In addition, concert promoters Live Nation, AEG, and PBS12 each paid a civil penalty to the United States government.
While the Justice Department said the agreement “is not an admission of any violation or liability by the City and County of Denver,” Denver agreed to set aside $47,950.90 to be refunded to people who were overcharged for wheelchair-accessible tickets.
“Red Rocks is an iconic concert venue, and people with disabilities who attend events and watch their favorite bands there should not be unfairly overcharged for wheelchair-accessible seating,” U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch stated in a news release. “This agreement reflects our commitment to enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires equal treatment for people with disabilities.”
Since the controversy, Denver has implemented a system to ensure that wheelchair-accessible tickets are priced in accordance with ADA regulations.