As someone who is an avid lover of music and live performance, I love going to concerts and live stage shows. I recently attended a We the Kings show at the House of Blues in Boston, and the experience could not have been better. Both the staff and the space were extremely accommodating. So here is a general tip sheet based on a Yelp review I wrote for the venue. Obviously every show and every venue can be unique in its own way, but as a whole, all it can take is a little advocacy and assertiveness to be properly accommodated in order to have the best possible time. This can apply to any kind of stage show. Although this all may seem pretty obvious, not everyone takes note of it.
1. Do your research. Really look into what kind of show it may be, and also the location and history of events at the venue. Research dates, times, seating, prices, etc.
2. Call ahead. Let the staff know you will be coming. They may be able to put you on an ADA list and make sure there is a space for you upon arrival. It can differ, but sometimes they might even throw in a discount or some extras. If not, it is can still be worth some extra steps to make sure you are safe and happy.
3. Assess the accessibility features of the venue. Is there a ramp? Is there an elevator? Is there accessible parking? Is there an accessible entrance? Is there an accessible restroom? Are the amenities (food, drink, merchandise, etc.) accessible? Make sure to locate these things as needed and convenient, and don't be afraid to ask the staff as much as possible.
4. Assess the safety features. Make sure there are safe exits, pathways, and responsible people around to assist you, should they be necessary.
5. If there is a restaurant/bar as part of the venue, it never hurts to make sure their menu items suit your specific health needs and concerns.
6. Get there early enough. Allow yourself adequate time to get in and get settled. Take care of your own personal care needs beforehand to minimize the need to navigate through possibly dark, loud, and crowded areas later on, and to fully enjoy the show.
7. Allow yourself and others enough space. Make sure the staff and those around you know what kind of space you need to sit and move around. Speak up if you don't feel comfortable. Making the general public aware of you is just as important as making the staff aware. Be assertive, but be polite.
8. Make sure you get the best accommodations for your sensory requirements. Make it known if you have physical/visual/audio/etc. needs/impairments/sensitivities/etc.
9. Be responsible. What you do is completely up to you, but be courteous to others and take care of yourself. Keep your wits about you and have a trustworthy and knowledgeable support team with you. This can help in getting your needs met, and in dealing with people around you who might not be displaying the same type of behavior.
10. Don't be afraid to follow up after the event. Contact the venue and let them know about your experience. Tell them what went well, as well as what could improve. Be diplomatic about it.
11. Have fun. Don't be so preoccupied that you don't enjoy the show, but go with your gut and do whatever else makes you feel most valued and comfortable. Don't let your own needs or the behavior of others ruin your good time. Roll with the punches, because it's not always perfect, but this is how we learn.
I have had my share of unpleasant experiences, and have addressed the issues accordingly. However, the good experiences have really taught me what to look for and how to deal with less ideal situations. I love going out to see great music and the experience is so important to me. You really don't know just how understanding people can be until you assert yourself. I really hope this all helps ensure a really fun time. Happy concert-going!