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Woman says she couldn't see her favorite band after being turned away from ADA parking

Concertgoers recount parking issues at Dave Matthews Band at Blossom Music Center on Tuesday
Jo May
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jun 28, 2024

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — It's a treasured Northeast Ohio summer tradition, a summer concert at Blossom Music Center. But some fans said parking at the Dave Matthews Band concert had issues they'd never experienced before, including one woman who said she was turned away from ADA-accessible parking.

Jo May is a Dave Matthews Band superfan. She goes to see the band every year at Blossom, but this Tuesday's show was different.

"We had the handicap plaque up on the rearview mirror, and we pointed to it, and they said it's full. You have to go park somewhere else. Every time we came upon an attendant, they said just keep going, 'nope, nope,'" said May of Cuyahoga Falls.

May continued, "I look forward to this all year long, it's my Christmas, birthday, New Year's Eve every big day all rolled into one to go see this band and then you can't. And it's like they're right there, they're right down the road, and I can't get to them."

She said she can only walk short distances due to permanent nerve damage in her back, legs, and feet, "I get out of my car, and someone may not think that I should have a handicap plaque, except I can't walk like you can."

After being turned away from ADA-accessible parking despite having a placard, May said she was too far back in the lot to safely make it into the concert.

Other concertgoers report witnessing similar issues, "The car behind me, they had a handicap placard, and they were told to just follow the general parking," said Mike McDonald of Akron.

McDonald continued, "There was a man that was walking up, his wife was in a wheelchair, and he was pushing her I felt bad because it's not as you know the parking lots aren't that bad. It's just the grass lots there's a lot of broken up gravel so I felt bad for them."

May said she wrote to Blossom about her experience. She received an email back explaining the venue had a large number of ADA placards for the Dave Matthews Band concert. So many, the designated accessible parking was full by 5 p.m.

Blossom Music Center sent News 5 this statement: Blossom Music Center makes it a priority to accommodate fans with ADA requirements. This includes offering accessible parking lots, designated accessible spaces in each of the parking lots, complimentary shuttles to and from the parking lots and more. Fans who require assistance in the parking lots can also call us at 330.920.8040.

Blossom said fans can get additional accessibility information at this link.

May said she considered that shuttle service but wasn't given a clear answer in the lot by the parking staff. "We asked eight parking lot attendants, and they were like, 'they don't come here,' or 'I have no idea what you're talking about,' and only one had a walkie-talkie to call, and when they called, they said 'yeah they're not coming out this way,'" said May.

Disability Right Ohio said this could be a teaching moment, "sometimes it's just a staff training issue for a lot of these types of things so hopefully they will correct the issue and try to make it right," said Kerstin Sjoberg, President and CEO of Disability Rights Ohio.

Fans hope no one else has to miss a show, "I want to see accessible parking for everybody," said May.

"I just think everybody should have a safe place to walk and get to the concert," said McDonald.

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