Pandemonium Rocks slammed over ‘accessible viewing area’

An embattled music festival has been slammed for an accessible viewing area that many said looked more like a “cage” for patrons with a disability.

The Pandemonium Rocks festival took place at Cathy Freeman Park in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct on Thursday, following months of issues that plagued the event.

Despite the website advertising an “accessible viewing area” — with some stating it was originally advertised as being a “raised deck” — many were shocked by what they saw.

In photos posted to Facebook, it is evident the specialised area was simply a fenced off patch of grass a fair distance from the stage. There was no raised viewing platform or way for ticketholders in that area to see above the crowd in front.

Many shared their disbelief over the situation, with some likening the area to a “segregated cage” or “disabled playpen”.

“So … they’ve rounded up the disabled people and put them in a ground level pen so far away from everything that they can’t see the bands,” one commented.

“But at least they are not a hindrance to able-bodied festival goers right? There are always people in wheelchairs at the festivals I go to.

“Most times they are picked up to crowd surf near the front. It boggles the mind that segregation is still a thing here.”

“This is infuriating to see that they made a pen to segregate disabled people with disabilities after advertising a raised viewing platform,” another said.

“They only changed it this week. They were supposed to have a raised platform in order to see and they were meant to have their own toilets, but this changed too.”

“Absolutely disgusting treatment,” one stated.

“There’s a lot that goes into already proving that you’re disabled to get accessibility, then to be round up in a pig pen with obstructed views.”

It is understood this type of area would make it very difficult for people who use a wheelchair to see the stage, especially being so far back.

Furthermore, with ticketholders in this area being situated on the bare grass, without any other flooring, it could potentially make it hard for those with mobility issues to manoeuvre around.

Plagued with problems

Originally scheduled to take place at The Domain in Sydney’s CBD, the event copped fierce backlash from veterans due to the clash of it occurring near the annual Anzac Day march through the city centre.

“There’s not going to be a rock concert in the middle of the city on Anzac Day,”

NSW Premier Chris Minns confirmed.

“That part of the city should be and will be a place for diggers to commemorate with their friends and their family and for fellow Australians to commemorate the service of those that have given their lives in the service of our country.”

Then, a few weeks out from the start of the festival, it was confirmed that some of the major headlining acts had dropped out of playing at the event.

Seven major acts – including two headliners — stated they would no longer be playing at the festival.

It was announced that Placebo and Deep Purple would no longer be performing, with punk icons Dead Kennedys and Gang Of Four having also dropped out.

Perth group Gyroscope and Thai up-and-coming band Petch were also no longer playing.

A week before the concert was to go ahead, the group Palace Royale also confirmed they would no longer be attending due to a “family emergency”.

No refunds

The originally advertised “massive two stage event” had been converted into a one stage concert, with ticketholders unable to obtain full refunds.

Organisers confirmed to news.com.au that attendees could instead choose one of three options: a complimentary GA ticket for a friend, a partial refund of $70, or an “exclusive” Pandemonium hoodie.

For VIP holders, they were offered 5 x drink vouchers and free gourmet pizza. They could also choose between receiving another free VIP ticket to take a friend, or a free Pandemonium Rocks hoodie and T-shirt.

It is not clear if VIP holders were offered a partial refund.

Some took to social media to complain about the festival, claiming that the ‘VIP area’ was not what they had envisioned for the price.

There appeared to be no raised viewing platform for VIP ticket holders, while others in Melbourne complained about the VIP toilets.

Data breach

A few hours out of their first show, Pandemonium Rocks was hit by a data breach which impacted hundreds of ticketholders.

As gates opened in Melbourne, hundreds of music fans learned their confidential bank data had been accidentally leaked.

The names, bank details, email addresses, and phone numbers of 400 ticketholders were revealed after they applied for partial refunds following the cancellation of several major headline acts.

Despite these issues, the festival went ahead with many fans praising the musical talent of remaining acts Blondie, Alice Cooper, Wheatus Psychedelic Furs, Wolfmother and Cosmic Psychos.

Pandemonium Rocks will continue to the Gold Coast on Saturday and Brisbane on Sunday, however Blondie will not be performing in Brisbane.

News.com.au has contacted Pandemonium Rocks for comment.

jasmine.kazlauskas@news.com.au

Read related topics:Sydney

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