Disabled Review: Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark – Bon Iver 2012-11-04

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About 6 months ago +Ted Ewen and I brought tickets to see Bon Iver as a warm up gig for the Tull Concert we were to attend at the Falconer Salen towards the end of the month. The fact we could both go for the price of one handicap seat was the deciding factor in the end. When we booked, after we confirmed there was disabled seating as the rest of the hall was standing, it was at a time when we had more income coming in. This was before the shock of my sick-pay being cut in half after 6 months without warning (and was delayed six weeks – the result of which nearly cost us our house).

So when we went to the Bon Iver concert we had no money for food or anything and if it wasn’t for our rejsekort (travel card) we wouldn’t even have the fare to the concert in Copenhagen. We both weren’t feeling that good anyway and I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to spend our limited travel money on going on a cold Sunday night with a chance that we would miss the last bus home and would have to pay 100-150kr for a taxi instead. We decided to go in the end, knowing we had disabled seats and wouldn’t have to fight for our place in the crowd of ten thousand people.

We decided to turn up close to when the concert started to cut short the time in bad seating. We had attended Forum once before in April 2011 to see Jeff Dunham and the whole place was filled with uncomfortable seats. That time we had turned up over an hour early before the pre-show stuff started and we weren’t allowed out the whole time. This meant we were in wooden seating with no padding for around 4 hours and it was so painful by the end I could hardly sit still.

This time when we arrived at Forum the crowd was coming in thick waves, we had to wait in tight packs as we were herded in like sheep and patted down. When we asked security what they were searching for they said “video cameras” and seemed to have nothing to say when we told them everyone had a phone. When we got to the disabled area, not only did we find out for the first time it was a section shared with 20 others (including helpers), but the seating provided was old school hard plastic seats. They were even worse than the wooden seating of the year before as it didn’t support my back as well. The assumption was that I would have a wheelchair so they didn’t bother to provide good seats for the helpers. I saw at least one other woman on crutches in the same boat as I. By the time I had arrived at my seat I was already in some pain just from the journey in the cold and from standing in the queue to get in. So seeing the inadequate seats made me wish I had stayed home. Unfortunately there is more…

The disabled area was fenced off on the lefthand side of the rectangular concert hall. The gig was set up on the other side of the venue and we were about as far away as you could get whilst being in the line of sight of the front stage. There was so many amps, cables, and instruments between us and the band that we couldn’t see much of anyone – except when the lead came to the front. Considering there were nine members of Bon Iver performing this was a real loss.

The acoustics in Forum are also not so good because of the square shape of the building and the flat roof; so there was nothing for the sound to bounce off to give the performance life. It was a shame that what was likely a good show was mutilated by the sterile design of the hall. If we had seen this anywhere else we both felt we would have gotten more out of the evening. Even the lead signer asked the crowd at one point what sports were usually played in Forum, as the layout seemed even to them a little unusual.

One other thing that did not help was that the disabled area was build upon the access path to not only the disabled toilets but also the backstage floor. This meant that people behind the scenes were stomping very loudly up and down behind us, making the floor panels jump and taking our attention away from the show. At one point a storm of people walked into a tent they had set up for the medics and during a very quiet acoustic song two people started arguing so loudly is was drowning out the performance.

The ramp down to the disabled toilet was so steep that we saw a guy in a wheelchair give it everything he had just to get half way back up it. I also saw a lady on two crutches need help to get down the ramp as she was struggling. When the concert was finally over we were escorted out first, which was nice, but then I noticed for the first time their cloak service. This consisted of everyone putting all their coats and bags on an open table where people had to point out their belongings. I mention it because I know sometimes going out for the disabled can require bringing a lot of things. I will say however that there was a fair bit of space in the disabled area. It had plenty of room for those in disability scooters/chairs to turn and manoeuvre. There was plenty of spare room for all our belongings too, so you may just want to keep your bags with you if you decide to brave a ‘must see’ concert at Forum.

What are your experiences with Forum Copenhagen?

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  1. Reblogged this on Niamh News and commented:

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