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September 2, 2011

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BRINGS ACCESSIBILITY TO HOUSE OF BLUES CHICAGO

Live Nation Wordwide, Inc. Renovates Chicago Facility, Changes Policies, Pays $100,000 Fine

Chicago—Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that House of Blues Chicago and its owner Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. completed interior renovations and implemented new operating policies that bring the concert venue into compliance with state and federal disability rights laws in accordance with a 2009 settlement agreement. The facility operators also retrained their staff and paid a $100,000 fine to the state as a result of the agreement.

The changes made at the Chicago location resolve the investigation of a complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Disability Rights Bureau by Kristina Allen, a 24-year-old wheelchair user who attended a concert at the House of Blues Chicago in 2004. During the visit, Allen was told by House of Blues staff that she could not observe the concert from the dance floor with her friends. Instead, she was escorted to an area of the facility where the view of the stage was blocked by other patrons.

“My goal all along has been to ensure that no other individual with disabilities will have to experience what I encountered during my visit to the House of Blues Chicago,” Allen said. “I am ecstatic that partnering with Attorney General Madigan has resulted in a fully accessible and accommodating venue and I look forward to returning to Chicago and enjoying a concert there.”

“People with disabilities are entitled by law to fair and equal access,” said Madigan. “Thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved, we were able to come to a practical solution to eliminate physical barriers that limited access to the concert venue.”

Pursuant to the agreement with the Attorney General’s office, the concert venue operators installed automatic doors, made stages and backstage areas accessible, modified bathrooms and removed all protruding objects that are hazardous for people who are blind or have low vision. The facility now also offers wheelchair seating.

In addition, the House of Blues will train employees to ensure they are better equipped to accommodate guests with disabilities, including providing dance floor access at all times and maintaining a platform lift that allows access to the stage and manual operation of the elevator whenever wheelchair users need access to upper levels. Employees are also trained to predetermine the accessibility needs of pre-booked private parties.

Attorney General Madigan’s Disability Rights Bureau enforces state and federal laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The Bureau ensures compliance with laws requiring access to places of public accommodation, housing and local government programs and services for people with disabilities by investigating and resolving complaints through negotiation, settlement agreements and litigation. In addition, the Disability Rights Bureau provides technical assistance and training to individuals with disabilities as well as public entities and private businesses seeking to comply with disability rights laws. Bureau staff members serve on a number of committees that address a variety of issues impacting people with disabilities, such as special education and courthouse access.

Currently, the Bureau is handling more than 200 accessibility, discrimination and service animal investigations and, since January 2011, has provided advice and referrals to more than 300 constituents with disability-related questions and problems. In addition, the Bureau is currently conducting trainings for Court Disability Coordinators to ensure people with disabilities have full access to the justice system.

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