Wheelchair user disappointed with Russ event

Kongeparken Russ WheelchairCrowded: The Country Event for Russ 2018 in Kongeparken in Ålgård. Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB

Wheelchair user disappointed with organizers

Tonje is one of 30 wheelchair users of the 14,000 graduates who gathered at the Russ event in Kongeparken this weekend. She is now criticizing the organizer.


18-year-old Tonje Larsen tells VG that several Russ fell on top of her her when she attended the concert on Friday.

Tons suffer from spinal muscular atrophy which causes her to be chained to a wheelchair.

She says she had to move her wheelchair to a steep and muddy uphill. There she almost toppled over a couple of times.

– What happened to you?

-I was not placed in a separate area suitable for wheelchairs, but was placed among all the others. When people started dancing around me, some fell on top of me and that was uncomfortable and not very pleasant, she says to VG.

It was Stavanger Aftenblad who first mentioned the matter.

A lot of support

Tonje says that she has received a lot of support after Aftenbladet wrote an article  about her experience on Saturday morning.

– The gathering is incredibly badly organized. There is no information about where I should be or where I should go, she says to the newspaper.

She further explains that she contacted the organizers of the event in advance to check that it was provisions made so that people in wheelchairs can attend concerts. The answer was positive, but at Kongeparken in Ålgård she had a lot of trouble getting to and from the concert area and needed help from five people to do so.


The press spokesperson for the Country event near Stavanger, Therese Oddsen, is surprised by Larsen’s story. She believes the conditions at the Russ event are sufficient, but met Larsen at the concert area on Saturday night to listen to her experience.

– We facilitate for wheelchair users. We have hosts present that help if they need support to be able to attend concerts and we have special areas reserved for wheelchair users. Our experience is that they want to be together with their friends, not penned up, and therefore we facilitate for that. We have good infrastructure and all necessary facilities in place, she tells Stavanger Aftenblad.

Tonje Larsen came forward in VG earlier this year in connection with her as a 18-years-old is not eligible to receive the very expensive Spinraza medicine. She is the only 18-years-old in Norway who is in need of this medicine to prolong her life expectancy.

Tonje Kongeparken

Unpleasant: 18-years-old Tonje was not placed in a wheelchair-friendly area and had a very bad experience at the concert at the Russ Event at Kongeparken near Sandnes on Friday. Photo: Private



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