In the summer of 2013, Trailblazers carried out an investigation into disability and live music. We asked 100 young disabled music fans to describe what they thought was good and not so good when it came to booking tickets and accessing venues to see their favourite musicians play live. The result was our report, Access all areas? that looks at young disabled people’s access to live music venues.
Many of our members have told us that they think live music promoters and venues are doing a decent job of considering and acting on what disabled music fans need and want, and that is to have the same experience as their non-disabled peers. However, the same problems kept coming up when it came to booking concert and festival tickets: the location of wheelchair accessible seating areas and company policies together often mean that many disabled music lovers find themselves isolated from friends and family at a show.
Going to concerts and festivals is a fundamental part of social life for many young people in the United Kingdom. It simply has to be an inclusive activity.
Our report revealed:
- Nine out of ten of young disabled people said that more inclusive seating designs, which would enable disabled people to sit with more than just one friend or assistant, would make a big difference to their experience of watching live music.
- Sixty-four percent of young disabled people said booking tickets was the hardest thing about accessing live music.
- Seventy-seven percent of young disabled people agreed that, “Booking tickets for a live music event as a young disabled person puts me at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled friends.”
- One in two young disabled people thought physical access was the biggest factor that stopped them going to a live music event.
- Half of the young disabled people said that venue facilities, such as toilets, bars and food stalls, were not suitable for their needs.
- Ninety-four percent of young disabled people said that last minute ticketing websites did not cater for disabled people.
At the most recent event, I was approached and asked to leave the stadium before the last set had even finished, so I could ‘beat the rush and not get in the way of the other people leaving’.
Trailblazers are calling for:
- Music promoters and venues to make it possible for disabled people to be able to buy tickets online.
- Music venues to work with young disabled people to overcome socially isolating situations where music fans are separated from friends and family at concerts.
- Disabled toilets and low-level bars to be located near wheelchair accessible platforms and seating areas.
- Music venues to sign up to and strive towards achieving the highest standards of Attitude is Everything’ s Charter Awards.
You can read the most recent report into access to live music here. Trailblazers continues to campaign on improving access to live music. If you are affected by these issues and would like to share your experiences or be a media ambassador, contact us.