Trailblazers say live music industry is out of tune with young disabled people


theweeksubYoung campaigners have met in parliament with representatives of the music industry to ask them to stop discriminating against disabled music fans.

The Access All Areas? report by the Trailblazers campaigning network says disabled people are facing barriers in buying tickets, as well as with poorly located seating and inaccessible facilities at venues.

Members of the network – all young disabled people themselves – were at a meeting of the all party parliamentary group for young disabled people on Wednesday to launch the report, which examines access to live music.

Some members of Trailblazers have described being asked to leave venues before events were over to avoid disrupting other members of the audience.

Others say that ticketing websites are failing to offer an option to book accessible tickets online, which often means they face lengthy periods on hold on premium-rate telephone lines.

A survey completed by 100 members of the network found more than three-quarters of them (77 per cent) believe that booking tickets for a live music event puts them at a “substantial disadvantage” in comparison with non-disabled people, with 94 per cent saying that last-minute ticketing websites do not cater for disabled people.

Only one in four of the young disabled people questioned books live music event tickets online, whereas 83 per cent would like to be able to do this.

Nine in ten said that more inclusive seating designs would make “a big difference” to their experience of watching live music.

James Lee, from east London, says: “Although there is usually an allocation of accessible tickets, the numbers are usually very small.

“It is so rare to be able to book tickets online and there is often only one telephone booking line for disabled fans, which is oversubscribed, expensive and time-consuming.”

Zoe Hallam, from Bristol, told of finding her seat at a venue and realising she wouldn’t be able to leave her position until the concert was over.

She says in the report: “Crowds and poor access routes to bars and toilets mean it is impossible for me to move around the venue once the gig has started.

“Venues which have separate seating areas for disabled patrons should have a disabled toilet located near or within that area.”

She adds: “Some venues advertise themselves as being accessible, but really all this means is ‘flat’.”

But there were some good experiences.

Laura Bizzey describes how she went to a concert at the University of East Anglia, where disabled ticket-holders were let in first.

She says: “The disabled viewing area was amongst the non-disabled standing area which made me feel ‘normal’! It was a great experience!”

Trailblazers is calling for promoters, venues and ticketing companies to allow disabled people to buy tickets online and to “strive towards achieving the highest standards of accessibility and inclusivity”.

They also want music venues to sign up to the best practice charter drawn up by the accessible live music campaign Attitude is Everything.

26 June 2013