Venues and promoters failing disabled gig-goers, according to new report

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A new report by the charity Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has found that venues and promoters are not doing enough to ensure disabled people can easily attend gigs and live music events.

The Trailblazers’ snapshot report states that problems are not just with attendance at shows but start much earlier, with disabled music fans being disadvantaged by having to purchase tickets via premium rate lines rather than online or having to provide ‘proof of disability’ to venues.

Those that do make it to gigs may find they have to sit or stand in a separate area and the study behind the report – which received responses from 100 young disabled music fans – found some were asked to leave before a performance finished so as not to “avoid disruption” for able-bodied gig goers.

Findings were:

  • seventy-seven percent of young disabled people believe that booking tickets for a live music event puts them at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled friends
  • one in two young disabled people has either missed out on tickets or had a stressful experience booking them
  • half of young disabled people say that facilities provided at venues, like toilets, bars and food stalls, are not suitable to their needs
  • ninety-four percent of young disabled people say that last minute ticketing websites do not cater for disabled people.

The report isn’t wholly negative with many of the respondents saying they believed promoters and venues were doing a decent job of trying to ensure disabled music fans could have the same experience as their able-bodied peers.

The summary of the report states: “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.”

You can read the full Access All Areas? Trailblazers’ report here (opens a PDF).

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3 comments on “Venues and promoters failing disabled gig-goers, according to new report”

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  1. It’s not just young disabled people who go to gigs and festivals, you know! I’m sat in a tent at Glastonbury Festival as I type. Here, the support for us is great, from both staff and other festival goers. It’s the weather that’s the big challenge – the mud makes walking v difficult.
    A recent horrid experience I had was at the Appollo in Manchester (an all standing gig, which is difficult) where 2 people shoved and shoved me because they wanted to get past me. When I politely asked them to stop as they were going to knock me over, all I got was abuse and more shoving. I ended up pushing them back with the pointy end of my stick handle, in the end they gave up and moved away, after more abuse. It was quite horrid, and fortunately not a common experience I’ve had.

  2. Here in Canada it’s almost impossible to go to a music gig, I’m in Toronto, all the ‘live’ venues are either miles from accessible transit or horribly inaccessible, adding to the frustration is people in wheelchairs or blind, are either forced to pay “premium” seating prices, for substandard seating or sitting on a concourse with your carer/guide (who you have to buy a ticket for) sits in a cheap metal folding chair when people around you paying way less get a theater style seat, padded & comfy.

    At a open air venue, its much worse, if accessible at all, likely no w/c accessible bathroom, the “platform” being of substandard quality, shaking with the music or movement’s, making you fear for your safety. That’s even IF there’s a raised platform, also 99.9% of venues have ZERO signs/posters/timetables that are accessible to those who are blind/legally blind, much less accommodation for guide/service dogs.
    Many restaurants & taxis also don’t let you in or pick you up, due to guide/service dogs, due to “religious beliefs / freedoms” with little to no recourse available to disabled people, we get ostracized constantly.

  3. Also the ticket purchase process is a bloody nightmare, even just to go to a baseball game here, much less a concert, its so inaccessible and so much reliance on you actually owning a credit card, that it stops 80% or more of disabled people from even being able to buy a ticket!

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