Concerts are an ample part of our society – something that music fans relish in – and should be made accessible to any human. However, people with a disability consistently find that buying tickets is not only difficult, but sometimes impossible.
A lot of ticketing sites don’t make it known if seats are handicapped acceptable, especially the secondary market. How are people in wheelchairs supposed to find a proper seat at an arena when buying online? Or how is someone Deaf able to buy tickets over the phone? Any able-bodied person can easily access tickets to any show with a click of a button, and everyone else should have the same accessibility.
Attitude Is Everything, a UK charity that works with venues to improve live concert experiences for disabled and Deaf fans conducted a recent survey, which asked people the barriers they faced when trying to purchase tickets. The survey found that out of more than 300 respondents, 80 percent had experienced problems booking, and 79 percent had put off buying tickets due to problems booking accessible seats. Additionally, 73 percent of those respondents felt discriminated against, and 11 percent even considered taking legal action.
The charity saw the issues, and decided on five things disabled music fans deserve: a simple system for evidencing access requirements, accurate and disability-aware information, choice and flexibility when booking tickets, the ability to trust that requirements will be met, and equal access to everything. Therefore, Attitude Is Everything started a new initiative, Ticketing Without Barriers, in their fourth annual report.
This initiative is a music industry coalition which involves 35 trading ticketing sites, including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, The Ticket Factory, Eventim, Skiddle, Twickets, UK Music and PRS for Music. Not only will Ticketing Without Barriers focus on the five points mentioned above, but they will also ensure that these fans will have equal access to all the “extra” perks of a concert, like pre-sale, VIP tickets, meet and greet access, and more.
Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude Is Everything, explained that during this report, the organization decided to focus on the “single-most important issue that impacts all Deaf and disabled music fans — booking tickets.” Although some companies and venues are working toward a change, it’s clearly not enough, since more than half of concert-goers who participated in the survey still feel discriminated and had an unhappy experience when completing the simple task of purchasing tickets. According to Noisey, Bull stated:
“In 2018, every large-scale music event should be all-inclusive. Disabled customers should be able to buy a ticket online, they should be encouraged to attend shows with their friends, and not have to jump through undignified hoops when things go wrong. As a disabled music fan myself, I’d urge ticket sellers, venues and festivals to understand that all disabled people must enjoy the same experiences as any other fan. The wider music business has the power to fix this, and I’ve been delighted at the response from all who’ve agreed to join the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition. It feels that everyone’s on the same page, up for the challenge and committed to working towards a positive result on this. We now look forward to getting to work, and delivering some results.”
The organization has created the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition, filled with ticketing companies, venues, and event companies, who will share ideas and solutions to work toward an equal business. As this generation starts to create some sort of change in society, hopefully disabled and Deaf concert-goers will be fought for in the mix, since everyone deserves access to the undeniable concert experience.