New UK Music Coalition Aims for Improved Ticketing Accessibility

Attitude Is Everything CEO Suzanne Bull, Image Credit: PSN Europe.
Scarlett Di Maio
| May 1, 2018

A new music task force in the United Kingdom to working to make it easier for deaf and disabled audiences to book tickets to live concerts.

Ticketing Without Barriers is a new initiative backed by some of the U.K.’s leading ticketing agencies, promoters, venues and trade bodies including Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventim, AEG Presents, Kilimanjaro, Festival Republic, London’s O2 Arena and PRS for Music.

Established by British music charity Attitude is Everything, the new music business coalition aims to improve access to booking and accessible ticketing for deaf and disabled audiences.

“In 2018, every large-scale music event should be all-inclusive,” said Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude is Everything, who will oversee the coalition.

“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.”

Ticketing Without Barriers was launched in conjunction with Attitude is Everything’s fourth State of Access Report, which presents data on the obstacles deaf and disabled music fans have to face when attending live music events. The report states that 79% of people surveyed said they had been discouraged buying gig tickets due to problems booking the necessary access requirements, while over 70% respondents said that they had felt discriminated against. One in 10 respondents said that they had considered legal action as a result.

The State of Access Report highlights five key areas to improve the experience of deaf and disabled music fans when booking tickets and also assesses the value of deaf and disabled music fans to the live industry. Out of the 349 people surveyed, on average each person attended nine gigs a year with an average ticket price of £48 ($68) and additional merchandise and food cost of £30 ($42) per show. That totals around £250,000 ($350,000) per year and Government data suggests that 3.3 million disabled adults attend at least one live music event per year.

“Going to a gig or festival is an experience that everyone should be able to enjoy. It’s therefore incredibly important that disabled people have the right access when booking tickets for live music events, which is why I’m really pleased to see leading businesses from across the music industry coming together to improve accessibility,” said Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, in a statement welcoming the announcement.

Common requirements for deaf and disabled concert goers include booking a ticket for a personal assistant, a wheel-chair accessible space, step-free seat and accessible toilet and, in some instances, sign language interpretation.

Attitude is Everything is an independent charity and Arts Council England Sector Support Organisation which works to improves deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK.

For more information on Ticketing Without Barriers, head here.

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