Deaf and disabled people feel ‘discriminated against’ when booking live music tickets

The majority of deaf and disabled people have experienced problems and largely feel discriminated against when trying to book tickets to live music events, according to a new report.

The difficulties were highlighted by charity Attitude is Everything as it announced a new coalition to tackle the issue.

The charity, which works to help deaf and disabled audiences get the best access to live music, unveiled its Ticketing Without Barriers coalition on Monday as it published its fourth State of Access report.

Attitude is Everything’s findings showed that 80% of the 349 people questioned had experienced problems while booking tickets, and that 79% have been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible booking systems.

The research found that 73% felt discriminated against because of their disability.

It also found that, while 37% of those surveyed said they felt the situation for deaf and disabled customers while booking access for live music events had improved, one out of 10 had considered legal action.

Attitude is Everything suggested that music fans need a simple, universal system for evidencing access requirements and that more choice and flexibility need to be offered when booking tickets.

They said that wheelchair accessible spaces, transfer positions and step-free seating are among the options that must be made available when booking tickets online.

Ticketing Without Barriers will be comprised of more than 35 trade bodies, leading ticketing agencies, event promoters and venues to examine ways of devising a unified approach to access booking to benefit everyone.

It will meet imminently, with music industry trade body UK Music to establish its programme of delivery ahead of giving an update on progress at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in March 2019.

Its work will aim to spark change across the industry for deaf and disabled live music fans, and to improve their experiences when booking live music tickets.

UK Music’s chief executive Michael Dugher said: “UK Music is committed to working with Attitude is Everything and being a part of their continuing mission to make live music accessible to all.

“We are proud to have supported the publication of this report and encourage the whole of the live music industry to follow those who have already played their part in making sure their venues and events are open to everyone.

“We should not rest until we can ensure equal access for everyone.”

Attitude is Everything’s founder and chief executive Suzanne Bull said that 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,” she added.

“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.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.