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80% of deaf and disabled music fans still experiencing issues buying tickets

By | Published on Tuesday 10 April 2018

Attitude Is Everything

Music charity Attitude Is Everything has published its annual State Of Access report, looking at the ticket booking process for deaf and disabled music fans in the UK.

Although some improvements have been made in the four years the report has been published, this year 80% of respondents said that they had experienced problems buying tickets for events.

At the same time as launching the new report, AIE has also launched the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition. Bringing together various music industry trade bodies, ticketing companies, promoters and venues, it aims to accelerate progress in accessible ticketing systems.

Attitude Is Everything does a lot of work helping to make events accessible to a wider audience once they’re through the door. But the State Of Access report consistently shows that even getting to the door can be difficult, due to the way accessible tickets are often sold.

For the 2018 report, nearly 350 deaf and disabled gig goers contributed their experiences. Between them, on average, they had attended nine live music shows each in the last year. Including tickets, food, drink and merch, they had collectively spent around ¬£250,000 at these shows. The government estimates that 3.3 million deaf and disabled people attend at least one gig a year, so they are far from an insignificant portion of live music’s audience.

However, ticket booking systems are still a considerable barrier to even getting to those shows. So called ‘accessible tickets’ are often sold via telephone booking lines, rather than online, which make it harder for customers who require such tickets to make a purchase. It’s then not always possible to book tickets for a whole party of people if some are not disabled. It is also often not clear if the correct accessibility provisions will be in place at the venue, due to a disconnect between it and the ticket seller.

Although 37% of respondents said that there had been improvements, 80% still said that they had encountered problems. The same number said that they had been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible ticketing systems. Meanwhile, 70% said that they felt they had been discriminated against and 10% had considered taking legal action.

Launching the report, AIE CEO Suzanne Bull said: “Although there has been much progress in making the ticketing process accessible and inclusive, only a comprehensive and truly unified approach will be able to drive through the real and lasting changes that we need”.

The Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition includes organisations such as PRS For Music, UK Music, Live Nation, AEG, Ticketmaster, See Tickets, DF Concerts and more. It aim is to provide members with a platform to exchange ideas, issues and solutions, and work towards a single, unified vision for what best practice means when it comes to facilitating access booking for deaf and disabled people.

Attitude Is Everything has identified five key areas for ticket access to be improved, in order to overcome current problems. These are:

1. A universal ‘proof of disability’ system, used across the music industry in order to give faster and better access to ticket booking systems.

2. Disability awareness and inclusivity training for all frontline venue and customer service staff.

3. Online accessible ticket booking, with enough flexibility to allow whole party booking.

4. Trust that access requirements will be met on the day of the event

5. Equal access to pre-sales, artist meet-and-greets, the ability to resell tickets, freephone booking lines and other options routinely offered for ‘standard’ ticket sales.

Download the full report here.