New taskforce vows to tackle gig access issues for disabled fans

AIE charity

Music charity Attitude is Everything has launched a new coalition of industry partners to improve access to booking and accessible gig tickets for Deaf and disabled music fans.

The move comes as the charity publishes its fourth annual State of Access Report, which finds that more than 80 percent of respondents have experienced problems when booking tickets to live music events.

A similar number say they have been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible booking systems, and over 70 percent state they have felt discriminated against.

Elsewhere, while 37 percent feel that access booking has improved over the past four years, one in 10 has considered taking legal action.

In response, Attitude is Everything has assembled the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition with the UK’s leading ticketing agencies, promoters, event organisers and venues to address the issue.

Comprising more than 35 bodies, including umbrella organisations PRS for Music, Music Managers Forum and UK Music, the group will establish a programme of delivery and update on progress at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in March 2019.

The coalition will concentrate on introducing: a universal system for evidencing access requirements; disability-aware information and customer service; choice and flexibility when booking tickets; trust that access requirements will be met and; equal access to everything.

Suzanne Bull MBE, chief executive of Attitude is Everything, said: ‘With our fourth State of Access Report we wanted to return to probably the single most important issue that impacts all Deaf and disabled music fans – the process of booking tickets.

‘Although there has been much progress in making the ticketing process accessible and inclusive, and certain venues and companies are definitely getting this right for their deaf and disabled customers, we felt that only a comprehensive and truly unified approach would be able to drive through the real and lasting changes that we need.

‘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.’

Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music chief executive, added: ‘We strongly support the continuing work of Attitude is Everything and the State of Access Reports, which look to improve music experiences for Deaf and disabled audiences.

‘The accessibility of music is important to all of us at PRS for Music, including our members, and we look forward to further opportunities being made for deaf and disabled music fans in the live sector.’

Attitude is Everything will officially launch the State of Access Report and the industry taskforce at an event at the Roundhouse, London, this afternoon (Monday).

Read the full report.