A New Scheme Hopes to Improve Deaf and Disabled Fans' Access to Gig Tickets

Ticketing Without Barriers is an industry-wide initiative which will hopefully make going to music events easier for a lot more people.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
April 9, 2018, 12:14pm
Lead image via Pixabay

A new survey of music fans who are also deaf and disabled revealed that 80% of those surveyed had experienced difficulty when trying to access concert tickets. In response, Attitude Is Everything, the UK charity which works with venues to improve live experiences for fans who are deaf and disabled have included a new initiative, Ticketing Without Barriers, in their fourth annual report.

Ticketing Without Barriers is a music industry coalition which hopes to address the wide-ranging difficulties reported by fans, and involves 35 trade bodies such as Ticketmaster, See Tickets, The Ticket Factory, Eventim, Skiddle, Twickets, UK Music and PRS for Music, all of whom will work towards making things a whole lot fairer and easier for a lot more people.


The areas of focus will be fivefold: highlighting the need for a universal way to evidence disability to make ticket-buying simpler, up-to-date venue access information, choice and flexibility when booking tickets (deaf and disabled fans, for example, should always be able to book tickets online), having access requirements actually met by venues, and equal access to "extras" like pre-sales, VIP tickets, and meet and greet tickets.

All of these things should be available to all music fans regardless of their physical ability, but the truth is, the process of ticketing for gigs is often geared towards able-bodied music fans, and for everyone else, it can be arduous and off-putting. This initiative hopes to redress the balance for those people, and it's clearly long overdue. Discussing Ticketing Without Barriers, Attitude Is Everything CEO Suzanne Bull stated:

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.

Let's hope we see those results at concerts sooner rather than later.

Follow Noisey on Twitter.