Michael McEwan, CommonSpace columnist and chairperson of his local disability group, explains how a new venture from Ticketmaster and the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition could help open live music and entertainment to those with disabilities
FOR years now disabled music fans have been faced huge barriers when it comes to booking tickets.
Whether it's the requirement to call premium rate help lines, or having to provide evidence of their disabilities, the experience has put many fans off.
According to a government statistics more than three million disabled people attend a gig every year and disabled music fans make up 11 per cent of the live music audiences.
Research carried out by the UK charity Attitude Is Everything in 2018 found that 82 per cent of deaf and disabled music lovers have faced difficulties attending live music events, while 83 per cent had been discouraged from buying tickets because of inaccessible booking system.
However, that may change now that it has been announced that that Ticketmaster is to introduce a new system that allows gig-goers to book tickets online - a real development though its taken such a long time.
The campaigning Ticketing Without Barriers coalition has been run in conjunction with Attitude Is Everything and Ticketmaster to designed its new system.
The scheme allows fans to submit details of their disability online. Once validated, the information is bound to their profile, meaning they can book tickets for all future gigs without extra effort.
In participating venues, accessible seats will be clearly labelled on the seat map like any other ticket whether that's in the range of a hearing loop or in a wheelchair friendly zone with a free companion ticket. The coalition is also currently working with a number of prominent music and entertainment agencies including Live Nation, AEG and Scottish-based DF Concerts.
This new booking system was soft-launched here in Scotland at Glasgow SECC and in also in Cardiff. It's hoped that more booking agents will follow suit in this step towards inclusivity, and that more Scottish venues will follow the lead of SECC.
More information on the Ticketing Without Barriers coalition can be found here.
Picture courtesy of Gregor Smith