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Access initiative launched to improve gig ticket booking for Deaf and disabled audiences

Attitude is Everything to coordinate new initiative, bringing together the UK’s leading ticketing agencies, promoters, event organisers, venues and trade bodies

Attitude is Everything has today launched the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition – a new pan-industry taskforce aiming to address five key areas that will improve the experience for Deaf and disabled audiences when booking tickets for live music events.  

Comprising more than 35 trade bodies, leading ticketing agencies, event promoters and venues, the new pan-industry group will meet imminently at UK Music to establish a programme of delivery, before updating on progress at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in March 2019. 

The charity also released their latest State of Access report (download here) today, which includes the results of the charity’s Access Booking Survey and the combined voice of hundreds of Deaf and disabled gig-goers. 

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, UK Music, 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.”

Over 80% of those questioned said they had experienced problems when booking tickets to live music events. A similar number said they had been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible booking systems, and over 70% stated they had felt discriminated against. And while 37% felt that access booking had improved over the past four years, 1 in 10 had considered legal action. 

The research also highlights the strong affinity that disabled audiences have with live music, and their contribution to the UK music business – with the 349 fans surveyed attending an average of 9 gigs or concerts in the past year, and spending an estimated £250,000 on tickets, food, drink and merchandise. According to Government data, an estimated 3.3m disabled adults attend at least one live music event each year. . 

In order to deliver these changes, Attitude is Everything is delighted to announce the formation of the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition. 

Suzanne Bull MBE, chief executive officer, Attitude is Everything and Disability Sector Champion for Music, 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.”

Read our interview with Suzanne Bull about how the music industry supports the charity here