BLOG: “As a wheelchair user, all I want is an equal opportunity to get tickets.”

Posted on 16.05.2018

BLOG: “As a wheelchair user, all I want is an equal opportunity to get tickets.”

Our 2018 State of Access Report found that Deaf and disabled music fans still face a range of avoidable barriers when trying to book tickets for live music events – over 80% of our survey respondents had experienced problems during the booking process, and three quarters felt discriminated against.

To increase awareness of these barriers and how they can be overcome, we are sharing a series of blogs from disabled fans, whose experiences demonstrate the need for change – and how to get things right.

In the second blog of the series, Ross Lannon shares his frustrations at not being able to book tickets like everyone else. Read the first blog in the series here and our companion piece on access information and customer service here.

My name is Ross Lannon, I’m 24 years old and I’m a disabled blogger from Cornwall. I have a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which requires me to use an electric wheelchair 24/7. I’m also a live music junkie and a bit of an all-round legend!

Over the years I have been to many concerts up and down the country. Two of the biggest events I have been to are V Festival and Capital FM’s Summertime Ball. Some of my favorite artists I’ve seen live include Sam Smith, Adele and Bastille.

As much as I love going to live music and comedy events, there’s always that one thing that still angers me every time… Yes, I’m talking about the initial booking process.

I’m very passionate about my music, so if an artist I like announces a new tour, then I WANT THOSE TICKETS! However I can’t help but feel at a disadvantage. Very few venues have an online booking system for disabled customers, in particular wheelchair users.

I find it incredibly frustrating that most people can go online and immediately secure their tickets, whilst I’m left in a phone queue for hours, stacking up a ridiculous bill.

In the past, I have even had trouble purchasing tickets over the phone. Some of the larger ticketing companies are unable to allocate wheelchair spaces, and recommend you contact the venue directly. This in itself adds extra stress to the process, as not all venues are open at the time tickets go on general sale.

One of the best venues for access booking in Cornwall is The Eden Sessions. I’ve also had a pleasant booking experience recently with Boardmasters festival – the online system easily allowed you to purchase a wheelchair space. As well as this, all you had to do was privately email them a copy of your DLA entitlement/disability confirmation, in order to secure an additional carers ticket. I highly recommend other venues and promoters take note!

My overall message is simple. As a wheelchair user, all I want is an equal opportunity to get tickets. None of this hanging around or being passed from pillar to post over the phone. A successful online system will solve so many problems. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.

I personally would like to say a massive thank you to the team behind Attitude is Everything for everything they have achieved so far. We may still have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track!

Hear more from Ross at his blog here.

Read our article on access information and customer service here.

Find out more about the 2018 State of Access Report.