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Ticketing Without Barriers

One of my favourite things in life is to watch live music/comedy events. I love a good festival (minus the mud!) and will take any opportunity to snap up tickets!

I was recently asked to write a blog post for "Attitude is Everything", an independent charity who aim to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live events by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.

They are achieving great things with their "Ticketing Without Barriers" campaign, so I'm excited to be involved in this movement. The charity recently made headlines after releasing their 2018 State of Access Report, which examines the barriers faced by disabled people when trying to book tickets.

Below is a copy of my blog post which was featured in a series on their site. As a massive fan of live music, this is something I feel very passionate about, as securing accessible tickets is becoming increasingly hard.

"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 bit of a live music junkie!

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 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 online accessible booking is The Eden Sessions in Cornwall. I’ve also had a pleasant booking experience recently with Boardmasters festival.

Both these systems easily allow you to purchase wheelchair spaces online. As well as this, all you have to do is 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. Stop all this 'hanging around' and being passed from pillar to post over the phone. A successful online system will solve so many problems.

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

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