As you’ve probably gathered from my previous posts, I’m a big fan of Kings of Leon, so much so that a road trip around the UK to see them perform at various venues is no biggie for us. A European road trip might be on the cards for their next tour. Watch this space. For now, The Echo Arena Liverpool was the second stop on our Kings of Leon UK road trip and being our first time at this venue I was curious how accessible it would be for wheelchair users.
BOOKING ACCESSIBLE TICKETS
I was keen to get my hands on pre-sale tickets so I enquired beforehand to ensure that pre-sale included accessible tickets. Thankfully it did, so I made sure I called the booking line on the pre-sale day and was relieved to be told there were accessible tickets available. The Echo Arena Liverpool offer a personal assistance scheme, which allows an eligible customer who needs assistance to claim a free ticket for their personal assistant. To be eligible I had to register for the scheme by completing an application form and send proof of eligibility, which can be a benefit award letter, doctor’s letter etc.
Applications take up to 28 days to be processed so I was informed over the phone that if I didn’t return my application form within a certain period of time that I would then be charged for two tickets instead of one. Luckily I returned my application in time and was able to claim a free personal assistant ticket.
Getting To the Echo Arena Liverpool
We left our St. Helens hotel and made our way to The Echo Arena which was a 30-minute drive. The drive itself was easy and fairly quiet, but as we approached the Arena we saw the sea of parked and queuing cars.
The main carparks were full so there was no way we were going to find a parking space let alone a disabled bay. Since we had never been here before, we should have called the Arena to find out more about the disabled parking situation. Instead we drove all the way around to the other side of the arena and managed to find a spot opposite a residential area. So we parked up and began our 10-minute walk along the waterfront to the arena.
Arrival At The Echo Arena Liverpool
Having never been to The Echo Arena we didn’t know what entrance we were supposed to go in so we approached the first steward we seen. We weren’t at the right entrance so he told us to go around the other side. Who knew the arena was so big. We stopped and asked someone else who told us to go back the way we just came, but after some back and forth he directed us to where there was a ramp. I guess these things can happen, but the staff seemed a little confused or maybe uninterested.
It was very crowded by this point, but we made it to the ‘City side’ of the arena and joined the small queue. There was heavy searching at the door, but we were both allowed through without being searched.
VENUE ACCESSIBILITY & ACCESSIBLE SEATS
Finding our section was fairly easy and within a few minutes, we were in position at our accessible seats. We were in block C which was on the left side of the stage. The first thing we noticed when we got to our accessible seats was the glass panelling in front of us. The glass panels come up to eye-level, interrupting the view of the stage. Even for Allan who is 6ft3 had issues with this. I found myself either slightly bending down or stretching up to be able to see past the top of the glass panel. If I bent down I would also see reflections being cast on the glass panels which was a little off-putting especially with the flashing lights. It would be a lot better if the panels were slightly lower allowing people in the accessible seats an unrestricted view.
I didn’t use the accessible toilet at The Echo Arena Liverpool, so I’m not able to comment on the accessibility from a wheelchair user’s perspective. However, the venue has great accessibility information on its website which states there are seven accessible toilets with another eight in the adjoining building (Exhibition Centre Liverpool) as well as a Changing Places toilet.
Exiting the venue was easy and hassle-free. Once outside we got caught in the rain and because we didn’t park in the venues carpark we had to walk 10 minutes to our car. I could barely see where I was going because the rain was so heavy and by the time we got to the car we were absolutely soaked, but it made us laugh.
KINGS OF LEON
Kings of Leon were amazing just like the night before seeing them at Newcastle Metro Arena and every other time we’ve seen them live. Even though this was the second time seeing them perform live within 24 hours I was still as excited about seeing the show and still got butterflies when the curtain went up. I could quite easily watch them every single night and never tire of it. To find out more about their set you can read my review of their Newcastle show.
The Echo Arena Liverpool is a great venue for accessibility and I would definitely go back again. I think it’s great they offer a personal assistance scheme, have many accessible toilets including changing places toilet and over 100 accessible seats. The only thing that I didn’t like was the height of the glass panel surrounding the accessible seats as it restricted my view and others who are seated in the accessible area. On the whole we had a great time and Kings of Leon were amazing.