I’m a big fan of the Scottish band Prides, so I was excited to discover they are going to be performing at The Lighthouse in Glasgow this month. They are a great band on the verge of big things so I was really keen on getting tickets as I’ve never seen them live before.
Buying tickets for events is usually a straightforward, hassle-free process for many people. A few simple clicks online is all it takes to buy their tickets. Unfortunately for disabled people, that’s not the case. The norm is countless phone calls to the ticketing agency, venue and then back to the ticketing agency. And if you’re really unlucky back to the venue and told the same thing “Sorry, we can’t help you. You need to speak to….”. This is only when you manage to get through to them after being on hold for what feels like hours or dialling for the 100th time. All accessible tickets can be gone by the time you finally get through to them. This pretty much happens every single time I book tickets for an event including the other day when I tried to get my hands on tickets for Prides.
As with most venues, The Lighthouse had no information about accessible tickets on their website, only the option to book standard tickets. One good thing that venues (not all) are now slowly doing is providing a free ticket to carers, which I think is great. This means you can go ahead and buy a standard ticket for yourself and then you can either call or email the venue to arrange a free carer’s pass. The O2 Academy is good for this now and especially if you have an Access Card as your details and accessibility requirements/barriers are identified on the card with symbols. I decided to call the venue before booking my tickets to ask if they would provide a carers pass. The person on reception didn’t know and told me to contact the magazine that were organising the event instead. I was also given a contact number for the manager of The Lighthouse, which I could not get through on. I rang the magazine and spoke to a lovely man, he told me he didn’t have the answer to my question about a free carer’s ticket. Something quite rare happened next…he promised to find out for me by speaking to the person in charge who was in Canada. If I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting the person to be so helpful. I think it’s because I’m so used to being told straight that they can’t help and to call someone else, in other words, palming me off. He called me back within 20mins with contact details for the The Lighthouse manager. I already had them, but I appreciated the fact he tried calling him for me too. I then emailed the manager and explained my situation, and I was happy when he said it wouldn’t be a problem for a free carer’s ticket. This whole back and forth lasted hours compared to the ease of buying tickets online for most people without disabilities.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if venues just provided simple accessibility information including whether they offer free carers tickets or not. It would make things easier for both sides. It’s extremely frustrating and unfair, but hopefully that will all be a thing of the past thanks to Una who are a new ticketing service. They aim to sort out all the problems with the ticketing industry for everyone and that includes improving accessibility in online ticketing for disabled people too. Una doesn’t launch until later this year, but I managed to register for a free pass (free to the first 2000 people to register on their website). I’m excited about this new ticketing service and I can’t wait until it launches so I can start using it to book all the events I want to go to. I believe this will encourage a lot more disabled people to attend live music, theatre and other events.
What are your thoughts on accessible ticketing?