Last month we went to see the incredible Dermot Kennedy at O2 Apollo Manchester. Having been to this venue before I had a good idea what the wheelchair accessibility would be like. This time was a little different because it was a standing-only show compared to a seated show we attended the last time. So with that in mind, I was curious to see what O2 Apollo Manchester disabled access would be like now.
Booking Accessible & PA/Carer Tickets
Thankfully, booking accessible tickets were very much the same as before. I booked one standard ticket online and then emailed the venue with my request for a free PA/carer ticket. The venue replied to let me know that everything was sorted and added us to the access list.
Getting There & Parking
We were staying at the lovely Staybridge Suites Manchester located a very short distance from the O2 Apollo Manchester. It was around a five-minute drive. To walk it was seventeen-minutes and twenty-five minutes via public transport.
Having the car made it easy for us and we were able to park on Marshall Street. This was literally outside the venue and a two-minute walk to the accessible entrance. However, there is a car park charged at £7.00 (cash only). It is issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wheelchair Accessible Entrance
There was no one at the accessible entrance when we arrived, but a door steward in the distance spotted us waiting and radioed to his colleague. He appeared from around the corner, checked our tickets and waited for the door to be opened from the inside.
A lovely friendly man appeared from inside the venue and greeted us. He quickly brought us inside out of the cold (it was December and freezing) and checked us off the access list. We were good to go. The steward then explained where we would be sitting, how he’d get us through the crowd and where the accessible toilet was. The communication so far was spot on.
He then guided us through into the hall, asking people to move and making a path for me to drive through. This bit can always feel a little unsettling as I try to dodge everyone’s feet and ankles in the dark.
As I mentioned before, this was a standing show so disabled customers were seated at the back of the room on the viewing platform. The last time I attended this venue for a seated show the accessible seats were in the front row.
The steward took us onto the viewing platform and made sure we were comfortable. Not many people were on the platform so there was plenty of space to move position if needed.
The room was packed out by the time Dermot Kennedy came on stage so the crowds moved in and a few tall men stood in front of my eye line. Because there was space on the platform, I choose to move my position and ended up sitting directly in the middle of the front row on the viewing platform. The view was really good and I was able to see everything.
What I’ve noticed about the staff at O2 Apollo Manchester is they are super helpful and attentive. The steward was on the viewing platform the entire night making sure no one got on it unless their name was the access list. He constantly monitored what was happening around us and moved people out the way if needed.
The viewing platform is located at the back of the venue and naturally, people gravitate towards it. They tend to lean against the railings for support, hang their jackets on it or place their drinks. The stewards allowed people to stand here before the show began as well as the time in between the support and main act.
Once the show begins they are told to move away and there is a clear line marked across the floor showing them where they can and can’t stand. Anytime someone stood in this area next to the platform, and they did, the stewards were immediately on it. They instantly ask them to move away, which I thought was really good, if not a little stressful and repetitive for them.
They did a fantastic job. The steward managing the viewing platform was excellent the entire night. It was clear he takes his role seriously, understands accessibility and has disability awareness.
The bar is also located at the back of the room behind the viewing platform. The noise and constant shouting from the bar can be quite frustrating and annoying. Especially during quieter songs or when the band are speaking.
The photo above of the viewing platform was taken from the Academy Music Group website. Having recently been on the viewing platform, I’m inclined to say that it may possibly be a larger platform to what is shown in the photo. The one in the photo looks smaller and the one we were on was definitely larger.
There is one accessible toilet in the venue and it is located near the back. I didn’t use it on this occasion, but I managed to ask the venue for a photo the last time we visited. It has grab bars next to the toilet as well as a sink and has an emergency red cord (doesn’t hang all the way to the floor though).
To read my review of O2 Apollo Manchester from the perspective of a seating show, click the link below:
O2 Apollo Manchester Wheelchair Access Review
I’ve reviewed Dermot Kennedy many times on my blog now, so it comes as no surprise how much I appreciate his music and adore seeing him live. I didn’t realise it was possible to enjoy a gig/singer/band the more you see them. Dermot just gets better and better every single time.
You can read my previous Dermot gig reviews were I go into more detail, but for this one, I want to keep it short and to the point.
Dermot Kennedy is….
Out of this world. Incredible. Amazing. Outstanding. Powerful. Deep.
O2 Apollo Manchester is a great wheelchair accessible music venue. The process of booking tickets is easy and the access into the venue is straightforward. The staff are friendly, attentive and happy to help. They seem to be very disability aware with the right attitudes to go with it. I will definitely go back to the O2 Apollo Manchester again.
Have you been to the O2 Apollo Manchester? How did you find the accessibility?