When you have a bad experience at a venue it can easily put you off ever going back again. Other times, giving them a second chance seems reasonable. As a wheelchair user, SWG3 let us down big time the first time we went to a gig at the venue earlier this year. As disappointing and frustrating as it was, we gave the venue a second chance. I’m now happy to share my SWG3 wheelchair accessible venue review from our second visit to the venue.
As this gig was part of Dermot Kennedy’s intimate album launch, tickets were booked a little different to what they usually would be. Tickets could be purchased through tickets bundles with various options. We choose to purchase the brand new debut album along with the ticket. Other options included the LP, cassette tape, merchandise etc. At the total cost of £15 for the album and ticket, it was an absolute steal.
Once I had purchased my ticket and album through Assai Records, I then emailed SWG3 to request my free PA ticket and access to the viewing platform.
I completed an access request form and provided proof of my disability. I was then given an access code that I will now be able to use every time I go to a gig at SWG3. This will save me from having to provide the same information and complete the access form each time.
Arrival and Parking
The first time we went to this venue we managed to park just outside the venue. This was absolutely fine and what we did this time too. There is disabled parking at SWG3 in their yard. We would have parked in there but there was no staff standing near the closed gates, so for quickness and ease we just parked up on the street in an empty spot.
Access to the venue was really easy and stress-free. A steward approached us and led us in through the main entrance which was empty. Everyone else was going through a different door further down. This felt comfortable not having crowds of people to squeeze past.
Once inside the steward explained where we would be going and that he’d show us where the accessible toilets were. This is also when we got told the show had been moved from the TV Studio to The Galvanizers which is a bigger room.
We had previously been in the TV Studio to see Maggie Rogers earlier in the year. The set-up in the TV Studio for disabled customers was terrible back then as there was no viewing platform as promised. Instead, we were sat in a barriered off area to the side of the room with zero views of the stage.
Thankfully the manager spoke to us at the end of the night and more recently in an email. He confirmed they have improved the setup and now “set it up as standard. This now rules out the chance of any additions to the list being missed as well as provides an offering to anyone unfamiliar with the reservation process. The platform was already in place as standard in the Galvanizers.”
We were expecting to go into the TV room this time to see Dermot Kennedy, but it was good to be able to experience The Galvanizers room too.
Wheelchair Accessibility at SWG3
To get into The Galvanizers we were taken in through the Acid Bar, which is the venues bar and restaurant, through some doors and into The Galvanizers. We entered from the back of the room where I drove up the concrete ramp into the open room. I then went in front of the viewing platform to access the ramp onto the platform.
The viewing platform is positioned at the back of the long narrow room. A steward was standing on the platform and let us on. We were shown to our space at the front of the platform. There was only me and Allan in the front and a few people behind us. I was the only wheelchair user on the platform so I can’t tell how many wheelchairs it could fit.
We found the view from the viewing platform good as our views weren’t restricted by anyone’s heads in the crowd. Thumbs up for that.
My only negative regarding the platform is that there is no easy way off during the show. The bottom of the ramp is blocked off by lots of people standing in the crowd. It would be good if there were some sort of barrier to create a clear path for wheelchair users or anyone on the viewing platform to get in and out easier. Especially going to the toilet etc.
There are accessible toilets near The Galvanizers. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a photo, but below is a photo of the accessible toilet near the TV Studio in this venue.
At the end of the show, we were asked to hold back until the crowd had lessened. We then made our way out which was easy.
I’ve mentioned Dermot Kennedy in previous blog posts so it’s no surprise how much I adore his music. A few months ago we even travelled to see him at Albert Hall Manchester and he was incredible. His debut album just came out last Friday (which has since gone straight in at Number 1 on this week’s Official UK Albums Chart) and to celebrate the upcoming release, he put on a few intimate shows around the UK. SWG3 in Glasgow was one of the Scottish dates.
Having already seen him perform live and having religiously listened to his music non-stop we were prepared for another incredible performance. He didn’t disappoint in the slightest. I can’t really put into words how amazing and powerful Dermot’s music is. I highly recommend you check him out.
Our second time at SWG3 was so much better than our first. Everything seemed to flow, staff had better disability awareness and accessibility was improved. Our main issue the last time was being told there would be a viewing platform, only to arrive and there not be, resulting in an awful view and experience.
The viewing platform made such a big difference this time and the staff were good. Dermot Kennedy was incredible. We can’t wait to go and see him again later in the year in Edinburgh and Manchester.
Will we go back to SWG3? Yes, we will. It’s clear the venue is doing well providing disabled facilities. It’s also clear after speaking with the manager that they appreciate and understood our feedback after our first visit and really set out to make improvements. Venues need to be more open like this to make changes and improvements were needed.
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