Young disabled music fans feel disadvantaged when booking and attending gigs, study finds

The study's organisers, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers, are now urging the live music industry to make changes

Young disabled music fans feel disadvantaged when booking and attending gigs, study finds

Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

A new study has found that young disabled music fans consider themselves at a disadvantage when booking and attending gigs.

Over the last two months, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers has asked 100 young disabled music fans to describe what they thought was good and not so good about booking tickets and accessing venues to see their favourite musicians play live.

77 per cent of those questioned said they felt at a "substantial disadvantage" compared to non-disabled music fans when booking tickets, with one in two saying that they'd either had a stressful booking experience or missed out on tickets because of their disability.

Meanwhile, half of those questioned said that venue facilities, such as toilets, bars and food stalls, were not suitable for their needs. Nine out of 10 felt that more inclusive seating designs – which would enable disabled people to sit with more than just one friend or assistant – would make a big difference to their experience of watching live music.

Following the study, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers is urging the live music industry to make changes so that disabled music fans can enjoy the same live experience as their non-disabled peers. Campaign leaders will today (June 26) meet with MPs and industry representatives with a view to making access to live music as inclusive as possible.

"We have heard from many young disabled people who describe their experience of getting tickets to see their favourite band or artist perform live as 'an absolute nightmare' because of drawn-out, costly booking processes and company policies that separate disabled music lovers from their friends and family at a show as 'inflexible'," Project Manager Bobby Ancil said in a statement.

"There is no doubt that many venues have made significant headway in improving their facilities for disabled customers. However, we want to see the creation of an online booking option for all disabled music fans at live venues and more inclusive venue designs to ensure that disabled people can sit with more than one friend or assistant without compromising the view of the stage or their ability to enjoy a performance."

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