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Accessible entertainment!

by Bernie Hunter

Everyone loves a good night of entertainment but if you have a disability, a lot more thought has to go into planning your trip. In this blog, I will explain about top accessible venues while sharing my own experiences of getting out and about, in the entertainment world.

Accessing entertainment

There are many venues where entertainment events take place, and most have great access for people who have additional support needs. Suitable facilities such as lifts and accessible seating areas are available within the venues.

Research the venue that you are planning on going to for the first time and find out what kind of access there is before booking your tickets. Check out my guide to accessible venues in Glasgow for more in-depth details. Plus you can check out the accessible information website, Euan's Guide.

I personally love live entertainment; I am always going to see a show or a concert. In recent years, I have noticed a positive change when it comes to accessing venues, e.g. The SSE Hydro, in Glasgow that was built seven years ago - the accessible area was well thought out, as I explain in my guide.

This is exactly how all disabled areas should be designed. Why should people in wheelchairs have to sit right at the back of a venue? We have as much right to be there as anyone else has.

In the past, I have been very disappointed as older venues, such as clubs in the city centre, don't have disabled access. Most of the music performances happen in the basement of these clubs and there are not any lifts. One venue actually suggested that I could find my own way of getting down to the basement i.e. crawling down and up the stairs...unbelievable! 

Venue accessibility is improving but there are issues that you can still come across now and again. The parking isn’t great at venues, so a family member usually drops me off and picks me back up.

Booking tickets

Booking tickets for shows and concerts is a real challenge, if you have a disability which affects your speech because you are usually required to phone in order to book tickets. This really bugs me as it means that I have to ask a family member to phone the ticket line for me, it can take hours to get through and by the time that the ticket provider answer, the tickets are all sold out...so annoying.

Thankfully the company, Ticketmaster has recently introduced a new system which lets you book accessible tickets online...at last!! Check out my step by step guide below on how to book accessible tickets online. Unfortunately, you still have to book accessible tickets over the phone for smaller venues such as theatres - you will find the box offices phone number from the venue’s website.

As a person who likes going out to see shows, I would say that venues are disabled friendly and the staff are always very helpful, I would encourage other people with additional needs to go to see a theatre show or a big concert because it is really enjoyable and like I have said most venues are suitable.

Check out Ticketmaster or the venue’s website to find out all of the upcoming shows.

Enjoy the entertainment world!

Step-by-step guide to booking accessible tickets on Ticketmaster

You will need to request accessible tickets in order to book accessible tickets for shows online. Here's how you do this:

  1. Go to the Ticketmaster website: https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/
  2. Go to where it says ‘Sign in/Register, located at the top right corner of the screen. If you are signing up for the first time you will have to fill out a mini form by going to where it says ‘New to Ticketmaster?’ and clicking on the word ‘Sign up’ (you will need to fill out the basic form with your details e.g. name and e-mail address)
  3. Once you have accessed your account, it should open up your main account which has your name on the top of the page
  4. You now need to request accessible tickets. There is a menu, at the left side of the screen, with different options. Go to the ‘My Profile’ tab, and click on ‘Submit Accessibility Requirements’
  5. The ‘Access Requirements & Eligibility' page will open up with a form, to fill your details in e.g. name & e-mail address. The form is easy to fill in, for the ‘Subject’ just type in the text box ‘Accessible Tickets’
  6. The last part of the form asks you to provide a suitable document to support your request for accessible tickets, documents from PIP or health professionals which state that you have a disability- take a picture or scan the document, upload it to your device/computer and add the file to your application (you only have to go through the process once every two years)
  7. Click ‘Submit’. It can take up to 5 days for Ticketmaster to confirm that your request for accessible tickets has been accepted but this doesn’t stop you from booking accessible tickets straight away 

You can now go ahead and book accessible tickets. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Ticketmaster website: https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk
  2. Search for the show that you want to buy tickets for. If you already know where the accessible area is, in the venue you can just use the seat map (in the colour blue), to choose your seats manually. Remember you have to pick two seats, for yourself & your carer/personal assistant
  3. If you don’t know the venue, click on ‘All Ticket Types' which will open a drop-down menu and tick the boxes ‘Wheelchair Accessible’ and ‘Essential Companion’
  4. The seat map on the left side of the screen will show what spaces are available in the accessible area (highlighted in blue). Click on the blue area or zoom into the area using the + sign, which is at the top of the seat map
  5. Choose where you want to sit (Disabled Sign). Remember to click on two of the signs, if you require a free ticket for a carer/personal assistant. The seats should be in order but double check that it will only charge you for one ticket
  6. Click ‘Get Tickets’ at the bottom of the page and accept the Terms of Purchase, and then click the green button ‘Next’ (you only have 4 minutes to do this)
  7. Choose your preferred method of delivery and pay (you only have 7 minutes to do this). Be careful you haven’t opted in for ticket insurance.
  8. Once you have filled in your details, go to the very bottom of the page and click ‘Buy Now’. Your purchase will now be successful!
  9. If you have chosen the delivery option ‘Print E-tickets’, you will find the tickets in your account by clicking on ‘My Account’, at the top of the page
  10. Click the ‘My Tickets’ tab and go to ‘View Upcoming Events’. Click on the show that you have bought tickets for and follow the steps to print your tickets. Depending on the show promoter, tickets may not be available to print until nearer the time of the event.

Happy accessible ticket booking everyone!