When I first read about The Access Card I was intrigued. I wondered if it would be the solution to all the problems disabled people experience within the live event industry. I know for certain that there are way too many problems that discriminate and put disabled people at a disadvantage when all they want to do is go to their favourite bands gig and enjoy their night out like non-disabled people.
The reason I know this is because I too have a disability and as a result I’m in a powered wheelchair. I’m also a massive live music fan, attending at least one gig each month, sometimes more.
Over the years I kept being faced with the same barriers when booking tickets for events. These included having to explain what requirements I needed each time I called, sometimes having to go into detail about my disability. I didn’t like the way this made me feel having to tell a complete stranger personal details like this and it always left me feeling like I had to justify my disability in order to get accessible tickets. Not to mention making endless phone calls to accessible ticket lines only to be passed from pillar to post, held in long phone queues to then be told there are no accessible tickets left. It was extremely frustrating.
So when I found out about CredAbility and The Access Card I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a card of my own. I loved how the Access Card would identify the support and/or adjustments I’d require based on my disability, which would then be displayed as symbols on my card. Eliminating the need to relay them each time I want to book tickets or having to explain my requirements to venue staff at the event and having the embarrassment of doing this in front of other gig-goers.
The application process was simple and straightforward as I worked my way through the sections that applied to me and my disability i.e. ‘Wheelchair Access’ and ‘Essential Companions’. The sections cover everything and includes things like standing and queuing, visual information, urgent toilet needs and miscellaneous. I then uploaded a copy of my benefit entitlement letter, photo ID and then a photo to be displayed on my Access Card.
I’ve been using my card for almost a year now for gigs mainly in Scotland, but also in England too. I think it is brilliant how it is becoming more widely used throughout the Country and by many providers. I hope more venues get on board as it shows they are dedicated to providing a service that is fair and equal for disabled people.
What I love the most about the Access Card is how stress-free it makes booking tickets now. I hate having to call a dedicated accessible line that most of the time results in either an expensive phone bill or there being no accessible tickets left by the time I finally get through to them.
I’ve mainly used my Access Card to book tickets for events at Academy Music Group venues, such as O2 Academy Glasgow. Now I just book a standard ticket online and then email the venue with my Access Card number and my companion’s name so they can arrange a free ticket for them.
It is incredibly easy and has removed all the hassle that was previously involved in booking tickets for a show. The provider will know what support or requirements you need when you give your Access Card number, so no need to explain this each time you want to book tickets. For just £15 for 3 years, you really can’t go wrong. I will definitely be renewing my card after 3 years.
You can read more about Emmas gig going and more at her own blog http://www.simplyemma.co.uk/