Access is key for disabled people when we are planning to see our favourite bands or artists live. I am a music lover myself, going to concerts is one of my favourite things to do. I’ve had both good and bad experiences at concerts, mostly good which is all down to the work of organisations like Attitude is Everything.
Last year, one of my favourite artists, Jessie J, announced that she was touring so I obviously wanted to go. I booked disabled access tickets for myself and my personal assistant, it was a simple process which was great.
A few days before the concert, Jessie J released meet and greet upgrade packages for people who had bought general admission tickets. It’s been a goal of mine to meet her so I was hoping that this would be my chance.
I didn’t know if our tickets counted. I went online to try and upgrade our tickets, but there was no mention of upgrading if you had disabled access tickets. I didn’t want to risk the chance of paying for a meet and greet if we wouldn’t be able to get them.
I asked the venue if they had any information on the meet and greet packages, which they unfortunately didn’t. Nevertheless, they were very helpful and suggested that I should contact the promoters.
I sent the promoters several emails and social media messages but didn’t receive any replies. I finally got a response and was told that they would contact Jessie J’s management to see what could be done and give me an answer as soon as possible.
I waited but still nothing. The concert was getting closer, I emailed them again and they reassured me that if they heard from management then they would contact me. The meet and greet tickets sold out, so I lost all hope of being able to meet Jessie J.
The concert arrived and I hadn’t heard anything so I missed out on the opportunity of meeting my idol. I felt like my visual impairment had stopped me from having the same opportunity as sighted fans, I felt disappointed, upset and angry.
The concert was amazing and the venue was brilliant in terms of accessibility, but it was the meet and greet which let it down.
I would love it if management companies and promoters learnt from this, I know my story isn’t unique. It would be great if they would consider disabled fans and give us equal opportunities as non-disabled fans. We just want to be treated equally and not feel like our disability is a barrier.
Access at venues has come a long way in recent years, but other parts of the concert experience such as purchasing pre-sale tickets and meet and greet/VIP packages need to be made inclusive.
I’m hoping that I can have this experience in the future and not feel like my disability has stopped me from accessing a once in a lifetime opportunity.