Disabled Seating at Concerts. This is my experience. Please share yours

rufydoofyM
rufydoofyM Posts: 545
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We have recently been revisiting our youth and discovering new bands and I thought it would be good to share our experiences so far. Being able to take advantage of carer discounted tickets has made this possible although not always offered or available.

Our seating requirements are to have plenty of turning room and to ensure that there is good leg room when seated. Also seated in a position where we are not required to move or stand for someone to pass.
We also ask for the disabled platform so that the barrier in front can be used for support when standing and sitting down.
Another advantage is that it feels less crowded and you retain more personal space.

I have found that unless I specify the wheelchair platform then because no wheelchair is involved we are put in normal seating and the only consideration given to mobility difficulties being that there are no steps involved and that sometimes the carer ticket is free or discounted.

When enquiring about free or discounted carer tickets I have often been told it is not the venue that decides, but the promoter. We have found that this can vary from venue to venue.

If more venues are made aware and understand the issues disabled customers have when booking tickets through to attending then I hope that more suitable seating will eventually be provided.

To ensure the system is not abused many venues now require proof of disability either at the booking stage or insist it is provided when collecting tickets from the box office.

This thread is meant to help others find the most suitable seating and give an indication as to where it is situated, along with other information that may prove useful.

I hope more people will share their experiences.

Thanks ,

M

Manchester Arena,

http://www.phones4uarena.co.uk/venue-information/seating-plan/

We have sat on the platform above Block 105
The seats were fixed and the wheel chairs platform was just behind. The rail in front was good, but we had to keep moving to allow people past.

Platform above Block 108
We were seated at the end of the wheel chair platform with 2 unfixed chairs. This made the experience more enjoyable rather than sufferable.

Great view and atmosphere for the concert generally but long way from stage. Great if you have a good zoom and trying to film and capture everything.

Next time we will be sitting in Block 114 although there is no disabled seating shown on the plans. I'll update after our visit.

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

http://www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk/booking-info/seating-plan/


We sat in the stalls on both occasions.

Row C seats 8 and 9, Very close. Depending on the type of event it may be a little close to speakers. We saw Robert Cray and it was brilliant.

Row L 34 and 35 , Bit further back but still quite close.

Really nice venue and disabled parking is just across the road

Wembley Stadium

http://www.wembleystadium.com/TheStadium/ViewFromYourSeat.aspx

We sat on the disabled platform Block 501 for Roger Waters, The Wall.
Amazing show but we were looking down from so high up that I can't say I felt entirely comfortable. Because of the size of the show and visuals we still enjoyed ourselves, but it was so far from the stage. I remember the old Wembley so well and the new stadium felt too big and soulless.

For a cheap if booked well in advance hotel the Ibis is next to the stadium, basic but close.

First Direct Arena, Leeds

http://www.firstdirectarena.com/venue-information/seating-plans/

(Can't remember seats, but will add when I find tkts)
We sat on the disabled platform and had a great view although because of the design I don't think there would be a bad view other than right at the top and back possibly. Not that we'd ever make it up there:rotfl:


LG Arena (Genting Arena) Birmingham

http://www.lgarena.co.uk/venue-info/disabled-visitors
First visit booked seats 147 and 148 on the disabled platform. There are two sections that run each side raised from the floor seating and just infront and below the tiered seating. These seat numbers put us infront of block 14 and gave us a good view. The arena is very easy and friendly with helpful and attentive staff.
It felt more cramped than other venues as the seats are very close together, but it may have just been because it was a full house.

Next time we go will be spring and our seat numbers are 174/5 nearer to the stage so I'll update then.

We kept the cost of accommodation down by staying in Solihull and got a taxi to and from the arena which was £10 each way.

Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

https://capitalfmarena.com/Online/

When I booked our tickets the booking was held whilst I completed and returned the emailed registration form and attached proof of disability. This is then held on file so that for any future bookings.
Our seats at his venue were Block 4 G 01 and 02
These seats on the disabled platform are at ground level situated about 6 rows up from the sunken floor level where the audience stands or is seated depending on the performance. The view is excellent as is the access. Staff were friendly and attentive. It is the smallest arena we have visited so far and but the atmosphere was great and the experience was more intimate than the larger venues. Being smaller however means less disabled seating.

There is plenty of hotels and apartments close by, but we got a £35 room deal at the Premier Inn West Nottingham. The hotel has a Beefeater restaurant adjacent and is situated close to the M1 and at the end of the Pheonix tram line. We took the tram (£2 return) to the lace market and made our way to the arena. This was further than we thought and we arrived at the arena tired and later than planned. There is no separate disabled entrance and it was stressful getting in and making our way to our seats through the crowds. Unfortunately nobody seemed to notice OH was struggling to walk or that he was using a stick. By the time we sat down we felt exhausted and stressed out. Next time we may stay nearer or get a taxi and arrive earlier to beat the crush.


I will keep adding to this post as and when other venues are visited.
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Comments

  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,171
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    rufydoofyM wrote: »

    Our seating requirements are to have plenty of turning room and to ensure that there is good leg room when seated. Also seated in a position where we are not required to move or stand for someone to pass.
    We also ask for the disabled platform so that the barrier in front can be used for support when standing and sitting down.
    Another advantage is that it feels less crowded and you retain more personal space.

    I have found that unless I specify the wheelchair platform then because no wheelchair is involved we are put in normal seating and the only consideration given to mobility difficulties being that there are no steps involved and that sometimes the carer ticket is free or discounted.
    To me it seems fair enough to ask you to use accessible step free seats if you able to walk a small distance to leave wheelchair spaces free for people who don't have this option.

    Maybe you could ask to use a wheelchair space if it is still free on the night.
  • martindow wrote: »
    To me it seems fair enough to ask you to use accessible step free seats if you able to walk a small distance to leave wheelchair spaces free for people who don't have this option.

    Maybe you could ask to use a wheelchair space if it is still free on the night.

    Whilst I accept your point and hope people don't abuse the system there are people with many varying needs to consider. If we were not able to sit in the disabled area accessible to wheelchairs we would be unable to attend concerts.

    I have mentioned the advantages that the platform areas have, such as the extra space, rail and lack of the need to move when someone has to get past, but for us these are needs.

    I hope that this is helpful to others and will avoid the distress of booking disabled tickets only to find that you are not in the disabled area, but in unsuitable seating in the general area.
    Not all booking agents ask the nature of disability and take it into consideration when selecting seats. In addition some just ask if you have a wheelchair or not.

    Why should a disabled person with physical and mobility problems be prevented from attendance because they don't use a wheelchair and are unable to sit in the general seating areas ? There are also those with mental disabilities that are unable to sit in general seating, but would be comfortable in the wheelchair accessible area.

    We sat in ordinary seats at Bridgewater hall and it was difficult and tiring and felt claustrophobic.

    If the venues were to provide more space for their disabled customers and consideration to their needs it would be better.
    As for waiting and asking to be moved if a free seat is available on the night, well for us that isn't an option.
  • Faith177
    Faith177 Posts: 2,927
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    I attended a gig at Wembley Arena this weekend I'm not disabled but am recovering from a dislocated kneecap which happened about 3 weeks ago so my mobility is very limited at the moment

    I called the venue last week to see if we could exchange our tickets (we were on the top floor row Q) as I just wouldn't be able to do that many stairs easily. I was told to go to the Box Office on the night

    When I got to the box office I was treated with nothing but hostility firstly the woman demanded to "know who I spoke to" I admitted that I had completly forgotten. She then wanted to know "What my problem was" I explained the situation she then promptly threw two tickets into the tray and said "best I can do" and walked off.

    The tickets were for the next block down but again right at the back of that block. I just about managed it but due to the number of steps I couldn't leave my seat all night as I was confident I would be able to get back up again lol

    I really hope that they are normally better than this with customers needs
    First Date 08/11/2008, Moved In Together 01/06/2009, Engaged 01/01/10, Wedding Day 27/04/2013, Baby Moshie due 29/06/2019 :T
  • essex_boy
    essex_boy Posts: 2,213
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    Wembley Arena is the worst.
    Disabled tickets are sold at a premium and no free carer tickets.
  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,171
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    essex_boy wrote: »
    Wembley Arena is the worst.
    Disabled tickets are sold at a premium and no free carer tickets.
    This sounds awful. However venues that do have free or discounted carer tickets presumably offer these as they expect the carer to help get the person into a seat.

    Seats are also often uncomfortable for tall or overweight people but that is the nature of a theatre or other venue. I would feel uneasy if I thought I was stopping a person in a wheelchair seeing a concert if I were capable of getting to a seat.

    There are not many wheelchair places at most venues and it seems right that they do not lightly use them up for people who have limited mobility but are capable of moving a short distance with help.
  • When we attended a concert at Wembley Stadium I described our difficulties and needs but was sold ambulant disabled tickets and only realised that we were seated in the middle of a row of normal seats 10 days prior to the concert. We eventually managed to arrange more suitable seats in the wheelchair accessable area, but it was a stressful few days. We had help and support from http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/ who do much to help venues understand and improve the service given to disabled customers. We did however get a free careres ticket.

    Unfortunately it is not always a straight forward matter of whether a wheelchair is required and used or not. Everyones needs are different and few of us fall into neat little boxes iykwim.
  • REEN
    REEN Posts: 547
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    RufydufyM, I find some seats next to the aisle on the right and left of the Bridgewater Hall stalls let me stretch out my dodgy knees. Not specified disabled seats but saves having to get up to let late-comers in.
  • Reen your're right. We sat further back and on the end of row L and had a great view when last went and it meant OH had room to stretch his leg out and could just swivel round when anyone needed to get through. Trouble is there's always someone who is less observant and he got knocked several times causing him pain. Over all though it's one of my favourite venues. It might not have the atmosphere like the arenas but being so much smaller it's so civilised and always a good view.
  • Mrs_Ryan
    Mrs_Ryan Posts: 11,832
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    I don't really go to concerts now I'm disabled but I had problems when I went to DeMontfort Hall in Leicester in May to watch Frank Skinner.
    When I bought the tickets I asked were there steps. I was shown the seating plan which indicated no steps which I said was fine. However when I arrived I discovered there were four steps up to the seat which was jammed in a corner.
    I asked was there any accessible seats. I was told only the front row (which was full) and the wheelchair section which was only for wheelchair users.
    The staff were lovely I have to say (although the comment oh theyre only little shallow ones didn't help) and I was helped up the steps with great effort and difficulty from me. I was asked why I was shown a seating plan which included no steps and recieved the helpful reply of 'oh you bought them from our outlet box office you'll have to take it up with them'
    I couldn't move through the whole show and I was very stiff and sore by the end (I suffer with back damage and I need to get up and move around periodically which I could not do) I left before the end as I physically could not sit any longer and even if I had gone out I would not have been able to get back up the steps without disturbing everyone else so I missed the end of the show as well :mad:
    The rest of the row was full and there was no room for my crutches and not much room for me (I'm 5'6 with short legs :D and I'm a size 16 so not particularly massive but the seats were a bit small)
    There is another concert I would love to see there but I refuse to go back there again. I don't blame the staff at all- they were amazing but it's just not set up for the 'ambulant' disabled.
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  • The_One_Who
    The_One_Who Posts: 2,418
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    As someone who works in such a venue, please try to remember that it isn't the fault of the staff that the building is not ideal. The majority are old buildings, designed when disabled access wasn't top of the priority list, and with budget constraints as they are, having an overhaul just isn't possible. The staff get just as frustrated and annoyed at the situation as the patrons.

    I can only speak for the venues I have worked at, but if you contact the venue and ask for the front of house manager they should be a little bit more helpful. They can liaise with the box office to try to find a solution. Although going by the list of requirements in the first post, it would be difficult to find somewhere in my venues, I genuinely don't think we have a space that accommodates all of them.
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