Blogger Holly Tuke (pictured left beside Shawn Mendes) aims to raise awareness of the lack of access for disabled fans wanting to purchase VIP/meet and greet packages for their favourite bands/artists.
I’m registered as blind and I’m also a blogger, it’s an issue that I’ve previously discussed on my blog but I really want to do more.
To give you a bit of a background, I have had two recent experiences of this, one where I got the VIP tickets and one where I missed out.
In 2017, Jessie J announced a small UK tour so I got disabled access tickets for me and my friend. A little while before the tour she announced VIP upgrades, which stated that you needed a ‘valid general admission ticket’, but as my friend had the free personal assistant ticket, I didn’t know if there was some rule on this not being a general admission ticket. It may sound silly, but we didn’t want to pay the money for two VIP upgrades for us to be turned away.
I got in touch with the venue who said that they didn’t have anything to do with the VIP so told me to contact the promoters, which I did. After three emails and several social media messages of me chasing it up over a few days, I finally got a reply.
The promoters said that they didn’t actually know, so would get in touch with Jessie’s management and get back to me asap. I kept emailing to see if they had had a response and they kept saying that they hadn’t, by the time the gig came around, I had no response and all of the VIP packages were sold out. So I missed out, and I felt like it was because of my disability.
My most recent experience was trying to get VIP tickets for Shawn Mendes. They were only being sold online, but the website wasn’t very screen-reader friendly and you got your seat at checkout so I would have had no idea whether the seats were accessible or not and I didn’t want to pay around £400 if they weren’t.
After six weeks of discussion with the venue, promoters and ticketing company AXS I finally got the VIP packages with accessible seats. But surely it shouldn’t have taken six weeks?
I’m the sort of person that doesn’t give up, but others may not know how to fight for them or just accept that they can’t get them when this shouldn’t be the case.
I’m hoping to raise awareness that something needs to be done for disabled fans, whether this is offering a free/discounted companion/personal assistant ticket like with standard tickets, or better still, giving information for disabled fans when the VIP information is released.
I feel like we’re forgotten about by promoters, management companies, ticketing companies and whoever else deals with this sort of thing.
Meeting Shawn Mendes on Sunday has really made me want to strive for change.