The Most Accessible Music Venues across The UK
Music is accessible on so many virtual platforms. From Spotify to iTunes, music can be accessed by almost anyone, anywhere. But what about live music? For many, going to see their favourite band is an amazing experience, but for those who depend on mobility aids, seeing their favourite band or group can be a daunting experience.
From difficulties booking tickets, to physically getting into venues and unexpected strobe lights, attending a gig can often seem like too much of a challenge if you have a disability, especially if you are not sure whether the venue you're visiting is accessible in the first place.
The good news is Group 1 Automotive has done the hard work for you, and found all the best venues in the UK for accessibility, which of these venues go that extra mile for all visitors, and which ones could stand to up their game.
The Top Tier Venues for Accessibility
Group 1 created a criteria to judge all venues on their accessibility, looking at disabled parking, disabled toilets, accessible seating and if they are assistance dog friendly. Using these criteria, Group 1 has been able to determine which music venues in the UK are ‘Top Tier’ in terms of accessibility.
It comes at no surprise that some of the UK's biggest venues make the list, like The O2. One of the most iconic music venues in the UK, the O2 Arena is the second highest seating capacity venue in the UK and is fully accessible. To help those with accessibility needs, the arena has also created an accessibility kit to help their customers receive additional assistance when they need it the most. The kit includes hearing aid batteries, a dog bowl for service dogs, and other helpful items. Kits are given to customers when they arrive at the arena.
At Wembley Arena, every set of turnstiles has an accessible entrance and assistance dogs are welcome in the building, even having their very own dog relieving stations. In the venue itself, there are over 100 chairs designated to disabled visitors, all of which have been made to comply to the “Guide to Safety at Sports” Guide.
Other top tier accessible venues include, The Royal Albert Hall, The Manchester AO Arena, M&S Bank Arena and The SSE Arena Belfast, which all met all the criteria.
The Least Accessible Venues
With all the accessible venues in the UK, there are bound to be a few that have not quite met the mark just yet. Electric Ballroom, O2 Academy Oxford, Rock City, and The Wedgewood Room only scored 2/4 in the accessibility criteria, leaving them at the bottom of the ranking.
The O2 Academy Oxford has only one accessible toilet on the ground floor, and has little wheelchair access, depending on the type of event you wish to attend. The smaller venue O2 Academy2 Oxford, is not accessible for wheelchair users at all, and even though they have a number of bars throughout the venues, none of which have lowered counters. They are however, guide and assistance dog friendly and will look after them throughout the event.
Rock City is known to be more of a club than a music venue, however they do have accessible toilets and seating. All of these venues have made efforts to be inclusive for all, some have just gone that little bit further to assure everyone has the ability to have a good time and escape from reality for a few hours.
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We crawled and analysed the accessibility pages of each venue’s website and then also looked at the specific needs and requests made by visitors with disabilities to build the correct criteria and score each venue on their accessibility.