Tag Archives: festivals

Disability Innovations: Championing accessibility in online ticketing

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

What is Una?

Una is a new primary ticketing service that hopes to address many of the major problems facing the UK ticketing industry, such as booking fees, counterfeiting, touting, site crashing and lost tickets. Una have developed a system using smart technology which will help to streamline ticketing, and deliver a transparent service which prides itself on customer service, and putting fans first. Sounds great. But what makes Una really stand out, is that aside from all this, they are also looking to develop the most accessible ticket system out there. Una’s approach is hoping to improve accessibility at all stages of the ticketing experience, from purchasing a ticket, to accessing the venue.

Una-Brand-Logo

What’s behind the idea?

Behind Una is a group of avid gig-goers who want to create a ticketing system that is as easy and effortless for everyone as possible. This is music to the ears of disabled gig goers up and down the country! Currently getting your hands on an accessible ticket can be a lengthy process, involving buying a standard ticket and then trying to get it exchanged for an accessible ticket, which isn’t always guaranteed! Other obstacles include having to negotiate with venues for a free ticket for a helper, a limited number of accessible tickets being available, and having to provide proof of disability/eligibility with every purchase. Then there’s the problem of physical access once you eventually get there!

According to a survey in 2014 by the charity Attitude is Everything, 95% of disabled gig-goers have experienced disability related barriers when booking tickets, so much so that 83% were put off buying tickets at all. Attitude is Everything campaign for improved disabled access to live music and are working together with Una to improve reform the system and make it as accessible as possible.

How is Una improving accessibility?

Una recognises that accessibility for disabled fans is one of the biggest issues facing the ticketing industry and that’s why accessibility forms a key part of Una’s quest to streamline and improve the system.  The big idea behind it is the ‘Una Pass’. The Una Pass holds all the information from your online account and holds your tickets, meaning paper tickets are a thing of the past. The Una Pass also grants your entry into the venue, and stores information of any access requirements you may have, and it can be used for cashless payments at the event. You can also opt to age verify your Pass so you won’t need to show additional ID at events or when purchasing age-restricted goods.

They’ve taken a similar approach for verifying disability and access eligibility. Disabled people buying tickets through Una only have to provide proof of eligibility once. Customers can provide proof, in the form of benefits or PIP(Personal Independence Payment) registration, doctor’s notes, or using the Access Card. Once this has been approved and verified, the details are stored on your account, so when you log in to buy a ticket, you will automatically be offered the option of buying standard or accessible tickets for an event. They’re also working to ensure their website is fully accessible, and will also offer a ticket hotline for those who prefer to order over the phone.

What’s more, Una are working together with event venues themselves to get all the information about accessibility and disabled access, including viewing platforms etc. and put that into a user friendly platform. This cuts out the middle man and saves people having to negotiate directly with venues, and makes the process as simple and fair as possible. Through their work with Attitude is Everything, they are also campaigning to promote better access at gigs and venues for disabled fans.

Una also offers you the opportunity to transfer your tickets to friends and family at the click of a button if you are no longer able to attend an event. Or you can sell them up to the day before the event, for face-value or less on Una’s secure marketplace so you’re never out of pocket. If there is a reserve list for an event, and you can no longer attend, your ticket is then automatically matched directly to the person first on the waiting list. If that wasn’t good enough, they are also hoping to work with venues to ensure that all accessible tickets are fully refundable.

What’s next for Una?

It really does seem that Una have thought of everything, so it might not come as too much of a surprise that they have been shortlisted as one of 25 semi-finalists for Nesta’s Inclusive Technology Challenge Prize (check it out, there are some amazing ideas there!). The prize challenged anyone and everyone to submit their idea of an innovative product, venture or technology which aims to ensure disabled people and their friends and families have equal access to opportunities. Now they’ve been shortlisted, Una are in the process of developing detailed plans with Nesta to be in with a chance of winning the £50,000 prize contract. The winner will be decided by the judges in June of this year.

Una are currently in talks with festivals and event venues and are hoping that the service will launch later this year. But if you can’t wait that long, you can already get your hands on an Una Pass via the website. Una currently have 2000 Free Passes to give-away, so you can sign up for a free Pass and join the ticketing revolution before it even happens! Their ultimate goal is to be the leading agency provider offering theatre, sport, music, arts and conference tickets in the UK.

Why we love it!

What we think makes Una special, is that despite being a mainstream service, they have made improved accessibility part of their core business offer. They want to improve the ticket buying experience for everyone, by creating a hassle free system that puts fans first. That means disabled fans too! They’re looking to move the industry forward, and we feel Una really shares Scope’s vision of a country where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. And that’s really exciting. We think we’re going to see great things from Una, so watch this space!

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

To tell us about a Disability Innovation, please email innovation@scope.org.uk.

There was no disabled loo so I had to use a disposable barbecue! #EndTheAwkward #ThrowbackThursday

Personal questions, portaloos, and the dreaded ‘platform’: Kelly, 26, and her husband Jarath discuss the trials and tribulations of music festivals when one of you is disabled.

This week Kelly showed us how awkward it is getting high five’s from drunk people as part of Scope’s End the Awkward campaign, so we’re doing a #ThrowbackThursday to her awkward festival moments!

Kelly: I’ve got spinal muscular atrophy type 3. It’s a muscle wastage disorder. I always get ‘why are you in a wheelchair?’ from strangers. It’s annoying because it’s the most basic question you can ask. A lot of people assume I’ve had an accident. Because I’m confident and outgoing, they can’t believe that this is a natural thing – that I’ve always used a wheelchair.

Jarath and Kelly drinking tea at a music festivalJarath: At festivals, people have had a drink so they think it’s OK to ask personal questions – and we get a lot of personal questions. I tend to get creative: I told one bloke that Kelly fell out of a plane and someone else that she was run over by a combine harvester!

Kelly: One of the most annoying things is when people come over and tell me how much respect they have for me… simply because I’m at a festival. It’s not like I’m doing a parachute jump. I’m just having a life!

Dancing

Jarath: At Global, we were backstage dancing and more people were watching us dance than were watching the actual gig. They kept tapping Kelly and giving her high fives.

Kelly: People often try to dance with me and push Jarath out of the way, pretty much hitting him in the face with fags and beer bottles, to try and get to me. I just think ‘what are you doing? Have you got no respect?’

A selfie of Jarath and Kelly at a music festival

Jarath: People gravitate towards Kelly and don’t realise I’m with her. They think I’m her mate or carer – never her fiancé. At one festival, I’d helped Kelly up and we were having a dance. People kept telling me to put her down. I was like ‘look this is my missus, leave us alone!’

Kelly: It’s not all bad though. At Reading, we had this big pink duffle bag on the back of my chair and filled it with beer, gin, crisps and sweets. Contraband basically! We sailed past the security guards while other people were getting their bags checked.

The disabled viewing platform

Kelly: The platform is a stage at the back of a gig for disabled people. The idea is that you can see over the crowd. It’s really far back from all the action and there’s never any atmosphere. It’s rubbish.

Jarath: It’s also heavily policed by security guards – you feel like you’re being constantly watched. One time, we got caught with a beer on the platform and got kicked off. Seriously, how many people are having a cheeky beer at a festival but because we’re the ones on the platform, we got spotted.

Kelly: We moan about disabled facilities but at least most festivals try. There was nothing at Global when we went – no charging points, no platform, nothing. I complained to the organisers and ended up blagging us a place in the VIP section.
We asked if we could put our tent next to the guy doing airbrush tattoos because we knew he would have power. I ended up charging my electric wheelchair there every day. When you’re disabled, you have to be creative and find ways to make festivals work for you.

Toilets – or lack of them

Jarath: Once, Kelly got banned from using the disabled toilets at a festival because she couldn’t ‘prove’ she was disabled – apparently she didn’t have the right wristband!

Kelly: I couldn’t use the normal portaloos because of the steps up to them. I ended up having to use a disposable barbecue! We joke about it now – we joke a lot – but it ruined the festival for me.

Jarath: At another festival, we paid to use the VIP area but there were no disabled toilets. They obviously thought you don’t get disabled VIPs! Kelly kicked up a fuss and the best they could offer us was one free drink for the inconvenience. So she told the bar staff we were entitled to free drinks all day. Result!

Kelly: I kicked up such a fuss they ended up using a crane to lift a disabled portaloo into the VIP area. Suddenly we heard the beep beep beep of the crane reversing and looked up to see a disabled portaloo dangling above us. I don’t think the festival organisers will make that mistake again!

Read more awkward stories. If you’ve had a similar experience we would love to know about it! Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media