Industry News

Disabled Ed Sheeran fan launches campaign to end ticketing “discrimination”

A disabled Ed Sheeran fan has launched a campaign to improve ticketing accessibility to live music events.

After finding it near impossible to get hold of a ticket to Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour in Cardiff next year, Jessica Hatchett from Pembrokeshire, England, kicked off her campaign to gain better access for disabled music fans.

Hatchett, who has cerebral palsy, said she faced “discrimination” whilst trying to buy a ticket through the Ticketmaster phone line.

Ticketmaster apologised and said it saw “unprecedented” demand for the concert, the BBC reports.

An online service was not available for disabled fans, who instead had to spend “hours” on hold, and were eventually unable to get a ticket.

Speaking to the BBC, Hatchett said: “When you have just one number you can dial and no other options, you can’t go online and book, that is your only way of trying.

“You keep trying, keep trying and keep trying and it gets frustrating because I had relatives who could go online and book tickets in 20 minutes or so whereas there were people waiting seven hours and getting absolutely nowhere.

“If you want to go to a big venue that has capacity of 60,000 fans the number of spaces for a wheelchair user will not be anywhere near that size, it will be substantially smaller,” she added.

A Ticketmaster spokeswoman said: “We’re very sorry to any fans that had issues getting through on our accessible bookings line for Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour.

“Our team speaks to each customer personally to identify their particular requirements and we pride ourselves on the service we provide fans.

“We are very disappointed that some felt let down in this instance, but we saw unprecedented demand for Ed, who broke all records in Ticketmaster UK’s history.

“A huge number of the general public also called the accessibility line, resulting in extra delays.”

Image: Christopher Johnson