Wales

Ed Sheeran: Disabled fans faced ticket 'discrimination'

Jessica Hatchett
Image caption Jessica Hatchett has started a petition and a Twitter campaign using #ChangeYourTune

A Pembrokeshire woman with cerebral palsy has launched a campaign to get better access to live music for disabled fans.

Jessica Hatchett said disabled fans faced "discrimination" after finding it impossible to get Ed Sheeran tickets for his Cardiff concert next year.

Other disabled fans said they also struggled to get through to the Ticketmaster phone line.

Ticketmaster apologised and said it saw "unprecedented" demand for his concert.

While people were able to buy a ticket online, the same service was not available for accessible tickets.

It meant disabled fans spent "hours" on hold but were unable to get a ticket for Sheeran's Divide tour at the Principality Stadium.

Ms 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."

She said the campaign aimed to improve the provision for disabled people who love music.

"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.

Image copyright Kayley Richards
Image caption Kayley Richards says her brother Geraint has always loved music

Kayley Richards, of Bridgend, has also been trying to buy her 15-year-old brother Geraint tickets for the gig.

Her brother Geraint was brain damaged after a near-fatal asthma attack in 2014 and he was left unable to communicate properly.

After repeated attempts on the phone and her calls being cut off, Ms Richards finally got through and managed to buy Geraint a ticket.

"Now that Geraint has a disability, we can see how difficult it is for disabled people to get tickets to see their favourite singers," she said.

"I tried every way possible to get him a ticket but discrimination is in the way once again. The system that is in place is shocking and needs to be changed.

"Why should his rights be different to everybody else just because he is disabled?"

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ed Sheeran is playing a record four days in a row in Cardiff in 2018

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."

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