Britannia International Hotel Canary Wharf Accessibility Review 

A photograph of the front of Britannia International Hotel. The ramp is situated to the left of shot behind a sign that reads 'The International London'
Taken from Tripadvisor. Image Description: A photograph of the front of Britannia International Hotel. The ramp is situated to the left of shot behind a sign that reads 'The International London'

Back with the accessibility reviews again. But this time a hotel review, specifically the Britannia International Hotel in Canary Wharf, London. This is where I stayed in March 2022 before CW134 at Indigo at The O2 and UFC London at The O2. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Booking 

The initial booking was made with Booking.com, and I booked a standard room and made my request for an accessible room in the booking notes. The hotel then emailed me through the booking to say that they’d received my request and were able to book me in the accessible room I’d requested.

Travel 

Travel wise, I got the train from Birmingham New Street to London Euston as I usually do. Then the bus from Euston to Waterloo. Then the Jubilee line from Waterloo to Canary Wharf. From there it was just a short walk to the hotel. Many forms of transport but frankly it all went quite smoothly. 

Experience 

Once I got into the hotel, things started pretty well as I was given a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) form to fill out when I checked in. This is essentially a form for me to set out how I will evacuate in case of a fire as a disabled person, and isn’t something I usually receive at a hotel, so it was a pleasant surprise. Once I got to the room, my initial thought was that it was a little tight on space and difficult to manoeuvre around. For example, there was a double bed, but I could only get on the bed from one side. This is because where the bed was positioned meant there wasn’t enough space to position my chair down the other side to transfer. 

It was a similar story of pluses and minuses in the accessible bathroom. Initially I was pleasantly surprised again as there seemed to be both a bath AND a wet room shower with seat in the bathroom. I find this is rare as it is usually a bath OR wet room shower bathroom and, if a hotel has both options available, you have to select which one you want. So, I think this was some step in the right direction as choice and options in accessibility are key. However, having both options did make space a little tight as I was unable to get my wheelchair fully in the bathroom and close the door without doing a 60-point turn or parking right up against the toilet. Which as you might imagine, made transferring onto said toilet difficult. 

Overall, whilst there were some pleasant accessibility surprises I wasn’t expecting from this hotel, the lack of space meant I couldn’t properly access the pleasant surprises that did exist. 

I hope this review is helpful if you’re trying to find an accessible hotel in the Canary Wharf Area. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Cage Warriors CW132 York Hall Accessibility 

Emma smiles broadly at the camera. She has messy hair and is wearing glasses and a burgundy hoodie. She is holding up a beer bottle
Image Description: Emma smiles broadly at the camera. She has messy hair and is wearing glasses and a burgundy hoodie. She is holding up a beer bottle

Yet more clearing the backlog of accessibility reviews from the past year and a bit. This one from December 2021. My first trip back to Cage Warriors for CW132 at York Hall in London. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

Event tickets were purchased by emailing Eventim through their customer service form. They then called me back (using the number I had left on the form) so I could book my access seating. The train tickets to London were booked through Trainline as usual. 

Travel 

I Initially took my usual train from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. I then took the Tube (I believe it was the Jubilee Line, exiting at Canary Wharf), and switched to the DLR to head to Pudding Mill Lane where my hotel was. From my hotel I had to take a couple buses to York Hall, but I’ll discuss those a bit more in the venue section of the post. 

Hotel 

Ah the hotel, here’s the interesting part of this blog post. I wanted to make a booking at Snoozebox Olympic Park. Partly because it was close ish to the venue and partly because it seemed like a cool place to stay. After a phone conversation they let me know that they did have accessible rooms and to just book a standard room online and add into the notes about my need for an accessible room, so that’s what I did. Seems simple, right? Oh, so very wrong, this is where things go decidedly south. About 3 days before I was booked to stay, I realised I hadn’t heard anything and sent an enquiry across. It was then that I learned there was some issue (nothing was specified) with ALL the accessible rooms and that there had been a ‘staff consensus’ (without consulting me, the disabled person) to decide I wouldn’t be able to use a standard room. Essentially, with 3 days’ notice, I was a solo female disabled traveller left without a hotel room in the capital. Needless to say, I panicked and took to all the social media to see if any friends had somewhere to stay or knew of hotels nearby with last minute availability. This minor social media ‘campaign’ reached the attention of the hotel management, and I then received a call to say the issue with the accessible rooms had been sorted as a matter of priority and I would be able to stay as originally booked. I think this shows the importance of advocating for yourself and your access requirements, because if I didn’t in this situation I think I may well have been sleeping on the streets that night.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I noticed the rooms were in cabins (the easiest way to describe them) separate from the main hotel lobby. Whilst this was a cool place to stay and did have an accessible bathroom with roll in shower, there was a little ramp to enter the accessible room which was quite steep and made it difficult to get in and out of. This meant that I didn’t feel safe entering or exiting my room without assistance in case my wheelchair tipped up. 

Experience & Seating 

In terms of the venue, I took one bus about halfway to the venue before getting off that and taking a short walk to switch buses in order to get to the bus stop closest to the venue. From there I rolled up to the standard entrance to the venue, which had a significant flight of steps. From here, staff took me round to a separate side entrance. This also had steps but there was a stairlift (honestly quite an old looking one) which took me up the stairs and I was able to go from there to my seat. To say I’d actually had to go upstairs to get to it, my seat was actually on the ground floor level of the the venue. Accessible seating entailed simply removing a seat from the back row of this ground floor seating in order for me to park my chair in. Whilst I like this approach to access seating as it means I get to be part of the crowd, it does have one major issue as my view is almost completely blocked if those in from of me stand, such as at an exciting finish to a fight. Once the fights were over, I found a member of staff who was able to open a gate and help me down in the stair lift so I could head home. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

Cage Warriors Manchester (135, 136, 146) Accessibility Review: Cross Country Trains, Premier Inn Trafford Centre West & Bowlers Exhibition Centre 

3 images of Emma's view at Bowlers Exhibition Centre for 3 different events. The images show the view from (from left to right): Section E1, Section E2 and Section B4. In the left and centre images the view is an empty Cage Warriors cage, and in the right hand side image Paddy Pimblett carries Liam Gittins on his shoulders in the cage.
Photo Credit Gurder (for right hand side image). Image Description: 3 images of Emma's view at Bowlers Exhibition Centre for 3 different events. The images show the view from (from left to right): Section E1, Section E2 and Section B4. In the left and centre images the view is an empty Cage Warriors cage, and in the right hand side image Paddy Pimblett carries Liam Gittins on his shoulders in the cage.

Back with another accessibility review! Technically a 3 in 1 type review as we have trains, hotel and venue all in the same review. As you can see from the title, I’ll be discussing 3 Cage Warriors events from last year, but I used the same train operators and hotel each time, and all three events were held at the same venue. Right, there’s the background, now on with the review! 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Cross Country Trains (Birmingham New Street to Manchester Piccadilly) 

Ticket Buying & Getting On at Birmingham New Street 

As usual. I booked the tickets on Trainline and the assistance via the Passenger Assistance app. On the day of travel, I arrived at the assistance lounge in New Street station around 20 minutes before my train as instructed and staff took me to my train from there and helped me to board with the ramp. 

On Train 

Onboard the Cross Country trains, I’ve always found that the wheelchair spaces are difficult to navigate into because the spaces themselves only just about fit my wheelchair and the table in the space cannot be moved so it’s not like you can lift it up and move it out of the way whilst you park up and then fold it back out again. The corridor is also quite tight so trying to get into and out of the carriage whilst other passengers are boarding, or disembarking is tricky. I have, however, found it reassuring that guards on Cross Country always make sure to check where I am disembarking the train. It’s comforting as a disabled person to know that a staff member is aware you are onboard, as I often have anxiety about getting left on the train. 

Disembarking & Leaving at Manchester Piccadilly 

Thankfully, staff at Manchester Picadilly were ready with the ramp as soon as my train pulled in. They were then able to assist me down the (very steep ramp and staff advised me which bus I needed to take to my destination. 

Premier Inn Trafford Centre West 

Booking 

This was quite a simple process thankfully as I just booked an accessible room directly via the Premier Inn website. I could also choose between a room with a lowered bath or a wet room on the site when booking a room. I chose the wet room as that’s the most accessible option for me. 

Travel 

I took the bus from Manchester city centre to the Trafford Centre bus station. I will admit that the first time I visited I found this particular Premier Inn (There are 3 with the ‘Trafford Centre’ name) difficult to locate. Partly because it was late and partly because you have to cross a road or two to get there from the bus station, so it wasn’t immediately visible from the bus station. Once I found the hotel, I had to roll through the car park to get in as the other path didn’t have a drop kerb. 

Experience 

The hotel itself was actually quite accessible. I was given a ground floor room which is what I prefer as that means I don’t have to battle with evacuation chairs and evacuation protocols in case of a fire. The room itself was very spacious and easy enough to manoeuvre around. I must also add that staff were very helpful in assisting me at the buffet breakfast. Hotel buffet breakfasts are something I struggle at when I travel solo as they’re often quite difficult to reach from a wheelchair. 

Bowlers Exhibition Centre (BEC Arena) 

Ticket Buying 

As usual with Cage Warriors events in these kinds of venues, I booked the accessible seats for all 3 events over the phone with Eventim. 

Travel 

Even though I picked one of the closest hotels to the venue, travel was still a little complicated. I managed to get a bus part of the way there and then the rest of it was a 30-minute walk through what I believe was an industrial estate. Check out the ‘Experience’ section for what the post event travel was like because it was…interesting. 

Experience & Seating 

Once I got to the venue, there was a ramp up to the entry door where our tickets were checked. From there it was through a corridor (including past the accessible toilet, more on that later) before entering the area where there was a food counter, merch and some benches/seating. From there I was led down a ramp into the arena and to my seat. The accessible seating was another case of simply removing a plastic seat so I could park my wheelchair. I had pretty good seats for all 3 events. The 135 and 136 events in April were on consecutive days, and my seats for those were essentially one seat apart from each other across the aisle in section E1 and E2. My seats for the November event (146) were in section B4 (again, good seats). I would say the main difference between seating in E section and B section is that B is the opposite side of the arena to the bar and accessible toilet. They do close off part of the arena (so you can’t cross from B section to the bar/toilets) when walkouts for each fight happen. So, I would factor that in if you want to make a bar or bathroom run between fights (or use the information to your advantage so you can end up right on barrier for a particular walkout, you choose). I had some issues with my view of the cage being blocked when people stood up or stood in front of me if they got particularly invested in a fight. Thankfully, in the April events I was on the back row of the section and there was plenty of room behind the seats, so I just backed up and used my chair riser to see over everyone. Staff and fellow fans were also very good at spotting when my view was blocked and offering me empty seats where I would have a better view. 

Now for more on that accessible toilet in the entrance corridor. I believe it’s on the radar key system. But the radar key door doesn’t open straight into the actual bathroom as there’s an entry way and then an open doorway (without a door) into the actual bathroom. So, REMEMBER to lock that first door. The other problem with locating the accessible bathroom in that entrance corridor is that it was sometimes difficult to get to the bathroom through the flow of traffic entering and leaving the show. 

As I mentioned earlier in the ‘Travel’ section, leaving the event is where things got interesting. For the April events, the buses back to the Trafford Centre had stopped running and I didn’t know where the nearest tram stop was (and frankly didn’t fancy figuring that out at gone 11pm at night, alone in a strange city). However, having seen a few taxis parked up, I thought I’d try my luck. Any wheelchair users reading this probably already know that was a false hope. I had one driver tell me that the ramp was broken (AFTER having a full 5-minute conversation with me about where I wanted to go whilst they could see I was sat in my wheelchair. The second taxi then IMMEDIATLEY said they didn’t have a ramp and frankly the immediacy of the response (before I’d even finished my sentence) made me sceptical about whether that was true. With two refusals behind me, I called it quits and decided to make the 45-minute walk back to the hotel. Alone, in the dark, through an industrial estate. Not the safest idea but frankly it was the only option I had. 

With that experience in mind, for the November event I didn’t even try using the taxis that parked outside and skipped straight to the 45-minute walk. Thankfully, I had a friend with me this time but it’s still a sketchy walk and generally not fun to walk 45 minutes in November weather in the UK. 

Overall whilst the trains and hotel were great with no complaints and the venue seemed quite accessible. The lack of late night, accessible post event travel options make the situation a little difficult and sketchy, particularly if you’re disabled and travel solo as I often do (and did for the first two events here). 

I hope this review was insightful and helps if you’re planning to visit Bowlers Exhibition Centre. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels 

Birmingham O2 Institute Accessibility Review 

Emma's view from the wheelchair seating of Birmingham O2 Institute main room. It shows looking over the stage from above whilst the band are playing
Photo Credit: Alexandra Quinn. Image Description: Emma's view from the wheelchair seating of Birmingham O2 Institute main room. It shows looking over the stage from above whilst the band are playing

Back with another accessibility review. This time O2 Institute in Birmingham, the main room that is. I know I’ve reviewed O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham before. But the main room is a separate room within the same building, and I had a VERY different experience, so I thought it warranted a separate review. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

The ticket buying process was actually the same as for Institute 2 in that I bought a standard ticket and emailed to have it changed to a wheelchair access ticket with carer. 

Travel 

Again, since it’s in the same building as Institute 2, the travel was the same. It was just a 20-minute walk. 

Experience & Seating 

Ahh the actual venue experience, here’s where things get inaccessible. I must start this section by saying that this is actually my experience over several visits and shows. I will be mentioning the bands I saw but only to separate the different experience. My accessibility experiences are in no way the fault of the bands mentioned so please don’t direct any negativity.  

Firstly, in mid-March of 2022, my friend asked if I wanted to see a band called White Lies. I’m always up for a random show so we went. Turned up to the show to be let in through the usual side door with ramp and then to a lift where an employee accompanied us up to the main room level and to our seats in the balcony area. About 10 or so minutes after we’d settled in, someone else from the venue (I think some kind of medic) came up and informed us that the lift had broken right after I’d used it. I panicked a fair bit but just decided we’d enjoy the show and come up with a plan afterwards to get me downstairs and home. 

Once the show was over, a plan was made. I transferred into the evacuation chair (something that I’d only ever used for fire evacuations before) and was then taken downstairs and into a room to wait for my wheelchair. The plan for that was for me to turn it off and disengage the motors and for a team of people to then carry the wheelchair downstairs. Obviously, this made me nervous as I have no other form of transportation and would be essentially losing my legs if my chair was dropped and damaged. But at the same time, I didn’t know any other way to get my chair downstairs. My chair is also quite heavy, so it took 6 people to carry it down. But thankfully I was eventually reunited with my chair and was able to check it wasn’t damaged before heading home. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of my lift woes at this venue. 

In mid-April 2022. I was able to find a last-minute ticket to The Reytons. My friend suggested the band were great so I double checked with the venue that they still had spaces in the wheelchair seating (I figured they’d mention if I couldn’t get into the gig because of lift issues). They said they had space and mentioned no other issues, so I took the last-minute ticket, had them convert it into a wheelchair space and carer and carried on about my day. However, issues began as soon as I turned up to the venue. A fellow wheelchair user and his two companions enquired whether it was The Reytons we were seeing, and when I confirmed it was, they informed me I wouldn’t be going as the lift was broken. I’m pretty sure it was just STILL broken from the White Lies gig where it had broken mid show. Having spoken to the venue staff, they confirmed the lift was broken. I asked if I could leave my wheelchair somewhere, use the evacuation chair to go up and down the stairs and then sit on a seat at the show. They said that wasn’t possible due to lack of staff for using the evacuation chair. The angels that they are, the two other attendees we’d met offered to carry me up there themselves so I could see the show, but that wasn’t allowed because health and safety (which I expected). With all options exhausted, I was left with nothing else but missing the show. 

I must say the band were brilliant about the situation and so apologetic, organising a meet and greet before the show, merch and tickets to another show on the tour (which was Camden’s Electric Ballroom for me). The venue also offered me a free ticket to any other show at the venue that I wanted (where they had available wheelchair spaces). But nothing was or is ever going to fix the heartbreak of watching everyone walk into a show you have a ticket for but can’t attend. And knowing the only reason you cannot go is because of accessibility. Of course, I know that lifts break and that is just part of using mechanical equipment for accessibility.  But the worst part was we didn’t even have to get to that point. The lift was very likely broken for a while, so they could have mentioned the broken lift when I called to enquire about wheelchair spaces earlier in the day. I didn’t HAVE to go through the gut wrench of watching everyone walk in like that. 

I was grateful to hear that the lift was back to being operational as of 29th April 2022, and to be able to successfully attend two shows in that room (Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls in September and then Set It Off in November). 

I think the takeaway from this review is this: Accessibility isn’t just about a one-time investment of having the right accessibility equipment to make sure everyone can access a performance. It’s also about making sure that equipment is working and functional and communicating as soon as you can when the equipment is NOT working, especially if you know you have people attending who would need that equipment to get to the show. 

Please learn from this post and help me to avoid another gut-wrenching moment of realising I have to fight for even the simplest pleasure, such as attending a show. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Cage Warriors 138 Colchester Charter Hall Accessibility Review 

A selfie of Alex and I before the start of the show! With a crowd of seats behind us!
Image Description: A selfie of Alex and I before the start of the show! With a crowd of seats behind us!

After a quiet 2022, I am back. Warning: These first few posts of the year will likely be out of order and just clearing the backlog of 2022 reviews, because ya gal saw A LOT of venues and shows across this fine country in 2022. This post is also a collaboration with my friend Alex at The VI Critic. Be sure to click the link to check out his content including HIS side of this access review from the viewpoint of someone with a visual impairment. So, here’s my take on the accessibility of Colchester Charter Hall from Cage Warriors 138 back in May 2022. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for other experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

The ticket buying experience for this one was a bit of a mission. I initially went straight to Eventim as I know they usually handle Cage Warriors access seating. They advised me to speak to the venue. Having spoken to the venue, they said tickets were nothing to do with them. I was then able to speak with the events manager who was able to open up access seating after some kind of site/team meeting (this was AFTER tickets originally went on sale as far as I remember). THEN it was back to Eventim to book the newly available access seating, and only then were Alex and I able to get the tickets we needed. 

Travel 

The journey to Colchester was a 2 parter (or 3 if you include the tube). First was a trip from Birmingham New Street to London Euston with Avanti. Once I’d made it TO London it was time to make it ACROSS London to Liverpool Street for the train out to Colchester. This is where things got a little tricky. I headed to Euston Square to catch what I thought would be a simple single train to Liverpool Street, however, it transpired that Euston Square was only accessible from one direction (westbound I believe). Which meant I had to make a more convoluted trip to actually make it to Liverpool Street. This also had the knock-on effect of meaning I missed the initial train to Colchester that I was meant to catch. Luckily, I was just able to catch the next Greater Anglia train. These Greater Anglia trains on the Colchester route are actually one of the first that I’ve seen in the UK with full step free access to the train via a ramp IN the train which extends out. However, I found that at Colchester, even with the ramp extension, there was still a slight gap and drop when I disembarked the train which still made me somewhat nervous to disembark alone. 

Hotel 

For this particular trip I stayed at the Premier Inn Cowdray Avenue in Colchester. I found this to be a bit of an odd one as it’s one of the few hotels I’ve stayed in which didn’t have a lift to the upper floor at all. But I was able to secure a room on the ground floor. The other odd point here was that I was given an actual physical key to open the door rather than a key card. Whilst I find this more difficult as someone with fine motor control issues, Alex mentioned that a physical key might have plus points over a key card for those with a visual impairment, which is one way I myself didn’t think of in which our access needs could differ. One plus point for this hotel compared to others was the plethora of plug points. This is something I often have an issue with as someone who travels with a lot of tech AND a wheelchair that needs charging. There are rarely enough plugs in the right places to charge everything I need, but that wasn’t a problem at this hotel. I would also like to point out that the staff were very helpful in making sure I had everything I need to be comfortable during my stay. The only issue I had here was the bathroom as this had a sliding door which was very heavy and got stuck on the carpet. 

Experience & Seating 

The first thing I noticed en route to the venue was the poor-quality pavement between my hotel and said venue. Obviously not the venue’s fault but something to bear in mind, I guess. Once we got to the venue there was somewhat of a queue to get in and a full security check. Then we had our tickets checked and headed into our seats. We were in Row C of Block 2. Whilst this was technically at the back of floor seating, it was a pretty fantastic view for Alex’s first CW event. We were right next to walkout (which means you can spot us on broadcast if you watch back) and Alex even had a gumshield land in his lap! The only issue was it being a little bit of an awkward angle to look at the big screens (something I like to do to see the intricacies of submission attempts that I can’t quite see properly looking at the cage). It was a brilliant event and Alex even asked if he could come to the London event in July (held at Indigo at the O2 which I have already previously reviewed) as soon as we left the event! Being in the back row of the floor also meant leaving the event was quite easy and there wasn’t too much of a crowd to work through. 

Travel Home 

When it came time to travel home, the travel back into London was a little different than the journey OUT of London. I followed the signs from my hotel to the train station to find that the signs had sent me to the wrong side of the station for wheelchair access to the platform. Thankfully, the staff walked me back out and around the station in the rain so I could access the correct platform. I then hopped on the train to Liverpool Street. From there I had to take the Metropolitan line all the way to Aldgate, stay on that train and wait for it to reverse back so I could get off at Euston Square (see my earlier note about Euston Square only being accessible in one direction). From there it was a quick walk to Euston where I caught the train back to Birmingham. 

I hope this accessibility review of trains, a Premier Inn and Colchester Charter Hall was informative. Be sure to check out Alex’s side of the collaboration and keep an eye on my Cage Warriors blog posts for more of my reviews having spent 2022 following the promotion all over the place.  

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

O2 Academy2 Birmingham Wheelchair Accessibility Review 

Emma and Lizzie's view from the access platform of Birmingham O2 Academy 2. Picture This are on stage mid set. There are blue, pink and purple lights illuminating the stage
Photo Credit: Lizzie Iles. Image Description: Emma and Lizzie's view from the access platform of Birmingham O2 Academy 2. Picture This are on stage mid set. There are blue, pink and purple lights illuminating the stage

Back again with another wheelchair accessibility review. This time for Picture This at the O2 Academy 2 in Birmingham. I do a review out for the O2 Academy in Birmingham but, whilst these 2 venues are in the same building, I see it that a different room equals a different venue which deserves its own separate accessibility review. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

First up in the ticket buying process was to email the disabled bookings email for the venue to clarify exactly WHAT the accessible ticketing process was and also how we would go about buying 2 accessible seats at once (something I hadn’t done before) since my friend Lizzie who is also a wheelchair user would be joining me. They told us to just buy 2 standard tickets through Ticketmaster and then email them back with the order number and the tickets would be converted to accessible ones. Once that was done, we realised we had 2 accessible tickets and a carer ticket each (I hadn’t requested the carer tickets). We gave one of those tickets to a new friend from the Solo Armada (an online group for gig goers which I have mentioned before). Why did we give a ticket away to a stranger? Well because we had a spare and making gig friends is always cool. 

Travel 

Well, there was no real travel involved since neither Lizzie nor I live particularly far from the venue. So, it was simply a case of getting ready, then heading round to Lizzie’s for pre gig food and beers before heading to the train station to collect our new found gig friend and head to the gig. 

Experience & Seating 

When we arrived at the venue, it was very busy with a VERY long queue outside. I soon realised that was because there were 2 gigs that night in the same building since, like I mentioned in the intro, Academy and Academy 2 are in the same building. We were able to find a staff member who directed us to the queue for our gig. Once we got to the front of that queue were then pulled into the other queue for the Academy in order to use the lift to get up to venue level. We couldn’t all fit in the lift at once so Lizzie went up first and then our new mate and I followed afterwards. When we got up there, we realised that Lizzie was already situated so we all grabbed drinks from the bar and then settled into our seats (or what we thought were our seats). When we settled in, I remarked that the view looked familiar when I didn’t expect it to (I hadn’t visited Academy 2 before but I HAD visited Academy). I also noticed that the crowd below didn’t look how I expected a Picture This crowd to look (I’d seen the boys live before so, I kinda knew what crowds they drew). But I figured I was just thinking too much into it and carried on. Lizzie and our new mate then headed off to get merch as I’d told them what I wanted. They came back and said that there no Picture This merch at the merch stand and that was because… WE’D BEEN PUT IN THE WRONG GIG. Where we were sat felt so familiar to the Academy show I’d been to because we WERE SAT in Academy and Academy 2 was actually next door. With that figured out we were moved into Academy 2 where our gig actually was. This just meant going through one door out the side of Academy, then through the door straight onto the small access platform in Academy 2. When I say small, I mean there was space for about 8 people and it was quite cramped. I think there was space behind us too but I think that was reversing space for wheelchair users rather than more seating. 

I must say I really enjoyed the gig (although I knew it would be good as I’ve seen the boys live before ). I also really enjoyed getting to stand at the “barrier” for the whole gig (even if it was only the barrier to the access platform and I was only able to do it with Lizzie’s help) as standing at barrier isn’t something I’ve ever been able to experience, what with being a wheelchair user and often having to be on a separate platform.  

A couple of things I didn’t enjoy. Firstly, as wheelchair users we had no access to the merch stall which was on the main floor. This meant that my only way to get merch was to loudly yell our entire order down to the merch staff and then have them bring the order up to us and take payment with a mobile card machine. Which, like, they did, but it was a massive faff and made me feel very self-conscious yelling down in front of a full venue. I also couldn’t see a disabled toilet in the Academy 2 section which meant that, If I’d have needed to, I’d have had to leave the gig and go across into Academy to use that disabled toilet, and obviously I’d like to not have to leave the gig. But at the same time, I couldn’t see anywhere in the Academy 2 side of the building that would be able to house a disabled toilet. 

Once the gig was over, we went back through into Academy and then down in the lift and out. Whilst our friend headed home, Lizzie and I decided to try our luck at stage door. Once we’d asked around and figured out which was the correct stage door to be at., we pulled up and waited. We were lucky to get some photos with the boys and Ryan (the lead singer) was kind enough to sign the copy of his poetry book that Lizzie had bought me at the gig as an early birthday present. 

After making a quick detour into a hotel on the way home for a toilet break (we were waiting longer than I expected at stage door) we headed back to mine for tea and a post gig debrief. 

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

The Castle and Falcon Birmingham Accessibility Review

The bar in the concert room at Castle and Falcon. Above the bar is a sign (black text on a white background) which reads " LIVE AT THE CASTLE AND FALCON BEANS ON TOAST"
Photo Credit: Alexandra Quinn. Image Description: The bar in the concert room at Castle and Falcon. Above the bar is a sign (black text on a white background) which reads " LIVE AT THE CASTLE AND FALCON BEANS ON TOAST"

Back with ANOTHER venue access review. This time I headed to Castle and Falcon in Birmingham for a dance with Beans On Toast.

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)

Ticket Buying

This was one of the easiest ticket buying processes I’ve ever had. I just bought a general admission ticket and then sent the venue a courtesy email to let them know I was a wheelchair user and would require an accessible entrance.

Travel

The travel was also easy as I just caught a bus from the end of my street and then took a 10–15-minute walk to the venue once the bus dropped me off. On the return, I took a bus back to the city centre, dropped my mate off at the train station and headed home.

Experience & Seating

When it came to the venue, I was a little sceptical as the website just said “100% wheelchair accessible, including accessible toilet”. Every disabled person can tell you of a time they’ve read that phrase on a website and then found the venue to not be as accessible as claimed. Thankfully, the statement was (as far as I could see) entirely true and the venue WAS entirely accessible. Whilst the main entrance has steps, there is a side entrance which is step free.

Once I had made my way in and found my new friends from Solo Armada, we hung out in the bar before heading into the gig room and to the front. I rarely get chance to be at the front because access platforms are usually towards the back of the room. But there was no specific access platform or access seating at this show, so I saw my chance to get a front row spot and took it! I also noticed that there was an accessible bathroom (with radar key access) which was well kept and very usable. You might not spot it immediately because I believe that side of the room (where the accessible toilet is) has a curtain across it during the actual gig, but the bathroom is still accessible if necessary.

With absolutely ZERO accessibility worries or issues, I could just chill out and dance, get a beer in between acts, and then head back to the dance floor. Once the gig was over, we just had to ask someone to reopen the accessible side entrance.

This has been a short review, but that’s just the way I like them. Because short and sweet means it was accessible. And Castle and Falcon was, without a doubt, the easiest and most accessible I’ve ever attended.

Before I leave you, I need to say something about the actual gig. It was just the most chilled vibe and felt like I could entirely be myself and enjoy the gig without worrying what people were thinking (something I often wonder about on the occasions that I’m with the general crowd at gigs and not on a separate platform). I was hoping to make another Beans on Toast gig (the upcoming show in Bilston) which shows the impact that the show made on me. However, metro works and general travel issues means no Bilston gig for me, curse you metro!

Castle and Falcon, thank you for an easy and accessible gig experience as a wheelchair user, just how it should be. I WILL be back!

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Camden Electric Ballroom Wheelchair Accessibility Review

A view from the front wheelchair access platform at Camden Electric Ballroom, London. The stage (illuminated by blue lights) is visible with a drum kit and amplifiers on it. The words "Holding Absence" are just about visible on a backdrop behind the drum kit.
Image Description: A view from the front wheelchair access platform at Camden Electric Ballroom, London. The stage (illuminated by blue lights) is visible with a drum kit and amplifiers on it. The words "Holding Absence" are just about visible on a backdrop behind the drum kit.

Finally back with another venue access review. This time Holding Absence at Camden Electric Ballroom back in November. You’ll remember that my last blog post was a review of O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham (also for Holding Absence), and in that post I said that wasn’t my last show. Well here (extremely belatedly) the access review for my Holding Absence tour round 2!

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)

Ticket Buying

The ticket buying process for this one was a little different than usual. Some lovely soul on Solo Armada (an online group for solo gig goers that I’m part of) posted that they were giving away a general admission ticket to the show. I enquired as to whether there would be any way to convert it to an accessible ticket so I could go. This ANGEL refunded their original ticket and purchased an access one instead just so I could go! So, with ticket sorted, I had just 2 days to book travel and a hotel.

Travel

Travel was also pretty simple. I traveled with West Midlands Trains on the way there and Avanti on the return and both trains were a direct trip from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. I booked tickets through Trainline and then the assistance through the relatively new Passenger Assistance app. I turned up to New Street around 20 minutes before my train as suggested and was then escorted to the train by staff. Once I arrived in London it was about a 15 minute walk to my hotel.

Experience & Seating

I SAY hotel, it was technically a hostel. Specifically Generator London hostel near Euston. I try not to use hostels but with the last minute nature of the trip I was low on accessible option. So I rang around a few places and Generator said I could just book a room the standard way and then send them a message to get the booking moved to an accessible dorm, so that’s what I did. When I arrived I noticed that I’d have to go down a cobbled street to get to the entrance, which is always fun for the wheelchair user spine. I then had to wheel all the way around the car park section to the entrance as there was no drop kerb to allow me to cut across to the entrance side of the pavement. Once I made it to the entrance section, I was greeted by a large staircase, LUCKILY I saw a sign for an accessible entrance which I followed around and then pressed the intercom to be buzzed in.

Once inside, I was greeted by a stairlift to take me down a few steps, the old and slow kind of stairlift that I see in my nightmares. The nightmares were accurate, because I was told the stairlift was being dodgy, only to board it and find it out was faulty and wouldn’t actually work!

Faulty stairlift escaped, staff took me on a short walk around to the “alternative” accessible entrance. This was behind a gate which meant I’d have to be buzzed in every time I entered, I then wheeled through another car park/delivery point and then through some double doors into the laundry storage room, before going along a corridor and up in the lift to check in. This made me wonder why the “alternative” accessible entrance wasn’t just the outright accessible entrance. I know some people feel a bit odd about entering via car parks and everything, but this entrance was way more accessible than the dodgy stairlift one.

December 2022 Update: Since my last visit, the hostel has stopped using the dodgy stairlift and now accessible entrance/exit from that door solely relies on the sloped path that always ran underneath the stairlift. HOWEVER, I would still recommend using the alternative accessible entrance through the back gate, as this new sloped path can still be a little overly steep on the descent, at least for my liking.

All checked in, I was shown down to my room (a standard dorm room with me in a low bunk but in the basement level below the check in level which meant no lift to contend with). The accessible bathroom was also pointed out to me and was just a few doors down from my room.

December 2022 Update: I’m glad I WAS also in the basement for my latest visit (10th December 2022) as the lift broke on my last day. Just as I was about to head up to reception to return my room key. Luckily, I was still in the basement and was able to hand my key to a staff member and just leave via the exits located on that level. I hate to think what the other solution would have been if I was on another level. It seemed like there was just that one lift so I reckon I would have just been stranded if I was on a different level. Which obviously isn’t the best solution and certainly doesn’t seem great in terms of fire safety.

However, when I’d dropped my bags in the room and went to use the bathroom, I discovered that the toilet wasn’t in the accessible bathroom/shower room that had been pointed out to me (the pipe work was there, the toilet just…wasn’t) It took 3 staff members to figure out that the toilet had been moved to a separate, poorly signposted segment. And to add to the issue, I got into the toilet to find there was no soap dispenser in the holder (great news in the current COVID situation). Luckily, thanks to being ambulatory and using bed frames as a mobility aid, I was able to access the sink in the dorm room, something staff didn’t think would be accessible to me. So, bags dropped off, I headed for the venue.

It was about a 30-minute walk from hostel to venue (I did attempt to catch a bus, but the driver just ignored me because…London, and I wasn’t about to hang about in the rain and wait on that happening again, so 30-minute roll it was). I probably sound a bit blasé about being ignored by the bus driver, because obviously it’s a shit thing have happen. But frankly, as a wheelchair user, being ignored by bus drivers happens so often in London that my reaction just becomes: “oh this again? Right, onto plan B”. Plan B being a 30-minute wheel in the rain.

When I arrived at the venue, I pulled up to the side of the main entrance doors and made myself known to staff. After a little while, they came to check our COVID passes and tickets and then a staff member led us on a fairly significant walk to the accessible back entrance. Once there it was through a large gate, across a little car park, up a ramp and into the venue. Since I’d entered the venue straight onto a platform with stairs down to the main standing area, I assumed we were just dropping off some other attendees who were heading down to the standing area and then we’d out again to somewhere else for my seat.

Nope, turns out this platform with stairs down and the only exit being out of the venue WAS my seat. No independent access to merch or bar but I DID get a personal dance floor, silver linings to everything eh. Seriously though, this lack of independent access to anything felt really quite isolating (obviously security could get me water or whatever)

December 2022 Update: Turns out that HURRAH there is access to an accessible toilet during gigs at Electric Ballroom. But getting to it is a bit of a faff and not something I would do unless absolutely 1000% necessary. I had to exit the platform I was on, leave the venue, go back through the big gates I’d come in and back along the street to a more hidden third entrance down an alleyway. This seemed like it led into the opposite side of the venue, and then there was a fairly basic accessible toilet off to one side. Whilst it’s nice to know there is a toilet I can use for future knowledge; I have a couple issues with this. 1. The fact I had to essentially leave the show entirely in order to just essentially go to the other side of the room seems quite excessive and long (and also meant missing out on part of the show). At the same time, I am aware that there might be issues in terms of space and venue layout that make paving a way TO the accessible toilet difficult. The second issue is that I don’t want to hype this up too much because I don’t want to seem like I’m showering praise and giving too many gold stars to venues for having a place where I, a paying attendee, can piss. Because being able to go somewhere, especially somewhere you’ll be for an extended period like a gig, should be a basic expected thing, not hailed as some ultra-accessibility marvel.

The isolating platform situation meant I was even more grateful when fellow attendees from Solo Armada decided to pop up between bands and say hello, but even that was somewhat soured. I must preface this by explaining that there was a member of security basically stood with me on the platform all night, which didn’t feel entirely necessary (I’m pretty physically incapable of causing trouble at a gig and a tiny human, and also sassy and gobby enough to talk anyone who’s giving ME trouble into shutting up and leaving me alone, but maybe there is some security rule I don’t understand). Anyway, my friends came up to say hello and security almost immediately said “you’re not supposed to be up here”. This itself felt a little unnecessary as we weren’t doing anything other than chatting and my friends would have headed back to the main floor before the next band anyway. Needless to say (and sadly) this interaction with security meant my friends immediately headed back to the main floor to avoid getting themselves in any trouble. Once the gig was finished, I had to wait for the security (who by this point, annoyingly enough, had left my personal platform) to help me with the exit doors because trying to open both doors of a double fire door and drive a wheelchair requires about 6 hands, and I am a human, not an octopus. Venue exited. I made my way back through the big gate and out onto the street to begin the 30 minute walk back to the hostel.

Before I leave you, just a quick word on the actual show, and on Holding Absence in particular. There are few bands/artists where I would consider doing multiple dates on a tour. Even fewer that I’d organise a trip to London on 2 days notice to see. But the energy at their gigs is something else. This was only my second time seeing them live (the first being the other access review I mentioned) but I could live off the energy of gigs like that forever. Gigs like that fuel my soul. Go see them live I beg you, you’ll probably see me there. Should I just do the whole tour next time? I think I’ll do the whole tour next time.

I hope this access review of Generator London and Camden Electric Ballroom was insightful.

Stay Invincible!
Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Birmingham O2 Institute2 Accessibility Review 

Photo of Holding Absence performing at the Scala in London, taken from the crowd. Frontman Lucas Woodland, a young man with blonde hair in a black t shirt and tattoos on his arms looks out over the audience with his left arms raised in a fist. The crowd is lit with warm green lights. Several fans are on shoulders, elevated above the audience singing along to the band’s song ‘Wilt’.
Photo Credit: Dev Place Photos, Image Description: Photo of Holding Absence performing at the Scala in London, taken from the crowd. Frontman Lucas Woodland, a young man with blonde hair in a black t shirt and tattoos on his arms looks out over the audience with his left arms raised in a fist. The crowd is lit with warm green lights. Several fans are on shoulders, elevated above the audience singing along to the band’s song ‘Wilt’.

Back with another venue accessibility review! This time, O2 Institute2 in Birmingham. 

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!) 

Ticket Buying 

Once again, I was not the one that actually bought these tickets because once again it was part of birthday plans from my best mate Dev (she bought us tickets to Bring Me The Horizon in Birmingham for my 2020 birthday present and this was part of the 2021 celebrations). What can I say? I have the best pals. It was a case of buying one general admission ticket and then emailing the venue with the order number to request a space on the accessible platform and a carer ticket. I was pretty sure they’d probably have my disability “proof” on file since I’m often at venues in the city and I believe the O2 venues are all linked in some way (although I could be wrong) but I had the proof ready to send if necessary. 

Travel 

Travel wise, there wasn’t actually much travelling to do once Dev was in Birmingham. Since I live fairly close to the venue, it was just a 30 minute or so walk into Digbeth, through some of the works going on in the area. 

Experience & Seating 

On arrival at the venue, it was clear there was already a pretty decent queue, probably since (as far as I’m aware) there were shows in all 3 of the Institute rooms that night, so the queue wasn’t just our gig. There was also fencing cutting off half the width of the pavement (those works I mentioned earlier). Once we were in the queue our tickets and COVID passes were checked. We were then directed past the main entrance to the accessible entrance which had a ramp. I did get a little stuck on this ramp and have to be helped in, but I’m not sure if it was an issue with my approach or the actual ramp/entrance. Once in the building, we walked along a short hallway and turned into the main foyer where everyone else was entering. The Institute2 is on the entrance level, so we headed through a door and into the venue. 

When we entered the venue, I noticed that both merch and bar were on the main floor, down a set of stairs from the access platform, so Dev headed down to grab merch and water. I also noticed that there was a metal barrier in front of us and closer than the actual permanent platform. Given that I wanted to be as close as possible, we decided to shift the metal barrier out of the way and keep drinks on the shelf at the back of the platform to prevent any possible spills on important electrical equipment. 

After a little while, a member of security came and pulled us back from the main barrier and told us we’d have to stay where we were told to be (about mid platform) or the metal barrier would go back in. They said it was something to do with not spilling drinks on the electrical equipment below us. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intention but like, we already HAD a plan to have the metal barrier out of the way, be at the platform barrier AND keep the equipment unharmed? Needless to say, we moved back to the platform barrier later on and no one else said anything, so I think us moving the metal barrier was actually a non-issue. 

In terms of the actual show: As Everything Unfolds, Yours Truly and Holding Absence were all AMAZING. I’ll admit I hadn’t really heard any of these bands when Dev suggested the gig (I took the “it’s my birthday, it’s in Brum, fuck it why not?” approach) but I thoroughly enjoyed the show. So much so that, when Dev asked my thoughts on the show, my response was “fancy a road trip to Sheffield tomorrow [for the next show of tour]? 

We didn’t make it to Sheffield because they didn’t have any space left on the access platform, but (SPOILER) I did make it to another show on this tour and there WILL be another access review from this tour. 

Overall, FANTASTIC show and a fairly accessible venue (other than getting stuck on the way through the door and the minor barrier issue with security) .

Stay Invincible! 

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels) 

Utilita Arena Birmingham Wheelchair Accessibility Review

Emma, a young woman with brunette hair and glasses, is sat in her wheelchair at the Utilita Arena Birmingham smiling broadly and throwing the "metal horns" hand signal at the camera. She is wearing a red leather jacket, black jeans, black Bring Me The Horizon band t shirt and a red face covering around her neck.
Image Description: Emma, a young woman with brunette hair and glasses, is sat in her wheelchair at the Utilita Arena Birmingham smiling broadly and throwing the "metal horns" hand signal at the camera. She is wearing a red leather jacket, black jeans, black Bring Me The Horizon band t shirt and a red face covering around her neck.

Back in September, I went to my first gig since live music started up again after the lockdowns. I saw Bring Me The Horizon at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham with my best mate Dev. This was a new venue to me. And you know that means just one thing: A NEW ACCESSIBILITY REVIEW! With that said, let’s get started.

(Disclaimer: I’m aware “accessibility” means different things to different people, as I said before, these are MY views on my experience of accessibility at this venue as an electric wheelchair user, I obviously can’t speak for others experiences but feel free to add your experiences in the comments!)

Ticket Buying
I wasn’t the one buying these particular tickets as Dev actually bought them as my birthday present and left a note in my card to say we were going. Once I knew we were going, Dev had to ask me for my “Access Card” number or other form of disability “proof”. I suppose this was to prove I ACTUALLY needed the wheelchair access seating she had booked for us. Having to prove these things will always feel odd to me but here we are. Then, a couple of weeks before the gig, Dev realised she still hadn’t received our e tickets. THEN she realised never actually received the email confirmation of booking and had just been given a reference number over the phone. After yet more hours spent on the phone to TicketFactory (who I believe handle all access seating for the venue) we FINALLY had our tickets and could actually head
to the gig.

Travel
In terms of travel, once Dev was in Birmingham there wasn’t really much travelling to do as the venue is only a short walk from my house. We did stop by a canal side pub (and a couple of other bars) because, you know, pre gig beverages and all.

Experience & Seating
Soon enough we made our way to the gig, and this is where most of the issues occurred. I must stress none of this was to do with the actual gig itself (Nova Twins, You Me At Six and Bring Me The Horizon were all brilliant and my perfect reintroduction to live music) and everything to do with the venue. First off, it was very difficult to cross the bridge in order to get to the venue as there were so many people. It was these same people we were walking against in order to follow the signage to the “accessible” entrance. I used quotation marks for a reason, because the accessible entrance wasn’t really that accessible. We had to walk all the way down a steep path with a questionable drop kerb at the end, before walking THROUGH a cark park, cutting a left turn THROUGH the queue and then standing outside a door in a dark unlit section of said carpark. Sounds dodgy right? Once we were inside, we underwent the security/bag check and then were sent up to the main level in a lift. There was only one person to direct people from the lift round to their accessible seating block (hold onto that piece of information, it will be become important again later). One good thing I did spot is that the arena has a Changing Places toilet (this is a bigger accessible toilet with additional equipment such as a hoist for those who need it). We did walk past merch on the way to our seats but took one look at the queue and Dev decided she’d come back for us during one of the support acts instead. We were then led to our seats. I would say pretty good seats overall, on an accessible section of the arena with a seated height barrier, so I could actually see without having to fuss too much. The accessible seating was actually positioned in between two sets of standard tiered seating (with some tiered seating below us and some above) so I really felt in with the crowd rather than as though I was on some separate platform away from crowd atmosphere. It seemed like the accessible seating went all the way around that level of the venue as well which I was pleasantly surprised by as it actually looked like a decent amount of accessible seating.

*Little update on this from Royal Blood’s show at Utilita end of March 2022: It turns out there is an alternative accessible to the one I described above. THAT entrance was entrance G (turning right outside the Costa as you head over to the bridge towards the arena). There is also an entrance C which I used for the Royal Blood gig. You turn left as you come over the bridge and should see a giant Lego giraffe around the entrance. This is a flat accessible entrance with no car park to drive through. Once you’re through security you just take a lift up to arena level. The only thing I would say here is the door that leads from arena level to the lift is different than the general exit door for this entrance, and you can easily go through the wrong door if you’re following the crowd on the way out and then have to fight back through the crowd to get to the lift exit door. Take a tip from the girl who learned this the hard way.

View of the stage at Utilita Arena Birmingham from wheelchair seating block 4
Image Description: View of the stage at Utilita Arena Birmingham from wheelchair seating block 4

When it came time for Dev to pop out and get merch, she realised there was STILL a massive line at both sides of the merch stand (we figured that it would be quieter once the gig had actually started). When she FINALLY made it to the front, my contactless wouldn’t work. So, she had to have the merch staff put the shirt I wanted aside whilst she came to get me so I could use my pin. Merch purchased, we headed back into the gig.

The gig, I must say, was excellent. Nova Twins, You Me At Six and Bring Me The Horizon all absolutely brilliant. They say you don’t know how much you miss something and how much you need it until it’s gone. Well, this gig certainly showed me how much I missed and needed live music. When I had finished cathartically screaming every lyric to every song and the gig was over, it was time to make our exit. This is where things get “interesting”. We figured that there couldn’t POSSIBLY be just that one accessible entrance we had entered through. Having drawn that conclusion, we decided to make a quick dive out of the nearest exit opposite our seating block.

Reader, our earlier conclusion was wrong. Once we made our exit, we soon realised that the only way down from the arena to street level the WHOLE WAY AROUND was stairs. Realising our mistake, Dev went to speak to some security on the door to ask that we be let back in or directed around to another exit so that I, obviously a wheelchair user, could accessibly exit the building. The security guard heard what Dev was asking and pointed down the stairs (don’t ask me how he thought the stairs and wheelchair was going to go, I must be missing the levitation button on my wheelchair). After about 10 minutes of arguing that the stairs weren’t an option, I decided to just head back inside to see if the staff inside would be more helpful, since re-entering the building seemed our only option for an accessible exit. Once back inside I managed to speak to a staff member who told me we would have to fight against the crowd to head back to the same lift and entrance we’d entered through. Once we made it back to the lift, I realised that the same person was stationed there as when we entered, which meant it made sense why we’d struggled to exit as there was no one to tell us this was the ONE accessible entrance/ exit. This also meant we had to go down the same lift, through the same dodgy car park and up the same dodgy drop kerb to exit. Then it was over many bridges (which had weird speedbumps in the middle for some reason) and THROUGH a pub (due to lack of drop kerb) to get back onto the canal path to head home.

Overall, thoroughly excellent gig with good accessible seating and the first time I’ve ever seen a Changing Places toilet a gig. However, there is still much improvement to be made to the ticket buying process and accessible entry/exit system (in that having one accessible entry/exit point in a venue that size really ISN’T a system.)

Stay Invincible!
Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels