Why I’m Forever Grateful to Frank Turner and His Crew

Photo Credit: Ben Morse

­Everyone has that “remember that time I met (xyz celeb/famous person)” story, right? Well here’s the full glorious story of the that time I met Frank Turner (yes this is the explanation of THAT photo that is the lock screen/background of everything I own forever).

So, let’s begin at the beginning (yes that’s a lyrical reference, shush). It all started on Twitter, the way all good things do, with me lamenting the fact that Frank’s show at Alexandra Palace was not sold out when I’d expected it to be and yet I couldn’t go anyway because I had a super early lecture the next morning. Frank saw this and well, chaos ensued that ended in me basically being told by several fans on Twitter “skip the lecture you’re only a fresher you’ll make it up you can’t miss this” (fair point well made). But there was still the issue of the long travel to and from the venue, until a fellow fan offered to give us a lift there (yep, they offered to give a stranger on the internet a lift just to make sure I could get to the show #FrankFamily). AND THEN Frank himself told me to send him over an email. The email was sent, despite me not really knowing why I was sending it, turns out Frank was offering to sort out a cab, so I could safely get home from the show!  So, I was all out of reasons NOT to go!

And thus, tickets were purchased, and I asked Nikki to join me (yes editor Nikki) and she of course accepted.

Around a week or so later I got another email from Frank. This time offering a meet & greet & picture as part of the Random Acts of Kindness thing that was happening around the release of the Positive Song For Negative People album and of course I was never going to turn down a chance to meet someone I idolised (and still do) contact details were also exchanged with Frank’s tour manager Tre so we could make sure this whole thing went down without a hitch.

And then, through no fault of anybody’s, our ride to the show had to drop out just the day before, but Nikki and our friend Bella found a solution (i.e. Bella gave us a lift in her car because she’s an actual angel).

We get to the day of the show, we somehow make it around the North Circular in Bella’s tiny car and she drops us off in the car park. Nikki’s poor legs were then destroyed having to push me up the giant hill between the car park and the venue, to the point where another woman helped us up the hill. #FrankFamily again.

So, we caught the end of Will Varley’s set. And then I looked at my phone in between acts and saw a text from Tre asking if we’d got in ok and where we were sat…cue minor “holy hell this is actually real” moment.

A little while later, we were collected from the disabled platform and taken down the ramp towards backstage. And all of a sudden, a curtain was pulled back and…there was Frank! And at that point I sort of forgot speaking was possible and just sat there thinking “HOLY HELL THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING”.

Nikki similarly lost her mind and we both forgot I’d actually brought a cd with me to potentially get signed. Small things to forget when such a huge moment is happening.

After hugs, a quick chat about a festival that used to be in Uxbridge (I think?) and a picture of the 3 of us, Frank had to rush back to do the show.

After the meeting, we headed back to the disabled platform to watch the show and I cried out of pure disbelief at what had just happened (you think I’m joking, I genuinely cried for a good half of the Skinny Listers’ set).

After singing along to every single word of every single song and dancing until I felt like I was going to fall apart, the show was somehow over, and we waited for someone to come and get us to take us to the prebooked cab home. But not before security tried to take us out of the side door with everyone else and were told “they’re with the band” (I’ve always wanted to be “with the band”!)

We were well looked after and felt like VIPs all night, and that was appreciated more than you can imagine. or VIGs (Very Important Ghosts) as Nikki likes to say, as the colour drained from our faces and we looked like ghosts when we met Frank (I thought I was playing it cool but apparently not!).

This was one of those experiences that made me realise anything is possible if people are willing to help you make it work, one of those things that sparked the #InvincibleWoman within me. I’d heard about the #FrankFamily, how it’s more than a fanbase, how once you’re in you never really leave no matter how many shows you can’t get to, how you’ll make friends that you’ll never lose. that was exactly what I needed given that the show was one of my first major events living in London, or away from home at all. And that’s exactly what I got, for that I’m forever grateful. #FrankFamily

I’ve seen Frank since in Kingston, but I’ll never forget that first show or the lengths he and the rest of the crew went to give me a night I’ll talk about forever.

Since that show, I’ve made a promise to myself that I will go to every show I possibly can, because that’s the only thankyou I can give that seems to go anywhere close to how many thankyous I need to give. On that note, if anyone’s at the Saturday of Lost Evenings Festival (12th May) feel free to say hey!

Also, for those wondering, here’s a 2-and-a-half-year update on that meet & greet picture (minus Nikki because she couldn’t make the signing) and that elusive signature since I forgot to get it at Alexandra Palace.

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

ANOTHER O2 Arena London Wheelchair Accessibility Review (For UFC Fight Night London 2018)

I know I’ve reviewed The O2 Arena before but this one specifically focuses on my experience at UFC Fight Night London 2018, which was so different to all my previous experiences. As usual, I’ll be splitting it into the ticket buying process, the journey to/from venue and seating/general experience at the event.

In terms of the ticket buying process, it was no different than my other O2 Arena experiences, other than the fact I got these tickets on presale rather than general sale.

Travel was way more complex due to Tube upgrades meaning Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines both didn’t run from Uxbridge. Getting there involved taking the U3 bus to Heathrow Central, then the Piccadilly line from Heathrow to Green Park and THEN the Jubilee line to North Greenwich. The return journey involved getting the Jubilee line to Bond Street where there were “access issues” to put it politely (dragging a powered wheelchair off a tube train to avoid being crushed by the doors is no mean feat , add to that the pathetic apology I received on the night and post complaint about the access issues and you have a a pretty standard Tube trip in a wheelchair. These are issues I often face as a wheelchair user on the Tube. There was then a loooooooooooong trip on the N207 back to Uxbridge (Night buses on St Patrick’s Day also no fun!)

The experience & seating was where I noticed the most difference. We had a much poorer view from W108 as opposed to W101 where I’ve been every other time. We were placed right at the back of the venue and were not guided or directed to our seats or even to the lift to get to our seats. Neither were we directed out towards the lift to exit when the event ended, (even though it was PRETTY obvious we were struggling to make it through the droves of people who were also trying to exit), despite having asked multiple staff about the location of said lift. Out of sight, out of mind I guess if you’re a disabled guest with a seat at the back of the venue? And to top it off, we were almost crushed trying to get back into North Greenwich station after the event. (For a tube station right next to a major venue, crowd control measures at North Greenwich don’t really seem to exist, and neither does the decency of fellow fans to not crush me as they try to re-enter the station. Lack of crowd control lead to the access issues at Bond Street that I described above

The joys of just trying to see some MMA action as a disabled fan! I’m genuinely a little disappointed in you, O2 Arena… I always hype you up as a great venue for access and customer service as a disabled guest, and this time you let me down.

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

Lyric Hammersmith Wheelchair Accessibility Review

Accessibility Review Time! This one’s about the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in well, Hammersmith. I’ll be splitting it into the ticket buying process, the journey to/from venue and seating/general experience at the event.

(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!)

Now, I recently went to the Lyric with my friends Aoife & Ellie (yes, the girls from my earlier Sicily travel blog) to see Things I Know To Be True (which I highly recommend you go see if it’s being performed at a theatre near you at any point, it was mind blowing and made me remember how good theatre can be!). Here’s how the whole experience was:

In terms of ticket buying, it’s just the standard accessible ticket line in order to be able to purchase a wheelchair space ticket along with a carer and another standard ticket. They made sure to find us a spot to seat all 3 of us together which was a welcome surprise because usually venues will only seat the disabled person and carer in the wheelchair areas and then other party members have to sit elsewhere (because disabled people only have that 1 friend right?)

The travel is also really rather simple, it’s just a bus to the Uxbridge station and then the Piccadilly line to Hammersmith for me (and then making sure you walk out of the easiest exit from Hammersmith station to head to the Lyric, I had my friend and Hammersmith local Jess to help me out with that one!)

With regard to seating and experience, we were in the stalls on the ground floor right at the back which the girls, who have been to the theatre a lot more than me, assured me was basically the best view in the house so yay disability perks! Staff were also great constantly guiding us on where to go which I found to be very helpful as I much prefer saying “oh yeah we’ve just been told where to go by xyz person” rather than consistently having to ASK where we need to go. The one thing I would say is they could do with a lowered section to the bar where the water is, so I can get my own water rather than having to rely on someone else to get it for me. However, the automated exit/entrance door was greatly appreciated as it made everyone’s lives and I thought it was particularly nice of the staff to wait for us to leave (yay for being the last out as we have to go in the complete opposite direction to everyone for an accessible exit) before leaving themselves.

So, thanks to everyone at the Lyric Hammersmith for making it super easy for me to enjoy a night at the theatre with my gals!

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

A Thankyou to Bristol Bierkeller

Photo Credit: DevPlacePhotos

I know this post will be released outside of my normal schedule but I‘ve been meaning to write this one for a while, and with the immediate closure of the Bristol Bierkeller being announced recently (ish), now seems like the best time.

This is less of an accessibility review and more of a thank you. I may have only been to the Bierkeller once (for Royal Blood way back in 2014) but it left an immediate impression on me for how they dealt with accessibility and my needs.

So thankyou for making sure I could get tickets even when ‘disabled access’ tickets weren’t really possible for this venue (extra shout out to my stepdad Col for picking up tickets for the gig in the first place!).

Thankyou for not turning me down when you heard I was in a wheelchair and needed wheelchair access to the venue, even though the venue had stairs and wasn’t particularly considered ‘accessible’

Thank you for putting me and my friend side of stage “because that’s just what we do”. You made a young girl’s night with that one!

Thankyou for letting me sit with the rest of the crowd for the opening songs of Royal Blood’s set and not freaking out that I’d break if I sat with the “normal” crowd (like I thought was going to happen) (also special kudos to Dev for getting me out and sat on one of tables #bestgigbuddy)

And overall, Bristol Bierkeller, thankyou for helping me enjoy a gig like everyone else and (for this one time) forget how my disability has to alter my gig experience. More venues should take your approach to making the ‘inaccessible’ accessible and how there’s a way around pretty much anything.

Thankyou Bristol Bierkeller, you’ll be sorely missed

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

The Small Barriers That Mean Inaccessibility as a Wheelchair User

Invincible or Phenomenal, you decide. Photo Credit to Nikki Barker, Instagram: http://bit.ly/2FwsbAS

This is an accessibility review with a difference. It’s not a review of a specific venue as such, but more of an accessibility review of Uxbridge, my local town. This is sort of the story of a trip for coffee (those who know me know I looooooooooooooove my coffee). Now, on the face of it, this doesn’t sound like a blog-worthy trip, but I really believe this shows that even the simplest of pleasures require an #InvincibleWomanOnWheels.

Path Obstructions

Nikki (editor extraordinaire and general goddess) and I hadn’t even officially made it off campus grounds when we encountered our first problem. Someone had crashed into and bent the railings on the path out of campus which made the pavements even skinnier than usual and led to single file walking and very slow driving on my part to make sure the chair didn’t get caught on anything. I understand people crashing into the railings can’t be helped, but maybe if the paths were a little wider this wouldn’t be such an issue. (hint: widen the paths!).

Then came the actual worst part of any walk down any road ever. Rubbish bags or bins on the pavement. I understand that bins need to be left somewhere for bin men to collect them, but can we leave them somewhere it doesn’t obstruct the pavement? Because otherwise, one of us has to move it, and neither of us particularly wants to, because well, touching another person’s rubbish is just kind of gross. But the alternative is me running over, and quite likely splitting, the rubbish bag, and not only is that equally as gross but it’s probably going to annoy the bin men when they have to pick up rubbish strewn across the pavement.

Drop Kerbs

Then we came to what I refer to as partial drop kerbs. The kind where part of the kerb can be considered a drop kerb and part of it really, really, REALLY cannot be considered a drop kerb. This means driving my chair at a specific angle in order to be able to drop down the kerb safely. Want to make a drop kerb? Make a COMPLETE drop kerb, or don’t make a drop kerb at all. This partial drop kerb business is unhelpful and likely causes more issues than it solves.

The amount of times I had to stop the conversation to ask or think about where the nearest drop kerb was was annoying. I don’t want to HAVE to stop a conversation part way through just to be able to find a drop kerb, but they’re that lacking that sometimes stopping the conversation is my only option. So, how about we make drop kerbs the norm for every kerb? It’ll have no impact on those who don’t NEED drop kerbs and make a big difference to those who do.

Speaking of drop kerbs, a lack of them tends to lead to me driving on the road until I can find a safe place to get back on the pavement. As you can imagine, this is super dangerous, because no matter how close I can stick to the kerb, I’ll still run the risk of facing a car and getting hit. This obviously isn’t ideal and, as I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, despite the fact my wheelchair seems road legal, I’ll always lose a battle of wheelchair vs car!

Automatic Doors

Hallelujah we finally made it into the local Starbucks, AAAAAAANNNNNND it has an automatic door. EXCEPT the door is only automated on one side (the outside to be specific) AND even the button to automatically open the door from the outside doesn’t work. So, the automatic is basically pointless. This isn’t a tick box exercise. Just having accommodations like automatic doors isn’t enough, those accommodations have to actually work and be of use to the people who need them!

Card Machines

We finally chose our coffee and snacks and headed to the till to pay. There was a card machine on an extendable cable, super helpful right? Except those cables are never long enough for wheelchair users like me, who are also short, to be able to reach. Card machines likely have to be wireless or there is no difference in my ability to use them. This seems to be another instance of companies seeing accommodations as a tick box exercise where just having accommodations like card machines on cables, is good enough rather than making sure that accommodations are useful to those who need them.

Staff

To end on a good note, the staff offering to bring our coffees to the table for us, without me having to ask them to, was a welcome surprise. Thinking about customers’ needs, such as the fact I don’t enough hands to carry a tray of goods and drive my chair at the same time, without them mentioned, is always a win in my book and happens a lot less often than it should.

I hope this post shows how even the smallest accessibility issues can turn simple pleasures into trips requiring an #invinciblewomanonwheels, although I do have to give a super shout out to the actual coffee shop staff who were always super helpful and made up for building/trip accessibility issues!

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

KOKO Camden Wheelchair Accessibility Review

Another accessibility review, this one is about KOKO in Camden. I’ll be splitting it into the ticket buying process, the journey to/from venue and seating/general experience at the event.

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

Buying tickets was pretty simple, but it was also probably different from even your usual disabled access ticket buying situation for this venue, that’s because this was the venue where I saw Corey Taylor solo on his “You’re Making Me Hate You book tour. So, I was able to book my ticket through the O2 priority website (literally the only reason my phone contract is with O2!) like everyone else. I then emailed KOKO with what show I’d booked for and what access accommodations I’d require, for me that’s a carer ticket on their 2 for 1 carer ticket system and access to some kind of disabled access viewing platform (they offer wheelchairs that you can hire I believe, but I have my own snazzy wheels so that was not needed for me). The manager of KOKO then response confirming that my accommodations were in place and that his response email counted as the carer ticket

Getting to the venue was also wonderfully simple, we took a cab to Uxbridge Station followed by the Metropolitan line from Uxbridge (where, as per every single time, a ramp is  required) to Kings Cross Station (which is completely step free). We then took as bus to near Mornington Crescent Station then a short walk to the actual venue

In terms of getting seated and general gig experience, I made myself known to the management/ security who then escorted us inside the venue and up to the viewing platform and made sure we were comfortable and had a good view. I’m also told they were constantly watching and checking on us to make sure we were comfortable throughout the gig, not that I ever looked away from the stage BECAUSE COREY TAYLOR (those of you who know me personally will know Corey Taylor is basically my favourite musician in the universe and this gig made my millennium)

And that’s basically it! Oh, how I love a short accessibility review because that means very few access issues! I find it funny how small venues with less than 1500 capacity (aka KOKO) can present fewer access issues than larger 10,000 standing venues (*cough* Alexandra Palace *cough*)

Kudos to KOKO for making it as easy as possible for me to be the #invinciblewomanonwheels and shout out to Corey Taylor for making the gig I’ve been waiting years for totally worth the wait!

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

Alexandra Palace Wheelchair Accessibility Review

Photo Credit: Dev Place Photos

Time for my second venue accessibility review, this one, as the title suggests, is about Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill. I’ll be splitting it into the ticket buying process, the journey to/from venue and seating/general experience at the event.

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

Now, with the number of times I’ve visited Alexandra Palace for events (always concerts), my experience as a disabled concert goer at this venue seems to get worse and worse every time, to the point that, from now on, I will travel to other cities for concerts if Alexandra Palace is the London venue, and here I’ll explain why.

Ticket Buying

Alexandra Palace has probably the easiest ticket buying system of all the venues I’ve been to. You can buy disabled and carer tickets for the disabled platform online, just the same as a standard ticket, rather than through a dedicated accessible phone line and while this seems like a small thing, it’s nice to be able to order my tickets like everyone else does. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the best part of Alexandra Palace as far as disabled gig goer experience is concerned.

Travel by Car

Travelling to and from the venue is an experience in itself, and, since I travelled there by both car and public transport, I’ll give you both experiences. While car journeys with Dev are always fun, this particular one was a journey and a half, firstly, the North Circular is a pain in the backside to travel on, but that’s a problem for everyone who drives to the venue and I guess unless you move the entire venue there’s not really much that can be done. There also seemed to be very little signage directing towards the venue for such a large venue (again not sure if that’s something the actual venue can change or whether it’s a local area problem) AND THEN, when we actually got to the venue, we were told there was no Blue Badge disabled parking in the car park right next to the venue (even though the sign at the car park entrance said there was) THEN we were almost waved away from the other Blue Badge parking area because the stewards didn’t think I was disabled (I was sat in the front seat of Dev’s car and my manual wheelchair was VISIBLE in the boot), the only way to exit that car was by walking down a road ( you know, like an actual road that cars drive on!) or by using stairs (am I the only one that sees the glaring irony in having stairs in the “wheelchair accessible” car park? Stairs and chairs don’t mix).

Travel by Public Transport

The public transport journey there is looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. For me it means getting the Metropolitan line from Uxbridge (where a ramp is required for me to board) to Kings Cross and then the Piccadilly line from Kings Cross to Caledonian Road (which really needs a ramp to safely disembark a wheelchair from the carriage but apparently doesn’t have one) THEN 2 buses and a 20-minute walk to the actual venue. The return journey is just as loooooong back, for me it’s a bus to Finsbury Park Station, a bus to Euston Station, a walk to Euston Square Station and then the last Metropolitan line train back to Uxbridge. Annnnnnnnnnnnnd that’s finally it for the accessible public transport travel to the venue, I did not realise how complicated those trips were until I wrote it down!

Seating and Experience

And now here’s the FUN bit (note the sarcasm here this, the seating and experience as a disabled gig goer was NOT fun) now that’s nothing against the music that was actually happening on stage (shout out to Enter Shikari for putting on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen) just an issue with stewards and handling of the event from my view as a disabled gig goer. Firstly, we had to walk through the guestlist queue as there was no accessible way to access the standard ticket queues (cue feeling super awkward standing in a queue I wasn’t supposed to be in).

Our tickets were then taken in exchange for wristbands for the disabled platform (completely fair and fine) but then weren’t returned to us at the end of the night despite us being told they would be, as the self-confessed nerdy girl who likes to put her gig/convention/event tickets in a scrapbook, that put a bit of a dampener on the night.

Someone also climbed on the disabled access platform railings where we sat, and security did the sum total of NOTHING until Dev literally pulled the guy off the railings BY HERSELF, there are 2 problems here: 1. Dear railings climber dude, you are, to put it EXTREMELY politely, a complete idiot and I SINCERELY thankyou for partially ruining my view of Shikari! And 2. My best friend shouldn’t have to be doing security’s job for them, or does crowd control not include dragging idiots off climbing the disabled platform railings?! Please explain because I am rather confused.

So, the gig finishes up and I decide a bathroom trip before we set off trying to get through London traffic is probably a good idea, and THAT’S when we find out there’s only 1 disabled toilet in the whole venue! 1 disabled toilet total in a 10,000 capacity venue, really?! Now I get that not every one of those 10,000 people would need to use the disabled toilet, but that platform has been packed out every single time I’ve been to the venue, and surely even THAT amount of people potentially needing a disabled toilets warrants having multiple of them within the venue?!

Then, just when you thought the issues were over, we were made to wait ON THE ROAD down to the car park in the cold for lorries to drive up (lorries that we could not see)  because there was no drop kerb for me to be get onto the actual path and the only way we got up there was through some fellow Shikari fans lifting my chair onto the path (yet again the FANS and not the STEWARDS helping me out here) Now, anyone with Cerebral Palsy (the condition that I have) knows that waiting in the cold + Cerebral Palsy = muscle stiffness = ouch, which isn’t a fun equation and definitely put a massive dampener on the evening.

I was really rather shocked at the poor customer service, as a disabled gig goer, that I got from Alexandra Palace, particularly with it being such a large venue. I hope this blog can show the venue where things need to be improved so I can continue being the #invinciblewomanonwheels at every gig I go to.

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)

London O2 Arena Wheelchair Accessibility Review

Photo Credit: Louise Hill

Ah accessibility in London, always a topic of discussion. I always struggle to find people’s personal experience of venue accessibility as opposed to the venues’ account of their own accessibility (and as we know, how accessible venues say they are doesn’t always match how accessible they ACTUALLY are) so I decided to start adding into this blog my views on accessibility of venues that I’ve been to. This first one is, as the title suggests, a blog about the accessibility of O2 Arena London in Greenwich. I’ll be splitting it into the ticket buying process, the journey to/from venue and seating/general experience at the event.

(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!)

O2 Arena London has the fairly standard disabled booking line that you ring in order to request whatever kind of accessible seating you need, for me that means a wheelchair space and a free carer ticket but the person taking your booking will ask what you need to just tell them when they ask. I also find it’s a “call the minute tickets go on sale” situation to avoid tickets selling out, but that’s obviously if circumstances permit and it’s probably just me being overly eager to get tickets as well! The tickets I get are the disabled & carer ticket on one of the disabled platform, I’ll talk more about the kind of view I get from that area later on but there are 2 platforms I believe so your view etc will obviously depend on which platform you’re on. Buying tickets with this venue (and most venues now) actually gets easier the more you buy tickets for that venue as they (as far as I’m aware) keep a record of the requirements you ask for when you book so when you book with them more than once (i.e. me) they can just pull up the profile from your previous booking of what you asked for and work from there (obviously changing details if you ask them to).  

Getting there is simpler than I initially thought, obviously the accessible route takes longer than a “normal” route because it always does but the number of changes is pretty simple,  for me, it’s a bus to Uxbridge station (not using public transport is an option but I’m a student who likes to take advantage of free buses sooooooooo…) and then it’s Metropolitan line from Uxbridge (where a ramp is 100% required) to Wembley Park, not Finchley road because staff have told me that there’s hardly ever staff to interchange an MIP (Mobility Impaired Person, i.e. me) between trains; then Jubilee line from Wembley park (which supposedly, according to TFL’s own signage, only has disabled access from platform to street so a ramp is  needed but barely offered and sometimes refused when if it’s requested so I’d certainly be persistent about that if you need it) to north Greenwich which is completely accessible then a short walk to the actual arena (and the Jubilee line has Night Tube now so I only have to worry about making it back to the Metropolitan line at Wembley Park for like 12:30am to get the last train back to Uxbridge!

In terms of seating, I luckily always get tickets in the first disabled access platform closer to the front of the venue, so my view’s always really good but that obviously depends on which platform you’re on. It also depends on what event you go to, as for concerts the stage is right at the front of the venue compared to where I’m sat so I get an excellent view can really great sound, whereas for sporting events, like UFC London that I went to, the Octagon was right in the middle of the arena so, while I could see the standing stuff really well, I spent most of the groundwork time watching the big screens to get a clear view (although that’s probably the same for anyone who wasn’t sat in the cage side seats).

In terms of experience, once we arrived at the venue we were spotted by staff who led us through security then back on ourselves and around to a separate door to get to the disabled access platform, I wish there was a way to get to the disabled access door without having to double back on yourself and pass through security sensors twice but OBVIOUSLY I completely understand the need for security at venues. It was impossible to get lost as we were led everywhere through the back of the venue to get to the disabled access door. Once we were settled in our seat, any food and drinks we requested throughout the night were brought to us which was a nice touch as it meant not having to leave the event and miss parts to go and get stuff (I’d recommend using cash to pay for stuff when it’s brought up cash as trying to complete a card transaction with a concert going on sounds tricky). When the event was over it would have been nice to have someone walk us out of the main venue area to get through the crowds but, because those on the disabled platform leave through a separate door and there’s a large concourse area before you leave the venue it’s not actually that crowded trying to leave (until you get to the tube station which is a whole different crowd control ballgame for EVERYONE!)

I hope this post is useful for at least 1 person and feel free to continue discussing venue accessibility in the comments, and kudos to staff and the O2 London for making concert going relatively easy for this #invinciblewoman!

 Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)