Damian's favourite wheelchair accessible UK concert venues
Mar 10, 2023
Meet Damian, a keen Sociability user who is a northern wheelchair user. One of Damian’s favourite pass times is to attend concerts. As this is something we’ve been speaking about a lot recently, we thought we’d ask Damian to share with us some of his favourite concert venues to go to.
Aly and Damian in our Sociability hats!
Take it away, Damian!
Contradictory to popular belief, disabled people can have a social life! We can still go out, go to events and enjoy nights out like everyone else. A disability can mean that you might have to do things a bit differently but many venues are getting more clued up about accessibility meaning everyone can experience that live music feeling. You might need to do a little bit of research - however, chances are there will be somewhere local to you that will be more than happy to welcome you through their doors!
Here’s a list of 5 of my favourite venues in the North East of England:
First Direct Arena, Leeds.
I love going to concerts at Leeds Arena, and it will always be my first choice when attending UK Arena tours. Located around 15 minutes walk or roll (uphill!) from the main City centre shopping area and transport links, there are lots of food and drink options locally, as well as parking and accommodation.
The accessibility is brilliant; there is a designated accessible entrance, meaning you don’t have to hang around in long queues. There is a lift from the door up to the level where the accessible seating areas are. Plenty of merchandise stands and food/ drink counters in the concourse. The seating area has an excellent stage view. There is a lot of accessible seating, but you need to book accessible tickets via Ticketmaster. The bays have removable seats so you can book as a wheelchair user or ambulant disabled. There are designated Access Assistants wearing blue tabards to help you find your seat and answer any questions you might have during your visit. The only negative is there are not a lot of accessible toilets but there are larger ambulant cubicles in the main toilet blocks.
O2 City Hall, Newcastle.
Newcastle City Hall has excellent accessibility and is also located in the city centre, so there are plenty of accessible restaurants to visit before a gig. On-street parking is limited but there is an NCP car park across the road.
They have a step-free entrance around the side of the building (the right-hand side when looking at the main entrance) which takes you directly into the main room. If it is a seated gig, there are numerous wheelchairs space available that need to be pre-booked. If it is a standing gig, there is a raised platform towards the back of the room. It has areas for wheelchair users and those who require a seat. Space is limited, so they need to be reserved. There is also a designated member of staff who will come and take drinks orders and bring them to you, so you don't need to queue or try and get through the crowd. There is always a clear way through to the accessible toilet as well – unfortunately, there is only one. The toilet requires a radar key, but there is usually a staff member near with one if you have forgotten yours.
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The Brudenell is a fantastic accessible venue. An old single-storey social club with a large bar area and 2 rooms for hosting gigs. It is a venue often used by some big names when they want to do more intimate shows such as album launches.
They don't have specific accessible areas, but they let you enter 5 minutes before the doors open to find a place you feel happy watching the gig. This means you can go right to the front if you want to. You need to contact them in advance to arrange early entry and any assistance but they are always really helpful. Parking is limited so you’ll likely have to find street parking nearby.
I also love that you can enjoy a Pieminister pie while watching the gig! #WhenInYorkshire
The Globe Theatre, Stockton On Tees
The Globe reopened in 2021 following a massive renovation project. Bringing live music, comedy, theatre and touring musicals into Teesside, there is something for everyone here. The accessibility is fantastic, and they are also willing to listen to feedback and implement changes if needed.
Once you register as an access customer, it is easy to book accessible seating and wheelchair spaces via their website. It also allocates you a free ticket for your personal assistant or companion.
When you arrive at the venue, you can enter through ‘The Link’ bar entrance to avoid the queues and someone will be there to greet you. There are accessible areas in both the stalls and circle, all of which can be accessed by a lift.
They also have an in-seat food and drink service, so you don't have to queue at the bars. There are plenty of accessible toilets in the venue as well. The staff are well trained to help with any questions you may have.
Street parking and council car parks are located nearby as well as local bus links.
Bridlington spa is a great venue that is really accessible. Its unusual location right by the beach and harbour encourages you to arrive early for fish and chips on a sunny day!
There are a few disabled bays down the side of the venue but there are also lots of street parking and council car parks nearby. When arriving at the venue, there is usually a separate queue for those that have booked accessible seating or have spoken to the venue about their needs. Once inside the spa, the accessible seating is on the same level, completely step-free. The seating area is on the balcony level, so you get an unrestricted view. The bar and toilets are on this level
Wheelchair-accessible concert venues in the UK
Thanks so much to Damian for sharing with us his favourite Northern concert venues. Attending live music is something we all should have access to so we hope these recommendations help you decide where to go next, too! Let us know where your favourite venues are. Want to write a blog with your favourite places or even a blog about any topic? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going to a gig soon? Download the Sociability app to find your nearest place to grab a bite to eat before or after the show! Follow Sociability on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about disability and accessible venues across the UK!