BBC Radio 2 Live: Change of rules could leave older music fans with nowhere to sit all day

A row has broken out between music-lovers and the organisers of a Leeds pop festival, following changes to rules allowing spectators to bring their own chairs.

BBC Radio 2 Live, which takes place in Temple Newsam on September 17-18, will feature acts such as Robbie Williams, Simple Minds and Tears For Fears.

Excited at the prospect of seeing Robbie in concert, Adel resident Kim O’Rourke organised to go to the event along with two friends, each buying Sunday tickets for £56.

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Kim, 59, suffers from a heart condition, and had originally been reassured by organisers that attendees could bring in their own chairs to sit on during the day-long show.

The crowd for a previous incarnation of the festival in Hyde Park, London. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)The crowd for a previous incarnation of the festival in Hyde Park, London. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
The crowd for a previous incarnation of the festival in Hyde Park, London. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

However, in updated terms and conditions, the organisers have now taken away the chair allowance.

The BBC confirmed this was the case, but added that anyone with specific needs should ask organisers for permission.

“A lot of people on social media are complaining a lot about this,” said Kim. “A lot of people bought the tickets and were told chairs were allowed.

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"Radio 2 listeners are not young teenagers. I think a lot of people would not have bought tickets if they knew seats would no longer be allowed to be brought in.”

Kim added that she had been going to previous Radio 2 events for the past 10 years in Hyde Park, London, at which attendees could always bring chairs.

"When we went there, it was not younger people in the crowd, it was your average Radio 2 listener.

“The BBC knows the average age of Radio 2 listeners.”

The event website states: “Customers cannot bring chairs or shooting sticks to this event without prior agreement in writing from the access team.”

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An online form to apply for access permission states the deadline for applications was Friday, September 2 – the same day Kim and her friends noticed the changes to the terms and conditions.

Kim said her group might have to turn up with chairs in the hope they would be let in, or miss most of the show altogether and only see headliner Robbie Williams in the evening.

A BBC spokesperson told the YEP: “For event safety reasons we have made an update to the Terms and Conditions and informed ticket holders. We do understand that this may impact some people so have asked them to get in touch to discuss their specific requirements in order to try and accommodate them at the event.

"We cannot comment on individual cases, but are liaising direct with anyone affected who contacts us.”

The revelation prompted debate on social media.

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Sue Holliday posted onto the Leedsplace Facebook page: “The issue is that chairs were allowed when people booked. Not everyone is able to stand or sit on the ground for 11 hours.”

Catherine Jarosz posted: “For people with a huge range of disabilities this could be a very real blocker to attending this event, and if they've bought tickets already on the basis that it was advertised as accessible to them then it's incredibly poor.”