New research by Attitude Is Everything has revealed the diverse positions Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people now find themselves in since the lifting of Covid-safety regulations.
The snapshot online survey, carried out by the charity between July 19 and August 1, polled 289 individuals with a history of attending live events and found that 74% have additional access requirements such as companion tickets, accessible seating, step-free access and accessible toilets.
However, a key message from the study was that many disabled people are eager to return as soon as possible, with 50% saying they would feel comfortable attending an indoor show as long as they were confident that as many accessible measures as possible had been put in place to increase safety.
I urge the live events sector to address concerns and make demonstrable efforts to welcome those with access requirements back to their venues and events
Suzanne Bull, Attitude Is Everything
“In 2019, disabled people were big consumers of live events," said Attitude Is Everything founder Suzanne Bull MBE. "In fact, in the years before the pandemic, the economic spend from disabled people attending live music grew from £3.4 million in 2013 to £9.3m in 2019, so there was always going to be a huge demand from the disabled community to return to live events.
"Understandably, disabled people have real and deep-seated fears about how safe live events will be after the pandemic. I urge the live events sector to address concerns and make demonstratable efforts to welcome those with access requirements back to their venues and events, and for artists to become actively involved in this welcome.
"Over the past 18 months, disabled people have been loyal in donating to venues and campaigns to support musicians, and bought music, art and books to help creatives to sustain themselves. So more than ever before, it’s time to recognise that the disabled community are part of the lifeblood of culture in the UK.”
Of those surveyed, 35% have tickets booked for an upcoming indoor live event, while 48% are planning to attend an indoor live event by the end of the year.
Attitude Is Everything has developed a number of online resources and a Charter framework to remove barriers returning audiences might face, and is calling on event organisers to check their safety information and practices against this list of reopening measures supported by respondents.
Elsewhere, a more complex picture emerges, with 67% of respondents considering themselves to be at heightened risk if they were to contract Covid, with 46% having shielded in 2020, and 27% feeling it necessary to return to shielding now rules have been lifted.
Among other findings, 42% didn’t see how a live venue could be a safe environment for them at the time they completed the survey, with 24% feeling that they won't be able to get to an indoor live event until next year at the earliest. Outdoor events felt more achievable for many, as 73% said they would feel comfortable attending an outdoor live event as long as they are confident that as many accessible measures as possible have been put in place to increase safety.
In addition, 96% of all respondents said it is important that venues and events engage with disabled people who don't feel safe to return just yet, with 78% thinking venues and events should maintain online streaming as an option.
On events requiring the NHS Covid Pass, 83% said they would attend a venue or event that requires the NHS Covid Pass to gain entry, with 67% stating they would actively choose a venue that requires an NHS Covid Pass to gain entry over one that doesn't.