Independent Venue Week partners with Attitude Is Everything to improve disabled access to gigs

Independent Venue Week partners with Attitude Is Everything to improve disabled access to gigs

Attitude Is Everything has announced a renewal of its partnership with Independent Venue Week (IVW).

The music charity, which improves deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, will partner with IVW 2017 with the aim of increasing disabled audiences at its scheduled events. IVW takes place this week (23-29 January) in participating venues across the UK. More details can be found here

Attitude Is Everything developed the Access Starts Online campaign to address the problem of deaf or disabled music fans (more than 3.6 million attend gigs every year, according to Government data) being unable to find information about how to access gigs on venue websites. 

Last year, the charity’s State Of Access Report found that disabled people frequently encounter a lack of information on festival and venue websites. Its research showed that up to 60% of disabled fans are discouraged from going to a venue if they cannot find the access information they need.

In the run-up to IVW, Attitude Is Everything worked with volunteers Del Garland, Hannah McKearnen and Mel Barber along with various participating venues to upgrade their online information. Brighton venue Sticky Mike’s created a brand new access info page on their website for IVW, while The Boileroom (Guildford), Koko (London), Roundhouse (London) and Band on the Wall (Manchester) have also taken part.

These venues join The Windmill Brixton (London), Komedia (Brighton) and The Tin Music & Arts (Coventry) in being Access Starts Online-accredited, while IVW will promote the initiative to 145 others.

Commenting on the partnership, Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, said:  “Attitude Is Everything is delighted to partner again with Independent Venue Week and join this celebration of the UK’s fantastic live music scene. Having comprehensive online access information is really important to millions of deaf and disabled fans, and via our Access Starts Online initiative something that all venues and festivals can easily provide. I would like to thank Sybil Bell [IVW founder] and her team for their total support on this issue, and hope that every small venue involved can get onboard to make their gigs bigger, louder and more inclusive.”   

Sybil Bell said: ”Partnering with Attitude Is Everything is very important to us – people who have additional access needs should have as much fun as everyone during Independent Venue Week and beyond. Last year we explored the issue of access for artists at venues by working with Kris Halpin, which was a huge success for all involved. So it’s a natural progression in 2017 to look at what venues can do for music fans. Working with Mel, Hannah and Del has been such a great experience and we’re very grateful to all the venues supporting Access Starts Online. It shows how some small changes from their side can make a big difference to gig goers.”

Gawain Forster, Band On The Wall’s director for venues, facilities and operations said: “Band On The Wall is really proud of our proactive approach to access and our work with Attitude Is Everything. The Access Starts Online template is a really straight forward and cost-effective way for small venues to become more inclusive - and help ensure everyone in their local music community can enjoy gigs and events.”

Sally Ann Oakenfold, creative director, booker at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar added: “It was great to meet Del so we could discuss how we could improve what we do as a venue to make live music more accessible for people who may need some extra help. It’s useful to be able to ask questions so we can understand the challenges people with visible and invisible disabilities face on a daily basis. In a perfect world it would be amazing to have facilities to help everyone but it’s surprising what you can do with a positive attitude and by providing useful information. It’s been a very valuable experience. I hope the changes we have made will be useful. It’s also inspired us all to try and do more."

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