From Leeds to Glastonbury, via a myriad of other concerts, summer is the time for festivals. And when the sun is shining and the music is good, there is no better place to be. But what if you are a wheelchair user? How accessible are these events to those who have mobility issues?
According to the charity ‘Attitude is Everything’ the music industry is missing out on millions of pounds due to accessibility issues. The charity campaigns for better access to live music and has produced a Charter that music venues can sign up to, giving details of the necessary steps that the venues have to comply with to become either gold, silver or bronze Charter members.
Earlier this year the charity published its “State of Access Report” which was compiled from hundreds of “mystery shopping” completed by disabled people attending music events. The report found that just 44% of venues had barrier free access – that is a step free entrance, step free access to all areas of the venue and a functional accessible toilet.
Unsurprisingly the larger venues were more likely to have good access and facilities. However, the most commonly reported problem was difficulties with booking tickets. 95% of those who completed the survey had disability related issues when trying to book, usually because it was not possible to book tickets online, but instead it had to be done by phone during limited hours. Only two of the 10 leading UK music venues allowed disabled people to book online.
That being said, access is improving and the charity report that 90 venues and festivals are now signed up to their Charter with four venues and two festivals so far achieving the highest accolade of gold. These are: Glastonbury, Liberty Festival, Capital FM Nottingham Arena, Roundhouse, The Sage Gateshead and The O2.
Why don’t you see if you can help the charity by becoming a mystery shopper? Further details are on the charity’s website and you may be able to get your ticket paid for!
You will also be contributing to the next State of Access Report and hopefully improving access in the future. Above all, go and enjoy yourself!
Check out the ‘Attitude is Everything’ website here: www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk where you can see if the venue or festival you are considering has signed up to the Charter.
We are sponsoring the Middlehaven music festival in Middlesbrough on the 23 August, which is fully accessible and carers can attend for free.
Music lover: Irwin Mitchell client, Rosie Mayes, enjoying The Killers at Wembley in 2013.