How to Hack a Music Venue for Disabled Audiences

Posted on 10.11.2017

How to Hack a Music Venue for Disabled Audiences

Our DIY Access Guide is published today! The guide presents a series of cheap and simple hacks to make gigs and shows more inclusive, and help artists and promoters maximise their audiences. 

“Most places do not intentionally shut us out, they’re just lacking the right tools and knowledge. It’s so important for bands and promoters to be aware of the access barriers that their fans face, so they can work with venues to solve them.” – Hannah McKearnen, gig-goer and blogger

The aim is to make performances as accessible as possible, even if a stage is up or down a flight of stairs - with the guide providing advice on:

  • How to set up an accessible seated viewing area  
  • How to make your own DIY captions for lyrics
  • Information to include on online event pages
  • How to make an accessible flyer
  • What you can do with shows at an inaccessible venue

You can download the guide for free here.

“This guide has all the vital information needed to engage with disabled audiences and artists, making it a must-read for all bands and promoters.” – Rob Maddison, musician and producer

The zine-style publication is being launched today at Manchester’s Off The Record multi-venue live music event and conference, with a panel discussion, Break Down Barriers, We Will Come, from 3.15pm - 4.15pm. 

This will feature Attitude is Everything CEO, Suzanne Bull MBE, music blogger Hannah McKearnenRevenge of Calculon’s Rob Maddison and Richard Phoenix from the band Sauna Youth and Constant Flux - a community interest group who promote punk shows by learning disabled musicians. 

Meanwhile, as part of Off The Record's live music programme, Revenge of Calculon will play Night & Day on Friday evening at 7.15.pm

Upon publication of the guide, Suzanne Bull MBE said: 

“Attitude is Everything has ambitions to make all live music events as inclusive as possible - and particularly those promoted at small grassroots venues. Even what appear relatively minor changes can make a big difference in practice.  

That’s the reason we’ve put together this easy-to-use guide. Nobody should cut off from their local music scene - whether that’s the millions of disabled people who want to attend gigs and shows, or Deaf and disabled artists who are looking to perform. By following our simple advice, promoters and artists can help make live music so much more accessible, and attract a whole new audience into the bargain.”

The guide, made possible by PRS Foundation and Arts Council England funding, draws upon Attitude is Everything’s 17 years experience of putting on inclusive gigs - most recently at DIY Space for London as part of the In-Sight Weekend. This gig was part of a series of events created in collaboration with Constant Flux that featured talks by disabled artists, as well as workshops on improved accessibility.

Earlier this year, Attitude is Everything launched a new programme called Breaking The Sound Barriers with backing from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Focussed on improving access at small venues, this led to the launch in August 2017 of a new Grassroots Venue Charter of Best Practice