Independent Venue Week support Access Starts Online

Posted on 24.01.2017

Independent Venue Week support Access Starts Online

The Attitude is Everything team wearing Independent Venue Week 2017 t-shirts, holding the Access Starts Online sign.

Attitude is Everything are happy to announce that we are once again partnering with Independent Venue Week, the 7-day celebration of small UK music venues (Jan 23rd-29th), with the aim of boosting disabled audiences attending their events.

According to Government data, more than 3.6m disabled people attend a live music show each year. 

However, our State of Access Report (2016) found that these fans frequently encounter barriers before they even buy a ticket, due to the lack of access information available on festival and venue websites. Our research has shown that up to 60% of disabled fans are put off visiting a venue if they are unable to find the access information they need.

The situation is especially pronounced at independent music venues, with only 31% found to provide any access information at all – this often only consists of a single sentence or email address.

To address this problem, we have developed Access Starts Online – a campaign that provides a template and guide to assist any venue to build a comprehensive access webpage for disabled customers, with information covering everything from travel and parking to ticketing, toilets and assistance dogs.

In the run-up to Independent Venue Week 2017, Attitude is Everything along with volunteers Del Garland, Hannah McKearnen and Mel Barber worked with a number of participating venues to upgrade their online information - including Sticky Mike’s (Brighton), who created a brand new access info page on their website for IVW, The Boileroom (Guildford), Koko (London), Roundhouse (London) and Band on the Wall (Manchester).

All now join the Windmill Brixton (London), Komedia (Brighton) and The Tin Music & Arts (Coventry) in being Access Starts Online-accredited, while Independent Venue Week will promote the initiative to the 145 other venues in their network.

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 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, founder of Independent Venue Week 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 Venues, Facilities and Operations Manager 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, and has inspired us all to try and do more.”