One month on from the launch of the State of Access Report 2016

Posted on 22.03.2016

One month on from the launch of the State of Access Report 2016

The launch of the State of Access Report 2016 at Bush Hall on Monday 22nd February featured faces from all over the world of live music, coming together to acknowledge the need to improve accessibility for Deaf and Disabled fans when it comes to the UK venue and festival scene.

Lynne Carrick-Leary from Irwin Mitchell, who supported the launch of the report, began the day:

We are delighted to be supporting Attitude is Everything’s 2016 State of Access Report... We look forward to the day where there are no distinctions in place and disabled people can enjoy music in a comfortable and supportive environment wherever they go.

Our CEO Suzanne Bull MBE spoke next, giving a brief history of the charity before introducing key themes from the State of Access Report 2016:

The report provides a biennial snap-shot of the live music industry when it comes to accessibility and inclusion for Deaf and disabled people. Our aim is to highlight areas of good practice and progression. At the same time, the report is an opportunity to reflect upon the barriers that our community continues to face.

Sophie Asquith, Music & Events Manager at Bush Hall, then took to the stage in order to describe the venue's journey with Attitude is Everything:

I spend so much time in this place, it often feels like my house, and the thought of someone not being able to come here, or feeling as though their needs haven’t been considered was a big eye-opener. To get to the point where anyone who wants to see a show here doesn’t have to worry about it, that they might find everything in place when they arrive and that the stress has been stripped back is my mission. I’m really grateful to Attitude is Everything for their support, help and advice. Thank you!

Paul Reed, General Manager of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), explained AIF’s role in the launch of the Access Starts Online campaign, a key theme of the State of Access Report 2016:

Last year for our annual Festival Congress event in Cardiff we approached Attitude is Everything to present a workshop to delegates and the idea for Access Starts Online evolved. It’s a campaign calling for more comprehensive online access information, not only from festivals but also across the live industry. Attitude is Everything has developed some very useful templates for this and it really is a simple measure that venues and events can take.

Paul then handed over to James Hanley, Senior Staff Writer at Music Week, who hosted a panel discussion between Callum Hogg (Safeguarding and Accessibility Manager at Wild Rumpus and Director of All In Access), Christine Swaine (Head of Customer Service at Colstan Hall), and Del Garland (volunteer for Attitude is Everything).

Callum on Access Starts Online:

There’s a long way to go but it is campaigns like Access Starts Online which are pragmatic, useful and driven by the feedback of customers that are going to make headway going forwards.

Christine on the importance of access information:

It’s just about making customer's experience a more enjoyable and pleasant one when they come to your venue.  When they're gracing us with their presence, it is really important that we make them feel welcome and that they have all of the information they could possibly need. 

Del on the growing consensus across the industry that access has to be taken seriously:

I've been involved with Attitude is Everything for a number of years and seen it grow. It’s great that we've got to this point where there are people from all sides of the industry alongside disabled people attending this launch. It seems like there are more and more people singing from the same hymn sheet. So over the next couple of years, hopefully by the next report, we will see even more improvement.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event. The full report can be read here, and we urge all venues and festivals to sign up to Access Starts Online.