Solas Festival on their journey to Bronze
Posted on 08.12.2017
We spoke to Debs Hahn, Co-ordinator at Solas Festival, which was recently awarded Bronze on our Charter of Best Practice, about her experience of working with Attitude is Everything to improve access at the festival.
How did you first hear about Attitude is Everything?
We were keen to improve the accessibility of the festival, so I started googling for people and organisations who might be able to help us! Attitude is Everything came up, and luckily, I was able to meet with Paul when he came up on a trip to Scotland.
What prompted you to work on improving access to your venue/festival?
It’s was a no-brainer really. Solas Festival has always been committed to radical hospitality, equality of access and welcoming people from diverse backgrounds. For us it’s about creating a community over the weekend where people can exchange ideas, as well as music.
It was clear that Deaf and disabled people should be able to be a part of that. As the festival has grown and we’ve got more funding and resources, we’ve been able to focus on it more and provide more facilities.
What changes have you made as a result of signing up to the Charter of Best Practice?
We made changes to the information on our website – which hopefully will enable people to assess whether the festival will be accessible to them, and encourage them to get in touch if not!
Signing up to the Charter was really helpful for us, as it gave us a chance to review our policies, and the terms and conditions we give to caterers and traders at the festival to make sure they were accessible and inclusive. We also got funding for an extra accessible toilet on the festival field.
How have you found working with Attitude is Everything to join the Charter?
It’s been great, all the information they have provided has been really useful for us to ensure the changes we’ve made have had the biggest impact possible in terms of improving our accessibility. I feel we’ve really benefitted from the experience of everyone at Attitude is Everything.
What are your future plans around accessibility?
As well as music, the festival programme involves a lot of performance, discussion and workshops. Last year we were able to have some of these BSL interpreted, but we’d love to expand that! Feedback from disabled attendees suggested that it would be useful to have more tracking on the festival field, so we’re keen to implement that too.
Last year we were mesmerised by the performance of disabled dancer Claire Cunningham, and had a great time in a drumming workshop with young people with visual impairments from MusicAll. We’d like to welcome more Deaf and disabled performers, volunteers and audience into our festival community, and continue to challenge ourselves to fulfil people’s unique access requirements.