Rob Nosworthy with the festival's Outstanding Attitude Award
Online access information and social story
Attitude is Everything first met Nozstock at the Association of Independent Festivals in November 2014. As a small, family-run festival on a farm site with steep gradients, they were keen to improve their access but also concerned that the nature of the site would make it very challenging for customers. They were very receptive to our suggestions and, over the last two years, they have achieved a Bronze award on our Charter of Best Practice. One of the main pieces of work we did with them was around the importance of giving clear access information to customers and they were one of the first festivals to sign up to Access Starts Online.
Nozstock have gone the extra mile with their access information and, in addition to the information we suggested, they have detailed descriptions and photos of the terrain in the different areas of the site, a social story to explain to customers what to expect, and send out a colour e-booklet with photos and descriptions ahead of the festival to explain the access provision on site.
What was the inspiration for this improvement?
Through working with Attitude is Everything we became aware that, despite concerns regarding the difficult terrain of our festival site, Nozstock could still be accessible. It was all about making it clear what we could and couldn't realistically offer and empowering the customer to make the decision about whether we were a suitable event.
We began to understand that by putting ourselves into the shoes of our visitors we could put small adjustments in place to make long term positive changes and improve our accessibility wherever we can. Working with Jacob and Paul highlighted to us that accessibility isn't just about catering for people with mobility issues, but considering all sorts of individual needs.
From there we realised there were some very easy adjustments we could make that would make a significant difference to people's experiences and show we take the experience of our punters very seriously. That in particular was the inspiration for writing a social story. Other venues provide these, why shouldn't outdoor festivals?
Can you describe what you did?
At Nozstock we appreciate the importance of clear information pre-festival to allow those with access needs to make informed decisions about attending our event and what they can expect here.
To this end, we provide an extremely detailed pre festival information page on our website which details all our access policies and offers but also provides pictures of the different gradients of the site, how many metres key locations are from each other, a detailed breakdown accessibility at each stage, and a social story for those concerned about the busy festival environment.
To our knowledge we are the only AIF festival that provides a social story for our customers.
What has been the impact of the change?
I think the biggest impact the improvement has had has actually been on the attitudes of our crew, who now consider accessibility a key issue and strive to be as inclusive as possible. Our site will always be a greenfield site with steep gradients, but we now realise that providing up to date information and just showing we have done our best to do what we can for all types of people starts off their festival journey positively.
This has encouraged a two-way dialogue with our visitors, which has in turn led to improvements on site including better crew awareness, and the appointment of a dedicated accessibility co-ordinator for 2016's event. Our 2015 AIE mystery shopper report gave our website access information a 10/10 score.
Ella Nosworthy, one of Nozstock's organisers, said:
We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised in this way. Without the support from AIE we would still be floundering wondering what we could do to improve accessibility on a very uneven greenfield site. Attitude Is Everything helped us to see that access isn't restricted to mobility and there were very easy adjustments we could put in place that would make all the difference to our visitors. We are very proud of the information we have on our website for those with accessibility needs and this award is testament to the improvements that can be made no matter what the challenges are. We couldn't be happier.