Manchester venue Band on the Wall has become the UK’s first small venue to be awarded Attitude is Everything’s (AIE) ‘gold’ status.
The achievement, announced today (1 April), comes after a concerted effort on the venue’s part to improve accessibility at live gigs to deaf and disabled music fans. The gold status is based on AIE’s Charter of Best Practice, and is given to venues and festivals that have proved exemplary access provision.
Band on the Wall is now on par for accessibility with The O2 and Glastonbury Festival, among many others.
“Band on the Wall is a real community venue at the heart of Manchester’s music scene, so we feel it’s hugely important that the events we stage are as inclusive as possible and can involve all of the local community,” said the 320-capacity venue’s projects and facilities manager Gawain Forster. “Whilst working towards Gold Status, we have experienced how much live music can mean to disabled audiences, and I’m immensely proud that we are breaking new ground in this regard.”
The venue’s new status could be a turning point for the UK’s disabled population, as it shows that even small venues can easily put in place the accessibility needed for these fans to enjoy live music.
“Gawain Forster and his team are a real example to other small venues,” said AIE’s CEO Suzanne Bull MBE. “By attracting a committed audience of disabled fans, [they are] proof positive of the upsides that improved access can have for a business.
“Even relatively small changes, such as ensuring that your website offers clear information or that staff are welcoming and properly trained, can make a real difference to disabled customers and ensure they become fans of a venue for life.”
AIE, founded by Bull 15 years ago, campaigns on behalf of disabled audiences at live music events.
Pictured L-R: AIE project manager Gideon Feldman; Band on the Wall’s Gawain Forster
Credit: Jack Kirwin