A nationwide survey by music charity Attitude is Everything has shown that artists with access requirements and long-term health conditions are encountering career-damaging obstacles when seeking to rehearse, record, perform live, seek funding and access industry events.

70% of respondents reported having withheld details of their condition or impairment due to worries it will cause problems and impact relationships with promoters, venues or festivals. 

Of those playing live, two in three have compromised their health or wellbeing to perform.

In response, the charity has launched Next Stage – a new initiative to promote greater inclusivity for artists in the UK’s music industry.

The research is to be presented this morning (9 May) at The Great Escape conference, with a panel discussion featuring Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Ruth Patterson (Holy Moly & The Crackers), DJ Laura Jones, Rich Legate (Childcare) and Roxanne de Bastion (Featured Artists Coalition).

Drawn from results of a nationwide online survey, launched as part of the charity’s Next Stage initiative, supported by Arts Council England, it indicates that individuals with access requirements or long-term health conditions are facing a number of career-damaging obstacles.

The snapshot of 96 musicians, songwriters, DJs, producers and performers from around the UK reveals that:

  • Disabled artists are facing significant barriers to their career development – whether rehearsing, recording, performing live, seeking funding or attempting to engage with industry events.
  • 1 in 2 respondents said they encountered access-related barriers when seeking to rehearse in a studio or space outside of their home. 38% said they cannot access their nearest rehearsal space.
  • 79 have played live shows. Of these, 1 in 2 are disabled by physical barriers at most gigs. 1 in 5 have had to cancel a show due to physical access issues.  
  • 2 in 3 said they have had to compromise their health or wellbeing to perform live

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO, Attitude is Everything, said: “These findings provide a snapshot of the challenges faced by a great number of artists and music makers. They will make uncomfortable reading for many in the UK music industry, but our respondents clearly raise some fundamental issues with rehearsing, recording and performing that need to be addressed. Disability cannot be treated as a taboo.  

“As part of our Next Stage initiative, I look forward to sharing this research with colleagues and partners such as Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians UK, Pirate Studios and Jerwood Arts and building towards our goal of a more diverse and inclusive business.” 

‘Disability’ is not a binary. Most survey respondents have multiple impairments, including mental health conditions.

66% identify as a Deaf or disabled person. 21% only sometimes identify as a Deaf or disabled person. 13% didn’t identify a Deaf or disabled person. 

Respondents represent over 15 different impairment or health condition groups, with mental health conditions (43%) and chronic physical health conditions (41%) being most common. 2 in 3 have more than one impairment or health condition.