Following widely reported issues with disabled access provision at some UK festivals over the summer, event accessibility charity Attitude is Everything (AIE) has partnered with festival associations to encourage their members to instill some practical measures into their booking and operational processes.
AIE is working with the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) and the British Arts Festival Association (BAFA) to support their combined memberships to play their part in making 2023 the most accessible summer yet.
Collectively, the organisations represent more than 200 events that attract more than 1m ticket buyers per year. They include festivals such as Boardmasters, Boomtown Fair, End of the Road, Cambridge Folk Festival and the BBC Proms.
Under the banner #FestivalsWithoutBarriers, all member event organisers have been issued with three calls to action in order to help improve the experience for disabled customers and increase attendances:
- Plan to provide quality access information to disabled audiences at the point of tickets going on sale by implementing Attitude is Everything’s Access Starts Online guidance
- Integrate questions about access requirements into the artist booking process
- Implement practical changes to make festival workplaces and festival volunteering accessible to disabled people
AIE said it would work with the associations’ membership to implement these actions via its Access Starts Online and Accessible Employment Guide publications, alongside the publication of new guidance on inclusive artist booking for festivals and a forthcoming guide to accessible volunteering.
Other resource available include AIE’s Live Events Access Charter and subsidised Disability Equality Training, delivered in part by participants on the charity’s Future Leaders programme for aspiring disabled event industry professionals.
AIE founder Suzanne Bull MBE said, “The experiences of disabled people over the 2022 festival season appear to have been quite mixed, especially when it comes to availability of pre-event information, booking accessible tickets and the level of access onsite. Working together we will drive through the change necessary to improve access for disabled audiences, artists, employees and volunteers. As a disabled person, I’m looking forward to a stress-free festival season in 2023.”