Attitude is Everything (AIE), the charity that campaigns to improve accessibility at live music events for deaf and disabled fans, is celebrating the 100th sign-up to its Charter of Best Practice.
Guildford venue The Boileroom – capacity 300 – has joined the likes of Glastonbury, Reading Festival, The O2, The Roundhouse and Brixton Academy in committing to attracting and welcoming disabled audiences.
“For Attitude is Everything to be awarding the 100th sign-up to the Charter is a real milestone, and I’m particularly excited that we’ve recognised a small venue like The Boileroom,” said AIE founder Suzanne Bull MBE.
Campaigners at AIE are now calling on other small venues to follow The Boileroom’s example.
The Charter of Best Practice encourages event producers to go beyond the legal obligations set out in the Equality Act and implement best practice that provides a fair and equal service to their deaf and disabled customers. AIE claims that in 2013 alone, more than 70,000 disabled people attended venues and festivals signed up to the Charter – generating £3.5m worth of ticket and concessionary sales.
The Boileroom, which was recently threatened with closure, has hosted performances by acts including Ed Sheeran, Bastille, The Subways, Tom Odell and First Aid Kit.
Since partnering with Attitude is Everything, the venue has installed a range of access-friendly measures, including:
- Publishing clear and detailed access information on their website
- Ensuring staff are trained and aware of disabled customers’ needs
- Providing a stage side viewing area for customers that need to sit for a gig, ensuring a clear sightline of the stage
“We are delighted to be the recipient of Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice,” said The Boileroom’s founder Dominique Frazer. “I definitely feel that more can be done to ensure Deaf and disabled fans are made more welcome in their local venues.
“From a personal perspective, improving The Boileroom’s access policy is simply good customer service. It’s important that we are an accessible venue and by working with charities such as Attitude is Everything we will continue to improve and evolve our practises and policies to maintain high standards.”
“The changes implemented by Dominique and her team may appear minor to some, but for deaf and disabled fans they will have a major impact,” Bull said. “Small venues are the lifeblood of the UK’s music community.”
Attitude is Everything recommends three steps that small venues across the UK can take to maximise the number of deaf and disabled fans attending their events.
- Ensuring access information is clearly stated on their website in advance of an event taking place
- Offering free tickets to personal assistants
- Creating a simple viewing area
The charity estimates that a small venue could more than double its disabled audience annually by following its guidelines.
“It is hugely important that disabled audiences are not excluded from their local scenes. Music should be without barriers,” Bull said.