Blog: Glastonbury’s £2m good causes spend

Attitude Is Everything founder Suzanne Bull says Glastonbury’s charitable efforts should be applauded, but other events can still do their bit.

Glastonbury is amongst a handful of corporate donors that support the work of Attitude is Everything and in 2014, it became the first camping festival to be awarded the Gold standard of our Charter of Best Practice. This standard is awarded to those venues and festivals that have shown an outstanding and consistent commitment to improving access over a number of years.

Last month, Glastonbury revealed that it had donated £2m to good causes from its 2014 festival.

Glastonbury and Attitude is Everything have been working closely together since 2005 and it achieved Gold in a variety of ways, including having a very well-established accessible campsite, a dedicated team of volunteer stewards, a communal bonfire in the evenings and a range of massage and holistic therapies delivered within the campsite, bringing important festival experiences direct to customers. For the first time, in 2014, the campsite provided a Changing Places toilet unit, paving the way for customers who would otherwise be unable to attend to consider Glastonbury as a valid festival option.

So far, more than 100 venues and outdoor events have signed up to our Charter of Best Practice, we’ve supported more than 1,000 organisations to improve their accessibility, trained over 4,500 industry professionals and provided more than 500 opportunities for Deaf and disabled people to volunteer at festivals.

Whilst acknowledging that Glastonbury is pretty unique as a festival, both due to its size and support of charities and other causes, there are still a number of ways that others are helping. For example, both Festival Republic and Ground Control’s Parklife 2015 support us via guestlist donations. Support can be in-kind, for example, we have a number of companies that donate items such as dry shampoo for our volunteer steward packs.

Incidentally, over our 15 years, our volunteers have donated 18,000 hours of their time, so comforts onsite are well-deserved!

By working in partnership with the music industry, we’re dramatically increasing the numbers of Deaf and disabled fans going to live music events.  Last year, almost 115,000 disabled people attended Charter venues and festivals.

We’ve overcome significant barriers in the 15 years that we’ve been operating, from the increasing prevalence of viewing platforms, to the industry amending their policies to enable free Personal Assistants tickets, to a commitment to bring accessible ticket sales online. But typically only 1% of tickets are sold to disabled people who represent 20% of the UK population, demonstrating that there is still a huge amount for us to achieve.

Our core funder is Arts Council England and whilst its support is crucial, we can’t sustain our work without other financial assistance.  Donations are invaluable for a charity like Attitude is Everything and have a considerable impact – for every £1 invested in us, £18 is spent by disabled fans at Charter venues and festivals.

Now that we have more than 100 Charter sign-up’s, we’re striving ever more to reach our Vision: music without barriers.  This means:

·       Breaking down barriers for deaf and disabled people
·       Giving more independence for deaf and disabled people at gigs and festivals
·       Improving attitudes and understanding of disability in the live music world

There are a variety of ways in which we can do this and by 2020 we want:

·       To have at least 200 music venues and festivals signed to the Charter
·       To provide more opportunities for deaf and disabled people to volunteer
·       To increase the number of opportunities for artists to perform
·       To train hundreds more music industry staff

I know that we’ll reach that goal much faster and go much further with people’s generosity, so I’d encourage those interested in supporting us to contact me directly – suzanne@attitudeiseverything.org.uk / 020 7383 7979.

You’d be supporting a vibrant, small charity that makes a real difference, that gives a voice to disabled people who are passionate about music, and that positively supports music venues and festivals to make changes.

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO, Attitude is Everything.