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Attitude Is Everything encourages festivals to improve disabled access in 2023

By | Published on Wednesday 9 November 2022

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything has announced a new campaign called #FestivalsWithoutBarriers in partnership with the Association Of Independent Festivals, the Association Of Festival Organisers and the British Arts Festival Association.

The link up will see the three festival trade bodies encourage their members to improve accessibility at their events. The campaign has issued three calls to action:

First, 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.

Secondly, integrate questions about access requirements into the artist booking process.

And thirdly, implement practical changes to make festival workplaces and festival volunteering accessible to disabled people.

“I see this new partnership between Attitude Is Everything, AIF, AFO and BAFA as a powerful force in transforming the industry”, says AIE founder Suzanne Bull. “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”, she adds, “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!”

Paul Reed, outgoing CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals, states: “We’re very pleased to expand our long term partnership with Attitude Is Everything on this initiative”.

“It has been seven years since we launched Access Starts Online together”, he goes on, “and this expands the remit to artists, changes in the workplace and vital training opportunities for AIF members. Accessibility at festivals is truly a cross-sector issue and it’s hugely positive to see our friends at AFO and BAFA also get onboard. Let’s work together to ensure that 2023 is the most accessible year for UK festivals yet”.

Steve Heap, General Secretary of the Association Of Festival Organisers, says: “The Association Of Festival Organisers has been working alongside Attitude Is Everything for some years now in a drive to improve accessibility both in the audience and on stage for deaf and disabled people”.

“The AFO is now very pleased indeed to be sitting with such a powerful and positive organisation that intends to help guide members and increase access and participation in 2023”, he continues.

“With 14.6 million people in the UK being disabled there is a vast potential audience that may not be attending festivals for fear of inaccessibility. Here at AFO we are now discovering more and more disabled performers who could form part of our programme and helping our AFO members make their festivals more accessible. We look forward to supporting and working with Attitude is Everything for some years to come”.

Meanwhile, Fiona Goh, Director of British Arts Festivals Association, comments: “British Arts Festivals Association is delighted to be working alongside its sister organisations, AFO and AIF, in helping to make 2023 the most accessible year yet for UK festivals”.

“Our partnership with Attitude Is Everything will help guide our members to increase access and participation by disabled audiences, artists and staff, beginning at the point of sale and running right through festival delivery”, she adds. “There’s never been a more important time to ensure that festivals are accessible to all, and we look forward to seeing a more diverse and inclusive audience in our festivals next year”.

As well as the aforementioned Access Starts Online guidance and another existing resource, the Accessible Employment Guide, festivals can also utilise a new AIE guide on inclusive artist booking and a forthcoming guide to accessible volunteering.