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MUSIC AND ACCESSIBILITY – HOW FESTIVALS CAN IMPROVE IN 2023

I love this time of year. Festivals are drip-feeding us lineups all over Facebook, Twitter, and Insta,

I’m looking at my calendar on my phone and messaging Kirsty, my PA (well driver, pint holder and chief piss taker) among her roles.

Filling her diary with yet more over time for another trip in my WAV.

As a Donny bloke, and passionate about live music, I thought I’d go to my local fezzie Askern Music Festival. A friend invited me last year and the vibes were good. I especially enjoyed the jerk chicken with traditional rice and peas washed down with Red Stripe.

Had a great day, even if it did begin with me having to be dragged across pebbles because my power chair got stuck.

Anyway fast forward to January 2023, I’m on the website looking at tickets. I can’t see owt on the website about access tickets so I message them on Facebook. (See below)

Some people with disabilities are unable to attend without a PA, due to health needs, or in the case of my sister who has learning disabilities, it’s just not safe. So asking us to pay for 2 tickets is unusual, especially when the majority of venues, including festivals that I would argue, are on the same level as Askern, such as MosFest are accommodating, not just to people with disabilities, but everyone. 

Now to play devil’s advocate, I am aware that you can’t be handing out free tickets willy nilly, and yes I guess Askern could argue that they are losing money. That’s understandable, especially in the current climate. Come out and say that, these things cost of course.

As you can see from my messages to them, there are organisations such as Attitude is Everything that helps people within the industry, make their venues and festivals accessible.

Tramlines are by far and away the best festival for access in my experience, and they are not afraid to say “Tell us where we can improve, we know we can get better.” As a gig-goer that’s all I want.

Have a conversation, don’t just stick your head in the sand and ignore ways in which you can improve your customer experience. That way we’ll tell our mates, and come back year after year.

Si thi at a festival or a gig. Let’s have a pint

RGM have messaged Askern for their comments, see below. Is this enough?

Guest writer – Matthew Lester

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