Music charity Attitude is Everything has today announced winners of their inaugural Outstanding Attitude Awards – recognising Charter of Best Practice venues and festivals at the forefront of creative and innovative access provision for Deaf and disabled audiences. Highlighting that no event is too small or too large to improve its accessibility, the six winners range from a 500-capacity venue in South London to one of the UK’s best-known outdoor music festivals.
The winners were chosen from a shortlist of venues and festivals signed up to Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice by a panel of judges with expertise in access and music. This included: Hannah McKearnen, Mystery Shopper for Attitude is Everything; James Hanley, Senior Staff Writer, Music Week; Mark Butler, Head of Venue Operations, Roundhouse; Paul Reed, GM, Association of Independent Festivals.
The winners were:
- The Albany, London – video-based travel information: shot via smart phone and hosted on the venue’s website, these short-form videos depict the real-time journey from the Albany’s three nearest train stations for the benefit of all attendees including people with mobility impairments.
- Colston Hall, Bristol – Fast Forward Festival: a pioneering conference and series of performances that put accessible music-making centre-stage, and involved significant changes to the building and investment in staff training.
- Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham – British Sign Language interpretation service for all new events: the venue have developed a new BSL service in partnership with audiences and Performance Interpreting, providing tailored BSL interpretation as part of its core programme and upon request.
- Just So Festival, Cheshire – Inclusive programme: Just So compiled their programme guidelines into eight specific categories such as “Sit Back and Relax” and “Make Some Noise”, enabling audience members to make informed choices about activities best suited to their needs for each of the 200 events at the festival.
- Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, Herefordshire – Online access information and social story: based on a working farm with challenging terrain, Nozstock have produced detailed online maps and access information resources – including photo guides, distances to key locations and a downloadable “social story” for people with autism and learning disabilities.
- Reading Festival: User-led British Sign Language interpretation service – a consistently innovative event, organisers Festival Republic have made huge strides to engage with Deaf audience members over several years, now working with SSE Audio and Creative Technology to transmit user-led BSL interpretation of performances to screens on both viewing platforms and the main stage.
Commenting on the awards, Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO Attitude is Everything said:
“The Outstanding Attitude Awards are proof that all live music events, regardless of size and resources, can think outside the box and become more inclusive to a wide spectrum of disabled audiences. This year’s winners range from some simple but hugely impactful online resources, to a groundbreaking music conference and several cutting edge innovations for Deaf fans. I would like to congratulate all the winners on their success, and I hope other venues and festivals can take inspiration from their achievements and can-do approach.”
On winning the award, Christine Swain, Head of Customer Service at Colston Hall commented
“Bristol Music Trust and Colston Hall are thrilled to be recognised by Attitude is Everything for our Fast Forward Festival, in which we had to make huge organisational step-changes in order to put accessible music making centre stage. We are committed to improving access to all of our concerts and education events and this award shows that, with the help of organisations like Attitude is Everything, we are heading in the right direction to becoming a completely accessible building.”
Sarah Bird and Rowan Hoban, Directors of Just So Festival, said of their award:
“We are over the moon that our programme guidelines, which are one of the things we do to ensure Just So is accessible, have been recognised as an outstanding initiative. We have been thrilled to partner with Attitude Is Everything for the past 3 years and have seen huge uplifts in positive feedback and accessible ticket and services take up. Our mantra for programming a world-class outdoor arts offer for families is “if we don’t give you goosebumps we are not doing it right” and that truly must include everyone.”
More than 125 venues and festivals are now signed to Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice. Ticket sales to Deaf and disabled fans at their events increased by more than 26% in 2015.