Disabled fans attending live music events up 26% in 2015

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Attitude is Everything has revealed a significant rise in the number of Deaf and disabled fans attending live music events in the UK – highlighting the positive economic impact to live music businesses that provide outstanding access facilities.

A family with young children approach the entrance to Just So festival: an arch of reused suitcases.

Just So Festival. Photograph: Ten Eight

Compiling sales from festivals and venues signed to its Charter of Best Practice, the charity found that almost 144,000 disabled tickets were sold in 2015, compared to 114,000 in 2014 – an increase of 26%.

The direct economic impact of these sales (including food and drink, and spend by Personal Assistants) is estimated at an impressive £7.5m.

The Charter of Best Practice enables live music businesses to make an ongoing commitment to improving accessibility, and encourages signatories to go beyond the legal obligations of the Equality Act. They also agree to be visited and ‘mystery shopped’ by Attitude is Everything’s extensive network of volunteers.

More than 100 festivals and venues have now signed the Charter, from large-scale events and arenas, including Glastonbury, Latitude, Download, Reading/Leeds and The O2 through to the 14 mid-sized venues owned by Academy Music Group and a diverse range of smaller clubs and student union halls.

2015’s ticketing increases can be partly attributed to 14 new Charter sign-ups during the survey period across a range of venues and events, including The Half Moon in Putney, Bristol’s Colston Hall, Pride Cymru, The Lowry in Manchester and Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena. In all, these 14 businesses were responsible for some 11,000 ticket sales, and a £500k economic impact – although the existing 89 Charter venues and festivals also increased their combined disabled audience by 19,000 (13%) year-on-year, generating an extra £1.5m.

A full breakdown of these figures is provided below, along with case studies from Just So Festival, the Barbican and Cambridge Junction.

Commenting on the findings, Attitude is Everything CEO Suzanne Bull MBE said:

“The Charter of Best Practice is at the core of Attitude is Everything’s activities. Each year we accredit a wide range of venues and festivals, from the biggest in the country to the smallest, and see them make a commitment to improving their access provision. Meanwhile, existing sign-ups improve what they do and move up to Silver or Gold status.”

“As well as encouraging innovation and best practice, this practical and straightforward process sends out an important message of inclusivity to Deaf and disabled fans across the UK, who are attending live music events in ever increasing numbers. With 14 new sign-ups in 2015, ticket sales across 103 of our Charter venues and festivals contributed more than £7.5m to the UK’s music economy. Which, for those live businesses not partnering with us, begs one simple question: what are you waiting for?”

Jon Drape, Attitude is Everything patron and Managing Director of event production specialists Ground Control, who have overseen dramatic increases in disabled ticket sales at Festival Number 6 (up 107% in 2015), The Parklife Weekender (up 55%) and Kendal Calling (up 30%) added:

“Ground Control is extremely proud of our long association with Attitude is Everything, and the fact that Parklife, Kendal Calling and Festival Number 6 have all reached Silver Status on the Charter of Best Practice. Suzanne and her team take a very pragmatic approach to their work, enabling us to tailor access facilities around each individual event and make improvements and innovations each year. The success of this approach is born out by today’s figures, which also highlight the growing demand for Deaf and disabled fans to attend live music events.”