Choose your venue wisely

I doubt very much the people who need to see this will, but hopefully someone will and pass it on.

I am a HUGE music fan, especially live music. I also love the theatre especially musicals. If I can see it live I will (usually more than once). Once I’m a fan I will keep coming back to watch things. In short I’m a good customer!

I’ve seen U2 more times than I can count on my hands, and most other bands or artists I like I’ve seen a handful of times at least. Be assured I will own all your albums, as well as streaming them because I think bands get more money from purchases.

If I like a musical, I keep returning. I go to the tour in more than one place. I buy the album, I sing the songs.

I became disabled a few years ago and whilst my life turned upside down, I still had music. I’m now a wheelchair user and able to enjoy live music and theatre once again, or so I thought…

There are some fantastic venues with amazing facilities. I’ve been to some places where the accessibility is basic, but the care of the staff has been amazing and has made the night ok.

I’m aware that music and theatre have had a shocking time over the pandemic with little to zero help. I want to support everyone I can. But here’s my point:

If you are a manager booking venues for a band. Or you are putting on a musical and choosing venues, please make sure you use fully accessible venues. (This means wheelchair access either via ramps or suitable lifts that can be independently operated, widened doorways AND accessible toilet facilities). There’s a great help in understanding building accessibility by looking up Doc M regulations if you’re not sure what should be available. Or speak to organisations like Attitude is Everything and The Access Card who will help I’m sure!

If you are choosing venues that aren’t accessible then you are perpetuating the inequality of disabled fans.

Venues will not alter their spaces to be fully accessible until people stop booking to play there. The only way to improve accessibility for both fans and artists is to ensure your venues booked are fully accessible.

When you choose ‘iconic’ venues that are inaccessible (like the 100 club which has zero access) you are giving permission to venues to not follow the equality act and not be inclusive. English Heritage provide information on making older buildings accessible. There really are no excuses and there are no exemptions from the act.

Disabled people have been told for too long that there’s too much cost to be accessible, yet if no one chose the venues because of lack of disabled access, they would soon make those venues accessible.

It’s 2021. Disabled artists and fans deserve equal access to live music, theatre and the arts. Don’t keep excluding us you loyal fans.

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