Music festivals must become more accessible to disabled people, says minister

Today the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt, is calling on music festival organisers to ensure they are catering to their disabled fans.

While some good progress has been made by music festivals like Glastonbury and Latitude, with inclusive facilities like accessible viewing platforms and specialist hearing equipment, many disabled people are still not able to attend live music events or festivals.

Those disabled people who do attend often have very limited support, meaning they miss out on the full experience enjoyed by their non-disabled peers.

Latest figures from charity ‘Attitude is Everything’ show that a third of live music events have no access information available on their websites for deaf and disabled people.

Two thirds of disabled people couldn’t find the information they needed online, and 60% were put off buying tickets as a result – a clear signal to businesses that they need to do more or risk losing out.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“A music festival is an exciting experience for many, particularly in summer. But for many disabled people, taking part with their family and friends can be difficult, if not impossible.

“It’s unacceptable that some people with disabilities are still being excluded. Great work is being done by festival organisers across the country, but I want to see every festival opening up these experiences to disabled people.

“It’s not just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.”

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything and the Government’s accessibility Sector Champion for Music, said:

“The total economic contribution in ticket and concession sales from disabled people, their families, friends and PA’s attending Charter Venues and Festivals increased to £7.9 million in 2016. Everyone should have the right to enjoy the arts, yet only 3.6 million of the UK’s 11 million disabled adults regularly attend live events.

“Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice, recently endorsed by UK Music’s Live Music Group as the access standard in events to aspire to, has proved to be an excellent framework with which we can increase opportunities for disabled artists and fans.”

It comes as the BBC launches its first ever ‘Relaxed Prom’ this weekend, which is adapted for people with autism, learning disabilities and other impairments.

There are currently more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households – ‘the purple pound’ – is estimated at approximately £250 billion.

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