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Accessibility on agenda at Independent Venue Week

UK music charity Attitude is Everything and disabled artist Winter of '82 aim to tear down barriers to everyone being able to enjoy live music

By IQ on 04 Jan 2016

image © Emile Holba

As part of this month’s third Independent Venue Week, music charity Attitude is Everything will seek to raise awareness about how small venues can attract greater numbers of disabled fans and artists through their doors.

To tie in with the initiative, the charity has announced the Gloves Are On tour with British singer–songwriter and technologist Winter of ’82 (real name Kris Halpin). Halpin (pictured), who is disabled, has long sought technological solutions for his changing performance needs, and is one of only 15 musicians worldwide chosen to test Imogen Heap’s Mi.Mu gloves, wearable tech which turns hand gestures into music.

“Attitude is Everything is delighted to be partnering with Independent Venue Week and Winter of ’82 on this fantastic initiative,” says Suzanne Bull MBE, the charity’s CEO. “Everybody understands the importance of small venues to British music. They’ve been at the heart of every groundbreaking music scene and musical innovation produced in this country.

“For those reasons, it is hugely important that disabled fans and artists are not excluded from their local music scenes, and we want Kris’s tour to raise awareness of how access barriers can be removed. The simplest way for venues to start this process is to join our Access Starts Online campaign and ensure they are providing accurate access information on their website.”

Although over 100 UK venues have signed up to the Charter of Best Practice, Attitude is Everything says millions of disabled fans still encounter barriers to experiencing live music

Although over 100 UK venues and festivals have already signed up to Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice – which details the criteria for improvements for disabled fans and advises on how to achieve them – the charity says “millions of disabled fans still encounter barriers when wanting to experience live music”. The Access Starts Online initiative encourages event organisers to add a page covering access information to the event or venue website.

“The Gloves Are On tour with Winter of ’82 is going to be one of the highlights of Independent Venue Week,” adds Sybil Bell, the founder of Independent Venue Week. “Kris is such a great artist and his use of the Mi.Mu gloves to create music is incredible. We’re looking forward to people around the country being able to see his performance up close and personal.”

The Gloves Are On tour will visit the following venues, all of which are signed to the Charter of Best Practice:

  • Wednesday 27 January: The Boileroom, Guildford
  • Thursday 28 January: The Tin, Coventry
  • Saturday 30 January: The Louisiana, Bristol
  • Sunday 31 January: The Half Moon, Putney

Independent Venue Week takes place from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 January.