Broadwick Live's boutique Herts event was attended by more than 15,000 on 26–29 July 2018, in its biggest year to date
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UK minister for disabled people commends BST among others for inclusivity, but notes accessibility needs improving at many festivals
By Anna Grace on 26 Jul 2019
The UK minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, has called on festival sites to continue improving accessibility, noting efforts by British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park and Latitude festival.
Poor access, unsuitable camping arrangement, restricted visibility and a lack of representation both on and off the stage are the most common issues facing disabled people at live music events, says Tomlinson.
AEG Presents’ BST Hyde Park (65,000-cap.) is one festival leading the way in terms of accessibility, recently receiving Attitude is Everything’s (AIE) gold status for best practice for inclusivity. BST offers accessible viewing platforms, sign language interpreters and hearing induction loops.
BST 2019 took place over two consecutive weekends from 5 to 14 July, with performances from Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand and more.
Latitude festival (35,000-cap.), which took place in Suffolk from 16 to 19 July, provides additional tickets free of charge for personal assistants, fridges to store medication and an accessible campsite, complete with accessible showers and charging points for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
“Everyone should be able to experience the joy of attending one of Britain’s world-famous music festivals, no matter their circumstances”
Embarking on its second day today (26 July), Standon Calling (15,000-cap.) has a dedicated team to support customers in its accessible campsite, as well as sign language interpreters across the site.
“Everyone should be able to experience the joy of attending one of Britain’s world-famous music festivals, no matter their circumstances,” says Tomlinson.
“Disabled fans are spending more than ever on live music, but it’s clear there is still more to do to improve festival access and facilities.”
According to AIE, disabled people spent £8.3 million on live music last year, up £3.4m from 2013.
The government’s disability champion for live music, Suzanne Bull, says these figures shows that “UK festivals have made great strides in improving access”.
However, says Bull, “there is much more to do beyond just audience provision. We need to plan for disabled artists and disabled employees to be working throughout all levels of the industry.”
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