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Attitude is Everything partners with AIF, AFO, BAFA

Live events accessibility charity Attitude is Everything has partnered with the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) and the British Arts Festival Association (BAFA) to support their memberships to play their part in making 2023 the most accessible summer yet.

Collectively, these organisations represent more than 200 events that attract more than 1m ticket buyers each year. Members include some of the UK’s best-loved music and arts festivals, such as Boardmasters, Boomtown Fair, End of the Road, Cambridge Folk Festival and the BBC Proms.

Under the banner #FestivalsWithoutBarriers, the associations and festivals have been issued with three calls to action in order to help improve the live event experience for, and increase the attendance of, disabled customers:

Attitude is Everything will support AIF, AFO and BAFA members to implement these actions via their existing Access Starts Online and Accessible Employment Guide publications, alongside the publication of new guidance on inclusive artist booking for festivals and a forthcoming guide to accessible volunteering.

In addition to these resources, the partnership between the four organisations aims to offer members:

“The experiences of disabled people over the 2022 festival season appear to have been quite mixed”

On the announcement of the initiative, Suzanne Bull MBE, founder of Attitude is Everything, says: “I see this new partnership between Attitude is Everything, AIF, AFO and BAFA as a powerful force in transforming the industry. The experiences of disabled people over the 2022 festival season appear to have been quite mixed, especially when it comes to availability of pre-event information, booking accessible tickets and the level of access onsite. Working together we will drive through the change necessary to improve access for disabled audiences, artists, employees and volunteers. As a disabled person, I’m looking forward to a stress-free festival season in 2023!”

Paul Reed, outgoing CEO of AIF, adds: “We’re very pleased to expand our long-term partnership with Attitude is Everything on this initiative. It has been seven years since we launched Access Starts Online together and this expands the remit to artists, changes in the workplace and vital training opportunities for AIF members. Accessibility at festivals is truly a cross-sector issue and it’s hugely positive to see our friends at AFO and BAFA also get onboard. Let’s work together to ensure that 2023 is the most accessible year for UK festivals yet.”

Steve Heap, general secretary of AFO, comments: “The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has been working alongside Attitude is Everything for some years now in a drive to improve accessibility both in the audience and on stage for deaf and disabled people. The AFO is now very pleased indeed to be sitting with such a powerful and positive organisation that intends to help guide members and increase access and participation in 2023. With 14.6 million people in the UK being disabled there is a vast potential audience that may not be attending festivals for fear of inaccessibility. Here at AFO we are now discovering more and more disabled performers who could form part of our programme and helping our AFO members make their festivals more accessible. We look forward to supporting and working with Attitude is Everything for some years to come.”

Fiona Goh, director of BAFA, says: “British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) is delighted to be working alongside its sister organisations, AFO and AIF, in helping to make 2023 the most accessible year yet for UK festivals. Our partnership with Attitude is Everything will help guide our members to increase access and participation by disabled audiences, artists and staff, beginning at the point of sale and running right through festival delivery. There’s never been a more important time to ensure that festivals are accessible to all, and we look forward to seeing a more diverse and inclusive audience in our festivals next year.”

 


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Green Code of Conduct consultation launched

Sustainability initiative Vision:2025 has launched a consultation for a music industry Green Code of Conduct to provide clear, minimum, environmental standards for all UK outdoor events.

The code has been developed by trade bodies including AIF, AFO, NOEA and EIF, as well as organisations such as Festival Republic and Julie’s Bicycle, with support from live event promoters across the UK.

“Developing a code of conduct by the industry for the industry has multiple benefits,” says Chris Johnson, chair of Vision:2025. “It will provide standards for sustainable practices that are credible, realistic, and crucially, workable, for all event organisers. It will bring the clarity, along with national consistency, that stakeholders across the sector are asking for, as we take steps to reduce emissions and impacts as part the industry’s journey to net zero.”

Creating a Green Code of Conduct is a practical and potentially effective step that the industry can take to show leadership and improve standards

The Green Code is a direct response to recommendations made by the select committee on the future of music festivals, in May. It also relates to the framework set out for the wider music sector in the LIVE Green vision, launched earlier this year.

“Creating a Green Code of Conduct is a practical and potentially effective step that the industry can take to show leadership and improve standards,” says Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn.

Steve Heap, general secretary of the AFO, and chair of the Event Industry Forum (EIF), which oversees health and safety publication the Purple Guide, says: “The Purple Guide is an established publication that advises how our industry manages health & safety best practice. This Green Code of Conduct could provide the blueprint for a new sustainability chapter.”

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) adds: “The development of the Green Code of conduct will help AIF members and all outdoor events to manage their impacts and agree on some top-level shared principles. It is vital that we continue to work together as an industry and with government to mitigate impacts and take collective action.”

The online survey is open for comments here until 14 January.

 


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Working guidance for UK festivals updated

Working guidance for UK festival organisers has been updated to provide ‘support and strategic direction’ in the planning of events until the results of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) and reviews on social distancing and Covid-Status Certification later this summer.

The new interim briefing builds upon planning considerations published last year on the Purple Guide website, which covered eight key themes and Covid-19 safety measures including medical and welfare arrangements, crowd considerations and specific mitigation measures.


As well as providing direction until the conclusions of the ERP, the briefing note has been developed to:

The document has again been produced in conjunction with leading practitioners from the festival industry including the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF); the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO); the Events Industry Forum (EIF), and Attitude Is Everything.

“[This guidance] is an important step in ensuring that festivals can return safely”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and Public Health England (PHE) also provided input on the development of the guidance, which has been co-authored by Emma Parkinson (Coventry University) and Jennifer Mackley (Mackley Projects and Events Ltd).

“This interim guidance briefing provides strategic direction to festival organisers and includes practical mitigation measures to help them continue to plan for this summer and beyond,” says Paul Reed, CEO of AIF.

“I’d like to thank Emma Parkinson and Jennifer Mackley in particular for their work, and colleagues from across the festival sector and within DCMS and PHE for their contributions to this important step in ensuring that festivals can return safely”.

Steve Heap, general secretary of AFO, added: “Having lost almost all of the industry’s 2020 events, festival organisers are very keen to stage whatever is safely possible over the remainder of this year’s season. To do that, clear guidance is needed. The publication of this document, free to all on the Purple Guide website, provides that guidance, written by experienced festival managers with the leadership of AIF.”

Jim Winship, secretary of the EIF, added: “Festivals form an important part of the outdoor event economy and also contribute significantly to social wellbeing. They also take many forms and this guidance should help to enable at least some festivals to go ahead this summer.”

The guidance is live on The Purple Guide site here.

Additionally, the group is hosting a webinar with various contributors outlining the briefing note and taking questions. Details will be announced shortly on the AIF website here.

 


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