Live Music Exchange Blog

#MusicWithoutBarriers: Attitude is Everything’s new online campaign – Suzanne Bull


In her second blog for Live Music Exchange, Attitude is Everything’s CEO and Founder, Suzanne Bull, sets out the aims and objectives of the charity’s new online campaign, #MusicWithoutBarriers. On Monday 23rd June 2014, artists, venues, and festivals and the wider music industry took to social media to encourage people to sign up to the charity’s Charter of Best Practice, to continue to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.

According to Government data, more than 3m disabled people in the UK attend at least one live music event every year[1]. Attitude is Everything works with the music industry to ensure these fans have the best possible opportunity to see the bands and artists that they love. The charity’s vision is that ‘Deaf and disabled people can be audience members, employees or artists at any live music event of their choice: music without barriers’.  Our Charter of Best Practice encourages event producers to go beyond the legal obligations set out in the Equality Act and implement best practice, providing a fair and equal service to their Deaf and disabled customers.

The new #MusicWithoutBarriers initiative is based around four key messages to promote access and equality. Our campaign aims to encourage more UK artists, venues and festivals to join over 90 who have already signed up to our Charter of Best Practice, which so far includes Alt-J, The Cure, Mystery Jets, and Franz Ferdinand.

The four messages promoted by #MusicWithoutBarriers are:

  • Improving access doesn’t have to be costly;
  • There is a strong business case for improving access;
  • It is crucial to have access information in advance of an event;
  • Not all disabled people are wheelchair users.

I think it is helpful to expand a little further to give a little more meaning to the four messages.

Improving access doesn’t have to be costly

Improving access does not necessarily mean alternating the shape or scope of a building. The majority of barriers faced by Deaf and disabled people at live music events can be overcome by better staff training and implementing accessible policies – such as online ticketing, free access for Personal Assistants, and providing adequate information in advance of an event.

There is a strong business case for improving access 

Promoters that work with Attitude is Everything invariably see a positive impact on ticket sales. For instance, from 2012-13 Academy Music Group increased ticket sales to disabled customers by 33% across its 14 venues, Reading Festival more than doubled (117%) and 2000 Trees tripled its disabled audience.

It is crucial to have access information in advance of an event

Disabled people need to know if their access requirements will be met in advance of tickets going on sale. According to the findings of our State of Access Report 2014, nearly half of the events attended by our Mystery Shoppers were offering inadequate information. Venues with poor physical access have as much of an obligation to provide detailed access information as the best.

Not all disabled people are wheelchair users

Of the 11m disabled people in the UK, only 8% are wheelchair users. There are 10m people with some form of hearing loss, 2m people living with sight loss (of which 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted) and more than 1m people with a learning disability. Meanwhile, according to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

On the lead up to Glastonbury week, #MusicWithoutBarriers has been encouraging venues and festivals to re-tweet these four messages and to sign our Charter of Best Practice. #MusicWithoutBarriers is already supported by a wide range of artists, musicians, industry bodies, events and venues includingAlt-J, The Cure, Mystery Jets, Franz Ferdinand, Frank Turner, Alan McGee, Slow Club, Robert Wyatt, Plan B & Tom Odell, Featured Artists Coalition, UK Music, the Music Manager’s Forum, Musicians Union, and Village Underground, along with Deaf and disabled artists such as Richard West, DJ Void, Jamie Renton and Spaceships Are Cool, and Attitude is Everything’s network of more than 270 Mystery Shoppers. A full list of supporters and quotes can be found at

All took to social media on 23rd June 2014, encouraging fans and followers to pledge their support over social media and at

Since founding Attitude is Everything in 2000, we have always found some fantastic support from within the music industry, and particularly among the artist community. So I am delighted that so many musicians and bands are supporting #MusicWithoutBarriers. In those 14 years, we have proved that improving access need not be expensive. And, more importantly, when the right facilities, policies and information are in place, live music can be opened up to the 11 million disabled people living in the UK and transform their lives for the better. This is what some of our key supporters say:

Blaine Harrison of Mystery Jets and Attitude is Everything Patron:

“The work of Attitude is Everything do is close to my heart because I strongly feel that everyone should be able to experience live music. Whether it’s watching a friend’s band at a local venue or watching Radiohead from the disabled platform at Glastonbury, gigs should be accessible to everyone. I would like to see more venues taking stock of what they can do to accommodate a more diverse audience. It is also really important that as many artists as possible get involved to show their support to this great campaign. The barriers are there to be broken down.” 

Slow Club who have previously performed at Attitude is Everything’s ‘Club Attitude’ night:

“Everyone should be allowed to enjoy music regardless of disability. The #MusicWithoutBarriers campaign is a simple and forward-thinking and backed by an organisation with a history of success in raising awareness and implementing change. We fully support this campaign and hope you do too.”

Music fan Glyn Everett, who is also one of Attitude is Everything’s 270 ‘Mystery Shoppers’:

“I abandoned going to gigs and festivals for a few years as my legs failed, before meeting Attitude is Everything at Glastonbury. Since then, I have seen how hard and how well they work to improve access to music events for disabled people, and have had a much better experience at Charter venue events. I would strongly encourage all venues and festivals to work with Attitude and learn from their expertise, to discover how reasonable-cost adaptations can make a huge difference in opening live music up to a wider audience. And remember it’s not just ‘us’ – I frequently get 3-5 friends along with me to music events!”

Crispin Hunt, Songwriter/Producer and Co-CEO of the Featured Artist Coalition:

“The FAC fully supports Attitude is Everything and urges every band and every performer to join with the FAC in stipulating, at every gig, that nobody should be denied the access, or the facilities, to experience the thrill of live music.”

Dermot Hurley, Head of Commercial Development at Village Underground, one of Attitude is Everything’s Charter venues:

“Attitude is Everything have helped us identify and put in a place number of easy zero cost solutions to help develop our venue offering to a wider audience. Being an old Victorian warehouse, Village Underground is a singular venue with some singular access issues. Attitude have made sure the access information on our website is easy to find, accurate and that there are always staff on hand to answer any questions. It’s really changed how we operate – our team are now confident in offering assistance throughout the entire customer journey and the Charter has also helped the bottom line, selling more tickets and higher bar sales to disabled people, which makes everyone happy.”

If you want to pledge your support, please sign up at and re-tweet our four messages.

Suzanne Bull MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Attitude is Everything


[1]From the DCMS Taking Part survey –

Please note that this is a forum for discussion, dialogue, and debate, and posts and comments on this blog represent only the author, not Live Music Exchange as a whole, or any other hosting or associated institutions.


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