Here's the full transcript for the BBC Radio 1 show Let Me Into The Music from Monday 14th May at 9pm. In the programme Nihal investigates live music access for disabled gig-goers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mkb5n
JINGLE: This is a public service announcement! Go! In new music we trust, on BBC Radio 1, in new music we trust, on BBC Radio 1. Trust us to bring you the best new music, from across the UK, and from around the world. Ladies and gentlemen, in new music we trust, on BBC Radio 1. Stop! Now. Let’s go!
IDENT: BBC Radio 1 Stories
PRESENTER PRE DOC WARNING: I’m Nihal and this is Let Me Into the Music. There’ll be some strong language and controversial content on the subject of disability coming up, so if you think that’s not for you, go to Radio 1 online and check out another show to listen to.
MUSIC UP- live actuality in gig venue, bass heavy entrance music, suspense-filled, wailing crowd.
Boy: Are there any spare tickets?
Girl: I think it’s sold out isn’t it? Do you have tickets or don’t you?!
Boy: No. They have tickets. My name’s Henry and I’m here to go the Mystery Jets- hopefully.
MUSIC UP- opening notes of The Mystery Jets’ Someone Purer (live)
Woman: Could you all get into a queue, going down that way?
Keen Girl: Looks like we’re at the front!
Henry: Well I saw them at a festival and they were good, so. Hopefully they should be good- if we get in! Because we don’t have tickets!
Woman: There’s definitely not gonna be- unless you’ve got a ticket, there’s none left-
Girl: (laughs)That’s the situation…
Henry: OK. Not very happy.
Teasing girl: She’s their Number One Fan.
Shy girl: That’s not true.
Teasing girl: No, but she has been to a lot of them.
Shy girl: I’ve never been to one-
Boy: How many gigs you been to?
Shy girl: I haven’t.
Teasing girl: She’s met Blaine.
Keen Girl: Very keen.
Friend: In 2008!
Keen Girl: It’s my sixth time seeing them today, so… I just think they’re really good. Obviously otherwise I wouldn’t be here. They’re a really good live band which is why I’ve seen them so many times.…Definitely worth it.
ACTUALITY/ MUSIC UP- Live Mystery Jets Someone Purer chorus lyric: ‘Give Me Rock n’Roll!’
Music crescendo & out, crowd applause
Mystery Jets frontman Blaine Harrison: ‘You guys are well up for it, aren’t you?!’
MUSIC UP- Take That Greatest Day instrumental
Nihal: I’m Nihal and this is Let Me Into The Music on BBC Radio 1. Seriously- let me in! Like most of you I can’t get enough of live music. But I’m not the only gig fanatic out there-
Woman: I found it sort of quite treacherous to access gigs- I’d get crushed or knocked over. I got my neck trapped on the front barrier and I had like about a hundred thousand people pushing behind me!
Man: Everyone has the right to go out and have a good time- disabled people especially. If they’re not allowed to go out to a club and get drunk and have fun then it’s kind of dehumanising them
Baxter Dury: My name’s Baxter Dury and my father was Ian Dury. He was quite into freeing yourself up from those institutions and charities and the stuffiness around disability- he wanted to put his fingers up and say- look, you know, we just- we do what we want.
Young girl: When I can’t hear music, I still feel the music. I can feel music all over my body, especially in my chest. It felt surreal. Mostly I focus on feeling the music from my feet and it sometimes spreads all over my body. Feeling the music makes me relaxed and content – like, yeah I can ‘hear’ the music.
Nihal: Most of us will stop at nothing to get our hands on those golden tickets and get as close as we can to the action. So, if the love of live music is universal, then everyone should have the chance to get in – right?
I’ve never really seen a disabled person go to a gig or anything- I guess maybe they’re missing out because the facilities are not available for them…
Girl 2 vox
My Mum’s disabled and she can’t really go to a lot of live music events and things like that. They can’t really go to festivals either, which is quite a shame…. They’re missing out quite a lot, actually.
Girl 3 vox
This sounds awful but you don’t really expect to see, like- I’ve never seen a disabled person at a gig.
SFX: Record needle scratches turn table
Nihal: What? Disabled people don’t go to gigs? Where’ve you been?! Think again…
Girl 4 vox
Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you don’t like music, so you should be able to see bands live.
Cara: I’m Cara Readle, I’m 21, from Swansea in Wales, I’m an actress, you may know me from Tracey Beaker.
I have mild cerebral palsy. I think the best gig I’ve been to was definitely Take That in 2009.
MUSIC UP: Take That Greatest Day chorus: ‘Today this could be, the greatest day of our lives’ x2
Cara: Everything was just amazing, mind-blowing, loved it.
Maddy: Hi, my name’s Maddy, I’m 22, I’m a student, I grew up in Hackney and I currently live in East London.
I have muscular dystrophy, which is a muscle weakening condition, which means that I use a mobility scooter to get around because I suffer from fatigue. Best gig ever probably has to be Beyonce, she’s incredible.
MUSIC UP – Beyonce: Work It Out
Maddy: Amazing two and a half hours of performance, just absolutely stunning. Can’t explain how amazing it was- she’s extraordinary!
MUSIC UP – Beyonce: Work It Out chorus: ‘You’ve gotta work it out, you’ve gotta work it out, brother gotta work it out. Wo-oh. Yeah blow your horn now! Come on blow your horn now!x2’
Charlotte: I’m Charlotte Charteris, I’m 28…I’m from Orpington in Kent… I’m a quadruple amputee which means I’ve got both hands missing and one leg and part of my left foot. I wear a false leg and two false arms… Festival-wise, I’ve been going to Reading since 99, and I’ve only missed it twice and one of those years was because I was in a coma, so I think I have a fairly good excuse!
Anthony: I’m Antony Stephens, I’m 25, I swim for the British Paralympic team, I was born with Phocomelia which means I wear two, full length prosthetic legs. Recently I’ve been to er, Reading Fest last year, the year before that I went to Foo Fighters in Wembley, I saw Lincoln Park and J Z and Shikari in Milton Keynes…
Stewart: OK, hi my name is Stewart McDougall, I’m 21 years old, and I have cerebral palsy …I have visual impairment as well, so I have tunnel vision… I went to the 02 just before Christmas for em, I think the Jingle Bell Ball. Ollie Mers does- done his set and…then he was like I have a surprise for all of you and then Rizzle Kicks came on … And I was like I can’t believe I’m in this room right now seeing like well seeing someone like that isn’t big yet at an arena that has got wheelchair access.
Nihal: So whether it be pubs, clubs, arenas or fields- gig & festival audiences are actually more diverse than many of us realise.
Amy: I’m Amy Nicholson, I’m from South London. If I’m honest, when I first started going to gigs, it never occurred to me what the experience would be like for someone with disabilities…. All my friends were able-bodied, so it was never at the top of our list of priorities until somebody who was very dear to us was in that situation and we needed to adapt the way we treated a night out.
Nihal: Over the next hour I’m going to be investigating just what equal access to live music really means. What’s the reality for disabled music fans? Is access wide open or, more often than not, are too many doors closed? Is it all just ramps and wristbands? How about a vibrating dance floor, a signing-rapper or music you can smell?! I’ll be talking mosh pits, toilet politics and prosthetics with music lovers who don’t let disability get in the way of a good time. And hearing from campaigners working with industry insiders to make sure access is guaranteed, not denied. We’ll be hearing from Ghostpoet, Goldierocks, a Sugababe and a few other familiar voices, dropping by to tell us why equal access is on their musical radar…
MUSIC UP- The Drums Let’s Go Surfing! instrumental
Huw Stephens: Hello, I’m Huw Stephens from BBC Radio 1. I think equal access to live music is very important. Growing up, I was very lucky to be going to gigs when I was 15 and 16, and being able-bodied I could go to, you know any gigs that I wanted to, pretty much- that my parents allowed me to. And I think, you know they’re a big part of your formative years, going to gigs and seeing live music, whatever the genre. So I think equal access to those is vital. However, I know that from putting on gigs in venue and in city centres- my SWN Festival is in the Cardiff city centre itself- some of the venues, like Clwb Ifor Bach, for example- probably the most famous venue in Wales and one of the most famous in the UK, is on the third floor, so I know it is very hard for those in wheelchairs or those who can’t go upstairs to get into the gig. So I know it is hard when you’re putting on gigs in venues in city centres. However, I think new venues and ones which sometimes manage to get funding can make sure that there are ramps and lifts and that it is an equal access venue and those venues I think need to be celebrated and championed and made more of because they are giving, you know a fair shot for the audience to get to the gigs and for the artists to be discovered by everyone as well.
MUSIC UP- Bombay Bicycle Club: Rinse Me Down instrumental
Mathew Horne: Hi, it’s Mathew Horne here, actor- best known for Gavin and Stacey… but, um I also do a bit of DJ-ing on the side, and I’m an avid go-er to of gigs… Well it’s just I was on tour with some friends of mine who are in a band called Bombay Bicycle Club, and I was able to Access All Areas, including the wheelchair platform at one of their gigs at Glasgow Barrowlands and there was a girl there and we kind of sort of danced together and hung out and shouted in each other’s ears and she was wheelchair-bound and it was that moment really that it struck me, having not been on like a wheelchair platform before, they do get a fantastic view, yes, but this kind of implementation needs to be in all venues, so that people like that can go and see the things that they love, which are exactly the same as the things that I love.
MUSIC UP- Bombay Bicycle Club: Rinse Me Down chorus lyric: ‘Chasing the night, to make it right.’
Nihal: So we’re actually more united by music than we think we are, and we all want to have an amazing time when we get the chance. I know I do. But what exactly is equal access? Here’s Suzanne Bull from the access charity ‘Attitude is Everything’-
Suzanne Bull: I’m the Chief Executive of Attitude is Everything, we improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, we work in partnership with audiences, artists and also the rest of the music industry. At the moment in the UK, venues and festivals are required to provide an equal level of service to their disabled and deaf customers, that means providing an equal level of access…What equal access really means is making reasonable adjustments when it’s very difficult for a deaf or disabled person to access any aspect of a building, so they say when it puts a deaf or disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.
Nihal: Sounds simple enough. But it’s not one size fits all. Here’s Maddy and Anthony:
Maddy: It’s different for everybody, it means one thing for me in a scooter, it means something completely different for someone who’s partially-sighted…
Anthony: For me personally, stairs are a big issue, but I can deal with them if there’s some sort of handrail, or whatever. I can stand at gigs for- for a fair while as long as I’ve got something to lean against, standing isn’t as much of an issue provided I’ve got something to hold on to or lean against a railing of some sort. Walking is a big issue, especially if I’ve had a few beers and stuff! Trying to walk on two stilts- you know, what are effectively stilts are a bit of an issue in wet mud as well…
Nihal: We all know not all venues are created equal. And don’t even get me started on dirt tracks and flooded fields. So in spite of the Equality Act becoming law in 2010, equal access can still be hit and miss. Charlotte-
Charlotte: Most of the gig venues that I go to in London are old converted theatres and there’s not a lot that can be done. Usually there’s stairs involved. That’s probably the main problem.
Maddy: Because my mobility scooter has three wheels instead of two, often some venues have a sort of split ramp, which is designed for a two-wheeled wheelchair which often- which makes it impossible for me to get into a venue.
Stewart: Sometimes, artists from South America come to the UK but they do like underground venues, so my friends will go… I feel very left out because, then I’ll look like on Facebook or something and I’ll see the pictures and they’ll look really good, and I’ll be like oh, nice for them but I could have gone, if it had wheelchair access.
Nihal: Sometimes access isn’t just about getting in, it’s about getting out in one piece…
Daniella: My name is Daniella Lipscomb, I’ve come from the South West, I’m a massive music fan, I go to lots of gigs. Although I’m not in a wheelchair, I have Achondroplasia which is a form of Dwarfism and standing up for a length of time can be a problem and also I can’t see, because of my height. And I went to a small concert- because I’m a massive Franz Ferdinand fan and I got hurt really badly. The band let me in first but no one could see me at the back, so they were pushing and well it was quite- apart from the fact that the band kept rescuing me!- but besides that it was quite painful.
Nihal: So if access is still this much of a lottery, is anyone doing anything about it? Suzanne Bull-
MUSIC UP: Calvin Harris Rock n’ Roll Attitude electro instrumental
Suzanne Bull: I found it sort of quite treacherous to access gigs, in a way, because there was no access when I was younger. I’d get crushed or knocked over and I took many years of being crushed and knocked over and then decided I couldn’t sort of take it any more. I think the most infamous one was at one of the very large festivals and um, I got my neck trapped on the front barrier and I had about a hundred thousand people pushing behind me, and I thought at the time- hmm, if I do actually get out of this alive, I think I need to start a campaign to improve disabled people’s access to live music, so that’s what I did!
MUSIC UP: Calvin Harris Rock n’ Roll Attitude chorus: ‘Oh that rock n’ roll, rock n’roll, rock n’attitude, yeah.’
Nihal: Attitude is Everything doesn’t just advise the rest of the industry on how to improve access, they also show them how it’s done…
Suzanne Bull: We felt as an organisation that we had to practice what we preach, so we set up Club Attitude and it’s also just as important to promote all the great disabled talent. But it’s also about demonstrating to promoters that it’s actually really easy to put on an accessible club night. So, we’re at Village Underground tonight. The basic criteria is that it has got an accessible entrance and it has got an accessible toilet. It’s main entrance is actually up three steps but it didn’t take much persuasion to say actually, if we just turn the stage around, put the stage at the back of the venue instead, we can use the back accessible entrance as the main entrance on the night.
ACTUALITY UP: Club Attitude sound check- bassy chords
Suzanne Bull: The line up tonight is Slow Club, Spaceships Are Cool, Wildflower and then we’ve got Ghostpoet DJing which is gonna be brilliant as well. You don’t need to be disabled to come to this night, we’re definitely not into segregation, that’s not how it works, this night’s a night for everybody and it’s basically about people who love music.
Girl vox: My name’s Aneka, I came originally to see the Slow Club, um and then found out that it was for helping disabled people get into music… so now I’m more aware that the concerts I go to, the festivals I go to- they’re not as accessible for everybody. The main thing for me would always be cost and it’s just sort of opened my eyes that there are other reasons why people can’t go to see who they like.
ACTUALITY UP: Poet and compere, Niall Spooner Harvey: ‘Introducing the SLOOOOW CLUB!’ – Slow Club live set opening- crowd wails- Compere: Slow Club!’
Charles: Hello, I’m Charles from Slow Club.
Rebecca: I’m Rebecca from Slow Club & we’re, Slow Club! (laughs). Um I- like through Twitter and things I’ve sort of experienced people Tweeting and saying is there access and it’s a shame that has to be a thought if someone wants to see a gig. It shouldn’t be like a question you have to ask really, it should just be, um how it is.
Jehan Harding: My name’s Jehan Harding, I’m here DJ-ing as Stella Mortos. I was born, three months early in an ambulance outside my house and I had a brain haemorrhage-
MUSIC BED: Ghostpoet Us Against Whatever Ever electro/ beats instrumental
Jehan Harding: and that’s left me paralysed down one side of my body. Everyone has the right to go out and have a good time- disabled people especially. If they’re not allowed to go out to a club and get drunk and have fun, then it’s kind of dehumanising them
Ghostpoet: Hi, my name is Ghostpoet. That’s me (laughs). Well what I was doing at Club Attitude was a DJ set. I decided to do it because I really feel passionately about the idea of what the charity’s about which is access for disabled individuals. I think that is all right- I’m all about equality in every aspect, and yeah, when I was asked to do it, I didn’t hesitate, I felt, let me do my little bit, you know. I guess with me doing my own gigs, I have seen disabled people in the audience and it’s always great to see that and it is nice when venues do accommodate all types of people.
MUSIC UP: Ghostpoet Us Against Whatever Ever (electro/ instrumental)
Really great gig. Good fun.
I loved it- I thought they were great. It was amazing. We kind of only came to see Slow Club!
It was nice because it was really small and we could see them and hear them, so it was great.
Jess: Fuck, biscuits! Yeah, my name’s Jess. Biscuits! Fuck! We’ve had an amazing- fuck- and amazing night, really varied music- fuck- biscuit- very accessible venue, it was brilliant- fuck! You’ll be able to hear that I’ve got Tourette’s Syndrome and that I make involuntary noises- vocal tics- biscuit- but I also have physical motor tics that affect my mobility and how easy it is for me to move around- biscuit- so an accessible venue where I can use a wheelchair is important- biscuit- Fuck!
IDENT: BBC Radio 1 Stories
Nihal: But if that was in the premier league of accessible gigs, what about just your average night in a little local venue, seeing a small gig with your mates? Inspired by Attitude is Everything’s mystery shoppers, we sent our very own roving reporter to rock out and record an audio diary from the front line of gig land:
LISA’S AUDIO DIARY: Hi, my name’s Lisa Jenkins, I’ve got cerebral palsy on the left hand side of my body, and I’ve come to Brighton to see one of my favourite DJs. We drove here. There is parking behind the venue, it is in a residential area where you can walk to, we’;; be going into the venue in about 5 minutes.
ACTUALITY UP: Interior atmosphere of crowd and music
LISA’S AUDIO DIARY: So the gig tonight was absolutely fantastic… they’re such a tight band…it was just such a great vibe. The venue was actually very good, spacious- I ended up being able to stand right in front of the stage without getting shoved or pushed, which is important for me with my cerebral palsy. The access if you were in a wheelchair for instance wasn’t very good, there were stairs leading down to the toilet and there was a rail on either side but as far as I could see, there was no disabled entrance and no disabled toilet upstairs. And also I had a friend with me to help me up and down stairs, if I needed it. I would go to the club again, definitely.
Nihal: Good times. So although not perfect, in Lisa’s report, a considerate crowd made all the difference. Here’s what Maddy, Cara & Charlotte had to say on why- when getting into gigs- attitude really is everything:
MUSIC UP: Noah And the Whale L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N Chorus Lyric- ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N- you got more than money and sense my friend, you’ve got heart, and you’re going your own way.’
Maddy: …you do need to ask a lot of questions. I’m quite a pushy person, I won’t stop until somebody gives me the answer that I will accept and I’ve always wanted to be able to experience live music, so I will just ring everybody who will listen to me until somebody can tell me how I can get into a venue. The more you ask I just think the more aware people become. Cos it’s the only way it’s gonna get better.
Cara: I think that some people when they see that you’re not in a wheelchair, you’re walking about, by yourself, with your friends, they can assume that you don’t need help and maybe that’s down to us to say ‘look, I need help, can you do this?’
Charlotte: One thing that’s quite frustrating is that because lots of my disabilities are essentially invisible, quite often I do get people double-taking when I appear at a venue. And they do kind of look you up and down and you think ‘do you want me to take my arms off ? I’ll pop my leg off here and hand it to you- but it feels like sometimes, you’re not disabled unless you’re in a wheelchair.
Nihal: There’s no denying that part of the attraction of going to gigs is getting out, just you and your mates. But if you’re disabled, that’s not always an option. Stewart-
Stewart: I never go out with my friends on my own because of, my parents worry about safety and things like that,
Cara: Yeah I think when I was a lot younger, my Mum would have worried about me going. I know there’s a small festival in Swansea where I live- Party in the Park- and the first time I went with my friend she was a bit wary, but she knew the people I was going with and she knew that they took care of me, so I think that put her mind at ease.
Anthony: I don’t really have a bad experience, at gigs normally. I tend to go with friends, I don’t go on my own, so you know I can stand and lean on a mate’s shoulder. I’ve never had problems really like worrying about my friends wanting to go before me- they’re as crazy as I am, they’ll stay there til the end. We’re normally the first ones on the platform and we’re the last ones to leave.
Amy: Charlotte I went to school together and we’ve been friends ever since…Charlotte’s got a prosthetic leg and we were just about to settle in for the gig and she realised that something had gone slightly awry (laughs) with her knee joint- so we had to kind of like- half hop to the toilets (laughs) and I had to try and get her leg back on to the rest of her leg properly, so it didn’t fall off and she could actually get about. Slightly drunkenly trying to refit your friend’s prosthetic leg when you’re about to go and watch one of your collective favourite bands was certainly a new experience but actually, it was very funny at the time, I still think it’s quite funny now, to be honest. Most people I think were just pretending that we weren’t there. It’s the funny thing that I’ve found, quite a lot of the time- when you’re with someone with a disability, you suddenly feel invisible,
MUSIC OUT- background silence
Sometimes people are great and they’ll hold doors open if you need it… But, 9 times out of 10, you just get nothing, it’s like you’re under a cloak.
MUSIC UP- Baxter Dury Isabel (instrumental)
Nihal: There’s no single answer to increasing the visibility of disabled people in society, but seeing disabled people up on stage and hearing them on the airwaves could have a massive impact. Here’s Suzanne Bull-
Suzanne Bull: When I began Attitude is Everything I always felt that the artists were equally important as the audience… it was a passion of mine that I wanted to see more disabled artists on the stage because it represented how I felt about the world politically and how I feel about being a disabled person in the United Kingdom.
Nihal: One of the first breakthrough acts in the UK was the legendary Ian Dury, who was shaking things up on the punk scene back in the 70s, before equal access was even on the agenda. Here’s singer Baxter Dury, who remembers how his Dad used his song-writing to make provocative comments about disability.
MUSIC UP: Ian Dury & The Blockheads Spasticus Autisticus instrumental
BAXTER DURY: My name’s Baxter Dury and my father was Ian Dury. He caught Polio when he was 7 years old, from the sea I think in South End, so he was a perfectly healthy boy I think from the age of 7 and then- nearly died, basically, over a year was severely ill, um and then half his left side got affected and his right side was perfectly functional and um he just grew up in various hospitals and sort of institutions…. And then he became who he was.
I remember even by the age I could carry him I’d carry him up and down stairs… He was constantly aware about what wires were where, everywhere he went was designated- it would become free of any obstacles, very quickly.
I think he became a definite- a slight roguish role model…
MUSIC UP: Ian Dury & The Blockheads Spasticus Autisticus chorus: ‘I’m Spasticus, I’m Spasticus, I’m Spasticus Autisticus.’
In Spasticus Autisticus I think he was just being very candid. I don’t think he even knew he was offending people, I mean I don’t know why you would think you were, just because you’re disabled and start singing about it in a humorous way. He was probably quite happy that it got banned. You know? It’s more interesting. Dad loved attention more than anything else. I don’t think he was a part of the lobby… so the way he would have changed things or his influence on change would have been slightly accidental and probably quite unique to him… he was quite into freeing yourself up from those institutions and charities and the stuffiness around disability- he wanted to just put his fingers up and say- look, you know, we just- we do what we want.
MUSIC UP: Ian Dury & The Blockheads Spasticus Autisticus vocal: ‘Hello to you out there in normal land. You may not comprehend my tale or understand. As I crawl past your window give me lucky looks- you can read my body but you’ll never read my books.’
Nihal: There’s no doubt Ian Dury was a unique character, and sadly even 12 years after his death there’s still a shocking lack of disabled performers in the public eye. But there is someone who takes access seriously today-
MUSIC UP- Mystery Jets Soluble In Air instrumental
Blaine: My name is Blaine Harrison and I sing in the Mystery Jets and I'm in the Rainbow in Birmingham… which we've come to play on our Radio Radlands tour. We’re gonna walk through to the where the stage is to have a look at what the access is like and the, er, various things that we encounter along the way. As someone with a disability, I've seen both sides of the coin in terms of what access is like to gigs. I think especially touring, round somewhere like the UK there's so much more that could be done. I would love to say that you know, I can notice changes that are happening to improve access to concerts but, I think its a bit of a, really slow battle.
MUSIC UP- Mystery Jets Soluble In Air instrumental
Blaine: I've had a physical disability since I was a child, Spina Biffida, which essentially, affects sort of development in- in my case in my legs. So, I've always used crutches to walk, since I was very young… I realised very young that I couldn't see it as an obstacle. I have like a high, high stool that I sit on because, yeah, I play the guitar so I need my hands free and obviously there's no way I'd stand for hours. Its kind of the most important thing is being able to be seen, so the chair has me at the same height, so we're all at kind of eye-level really, all at the same height on stage.
Where's backstage Barry, how do we get back there?
Man: Do you want me to show you the way?
Blaine: Is it just down there?
Man: No, it’s upstairs…
Blaine: It’s a pretty steep staircase so it’s not ideal really… Yeah it’s not the most practical place to get up to…
Nihal: Blaine roughs it on the road, while campaigning for improvements through his role as a patron of Attitude Is Everything.
Blaine: As a performer, I think I've often turned up at venues and found that backstage is too small, or it’s, you know, up a flight of stairs, which is what we've just found here, you know and therefore very hard to access. On our previous tour in 2010, we played- played a show at the Roundhouse in London, which is actually amazing for access. But then we had an after-party across the road and a bunch of people who were invited couldn't come- there wasn't a way of getting them up the steps and, um, it was really disappointing and it made me realise actually, we need to think a lot harder about making things available to everybody.
Nihal: Even rock stars don’t always get the red carpet treatment- particularly in small venues where space and budgets are limited, with both artists and punters reliant on the good will of the staff, to make things work.
Blaine: So, I'm talking to Stuart, um who works at the Rainbow and I was wondering what the access is like for wheelchair users, for example?
Stuart: In an older venue like this with, limited space, it sometimes can be quite difficult on the busier nights. We do, however, make as many allowances as we can. What is an issue is space- it is very confined. The corridors and stairs are both long and in order to get a stair lift in here you’re very much restricting the space. We’ve never had a problem where nobody’s been able to access everywhere in the venue- we will help to carry anybody down if they need it.
Blaine: Certainly when you start off, you know, you can't pick and choose as much in terms of where you are playing. Now, we're a lot more conscious when we're playing somewhere I always do think, you know, if I was to see this gig as a punter would I enjoy the experience? I'd love to say that we carry that ideal through to the nth degree, but I think if you're at a level where you're, you know, booking out arenas then I think you probably can do it, in the smaller venues, which is what this tour is, its a club tour for us, um, its, you kind of have to, you know, kind of have to improvise.
Nihal: It’s great to know that musicians like Blaine are doing their bit for access, while making amazing music & having truly universal appeal. But for a disabled artist just starting out, where can you go to work on your tunes, your beats, your rhymes, your moves?!
ACTUALITY UP: Squidz Club nightclub atmosphere
Mark Williams: I’m Mark Williams, I’m the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Heart and Soul- we work with people with learning disabilities who create original work. We’ll put on events, we’ll make films, support people to perform and release their own music, there’s dance, there’s VJ-ing, there’s digital work, so kind of across all art forms.
And tonight we’re at the Squidz Club, which is the nightclub that we run specifically for younger people, aged between 10 and 25.
Nihal: And once you’ve got the skills, how can you get yourself out there?
Robin: My name’s Robin and I’ve been coming to Heart and Soul for 2- 3 years and I’m 20 years old.
I really like pop music- sort of pop music I can dance to, really, Michael Jackson, Gypsy Kings really and Usher- that’s music I can really dance to. I come to Heart and Soul because I’m part of the steering group team because we discuss ideas for the Squidz Club. And I was a compere tonight (laughs) so I had to tell everyone what was going on… I’m on the autistic spectrum, that means I find things difficult, like going to new places, or work with new people I haven’t met before. If I was not here I wouldn’t get the support and the guidance I need and if I didn’t I would feel very, very anxious … I need care, at the moment, because I can do certain things but other things I can’t.
ACTUALITY UP: Live DJ set- Outkast Hey Ya!
Alex: My name’s Alex and I’m 16 and I’m doing VJ-ing. You mix all the videos and you mix the beat with the, with theDJs and you make these kind of video things, yeah. This is my first time that I’m doing VJing and I like it yeah and I’m enjoying it, yeah. I’ve been coming here for about two years and I did drama… and then I just thought I might as well change to another one and so that’s why I changed to VJing, yeah. The mainstream people that I usually go out and hang out with I don’t like it. I just like hanging out with people who have a disability like me, yeah. Because every time I go outside with all the other people they always bully mes, that’s why I like mixing with other people like me, yeah.
ACTUALITY UP: Live DJ set- Britney Spears Toxic
Aldine: Hello everybody, my name’s Aldine Blair, I came to Heart and Soul for 6 years and also I play the keyboard at Heart & Soul as well and sometimes I listen to pop, R&B, gospel and classical, and that’s- that’s the music I listen to.
I have the Klipperfeld Syndrome- it means I have a short neck… but the thing is, people with er- the mainstream people picking on the disabled people and they’re putting disability hate. That’s what it is. I don’t think I go mainstream clubs, I stay- I’d rather stick with Heart and Soul because it’s much safer than mainstream clubs because mainstream clubs you have people who drink too much beer and sometimes go violent and sometimes they get vomiting as well. But Heart and Soul you don’t do that, they don’t tolerate that. Heart and Soul just keep it cool and relax.
ACTUALITY UP- Live funk band/ crowd atmosphere
Mark Williams: I think it’s obviously up to individuals to go where they feel comfortable and I think integration doesn’t work if you force people together but if you gradually allow the space for that to happen and people to get to know each other, both sets of people feeling safe. Change needs to happen on both sides.
ACTUALITY UP- Live funk band/ crowd atmosphere- applause
Nihal: We’ve all got the right to do our own thing, to stick to what we know. But sometimes, we might want to mix it up a bit and put ourselves out there.
MUSIC BED- Ash Burn Baby Burn
How much choice do disabled music fans have over where they can go on a night out, and who they can go with? Is it a case of access all areas- or more like access denied? Charlotte, Anthony and Maddy have had some mixed experiences…
Charlotte: Sometimes, you do feel like you’re out on island, away from everybody else when you’re on a viewing platform. Sometimes it feels like you’re on show, like the disabled viewing platform is like the freak show or something.
Anthony: As much as I’d love to be in the mosh pits and stuff, it’s not gonna happen. So I tend to hang around more on the raised platforms, still close enough to enjoy the atmosphere but to a practical, safer distance! My friends love staying on the- on the viewing platforms with me because they get a better view of- they get, you know, toilets that they can use close by and stuff so they love the benefit of the assistant pass that they can be there with me (laughs). They’re normally fighting over the tickets of who wants to come!
Maddy: I often have to travel a further distance to the bigger venues, because they are more prepared with sort of on-site parking, which means waiting for the bigger artists to choose the bigger venues. It’s been a while since I’ve been to an intimate gig just because it’s really hard for me to get there.
Charlotte: To have an amazing gig experience, there definitely has to be an accessible toilet, one non-disabled people won’t use. When they started the Somerset gigs, at Somerset House and they didn’t have an accessible toilet within the area that was open to the public- they had one behind the stage- I opened the door and I found Tim Wheeler from Ash in the toilet, looking terribly embarrassed, because as far as he was concerned, it was backstage. But I thought, he could have at least locked the door (laughs)!
MUSIC UP- Ash: Burn Baby Burn. Chorus- ‘Burn baby burn. Look into my tired eyes, see someone that you don’t recognise, binds that can’t be untied, yeah this is slow suicide, feelings that I can’t disguise-’
Nihal: Now I don’t know about you, but I like to catch my music on the fly- see what takes my fancy on the Twitter feed and be impulsive- head to a secret gig while it’s still so cool, the band doesn’t even know about it yet! But for many disabled people, going to a gig they’ll remember for all the right reasons takes some seriously careful planning…
Maddy: No I can never be spontaneous, unfortunately, with a gig, I would love to be able to just turn up one day and get last minute tickets, but it’s not really an option because at the moment- it probably will improve but at the moment they’re just not prepared enough for anybody who can’t go in the normal way.
Nihal: But it’s not just the average punter who feels this way- here’s someone who knows more than most about what it takes to get the best out of a gig…
MUSIC BED- Sugababes No More You
Jade Ewen: Hi, this is Jade Ewen. I’m a member of the Sugababes. Erm, well basically my sister and I grew up as young carers, for my parents. My Dad is fully blind and my Mum is partially sighted but in more recent years, my Mum developed another condition called Myasthenia, which affects her immune system and sort of her muscles and her ability to walk about freely. Music has been so important to my life, but definitely my family’s lives, like it’s our main source of entertainment in the household, music is something that we can all share equally. Trying to take them to concerts or any music events, it’s difficult. The last thing I invited my family to was our album launch, and it was really lovely for them, because I was able to make sure they were really taken care of, they were seated right at the front, erm, he was able to bring his guide dog, so they got to enjoy their evening stress free for a change. Oh, to be honest, if I wasn’t there making sure that everything was taken care of, they don’t tend to go to any events or anything- it’s just not worth the hassle. They’d rather either just listen to it on the radio or buy a CD (laughs)! Which isn’t nice, but, it’s the truth, it’s just, I just, yeah, it’s difficult.
Nihal: I’m Nihal and this is Let Me Into the Music- the story of whether live music really is open to everyone- on BBC Radio 1.
MUSIC UP- Florence and the Machine What The Water Gave Me chorus: ‘Lay me down, let the only sound be the overflow-’
Nihal: If you’ve gotta make a masterplan just to go on a night out, then knowledge is definitely power-
Charlotte: Generally it isn’t the access, whoever’s organising has had it in mind but they haven’t sort of transmitted the information about exactly how it’s going to work to the people that you end up speaking to. The people that you get on the end of the phone go ‘oh, I don’t know, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a viewing platform, I don’t know how big it’ll be, I don’t know whether we’ll give free tickets to PAs or whether you’ll both need to have a full price ticket, and everyone you speak to has a different take on it.
Tom Baker: I’m Tom Baker and I run Eat Your Own Ears. EYOE is a promotions company, er- promote a whole variety of acts from Four Tet to Florence and the Machine, we also run the Field Day which is a festival in Victoria Park. We have as much information as possible on the Field Day website about access and then this year there’s an interactive map, you know we can basically edit the information as we go.
Nihal: So getting the right information can be crucial when you’re deciding whether to splash your cash at one venue or another. Our intrepid mobility-scooter-user Maddy found a venue that kept her guessing but definitely deserved a closer look. So for Radio 1, she went behind the scenes, out of hours, at one of London’s most legendary venues that’s played host to everyone from The Clash to The Killers:
MUSIC UP- The Killers Glamorous Indie Rock n’ Roll chorus: ‘Glamorous indie rock n’ roll is what I want-’
ACTUALITY UP- Camden High Street atmosphere
Maddy: I’ve come here today for a tour of the Electric Ballroom to check out their disabled access. There’s no information on their website, I had a look before I came, so let’s check it out.
SFX- Buzzer sounds, traffic and siren in the background, chain unlocking
Brian: Hello, I’m Brian.
Maddy: Hi, nice to meet you, I’m Maddy.
MUSIC UP- The Killers Glamorous Indie Rock n’ Roll chords
SFX- Door slam, traffic outside
Brian: (on the street) We’re gonna go this way, so a member of the staff, probably one of the front door staff, would bring Maddy around the building to the back entrance, where all the staff and VIPs come in, and it’s on one level, so there’s no stairs.
Nihal: Getting in is definitely half the battle, but would the venue tick any of Maddy’s other boxes- facilities, attitude, atmosphere? It’s not often you get a venue all to yourself, so she was definitely up for exploring…
Maddy: We’re just, er, going to have a look and see the lowered part of the bar.
Brian: And as you can see the door is much lower than the rest of the bar (squeaking sound as door opens) and there’s a small ramp here so a person can wheel a wheelchair up against it or up to it. And the staff will immediately see the person there.
Maddy: In terms of the bar staff- they’ve all been trained to be aware of wheelchair users coming to the venue, I would imagine?
Brian: The bar staff know that we welcome people with disabilities, and they should treat them as anyone else, in fact probably give them preferential treatment because they’ve got enough to deal with already, basically.
MUSIC UP- The Killers Glamorous Indie Rock n’ Roll chords
Maddy: So in order to provide support do you rely on the audience member coming to you and telling you that you have a disability?
Brian: It’s certainly very helpful to us, because if we have to spot this for ourselves it may sometimes get missed.
Maddy: So if I was here to come to watch a band, where’s the sort of wheelchair area?
Brian: Um, it’s on the platform in front of the stage, just about 30 feet away from the stage, so er, you’d get the best view in the house.
Maddy: What’s the procedure with tickets?
Brian: You’d buy a ticket in the normal way from a ticket agency or on the Internet. If you had a carer with you, that person would be admitted free of charge. They wouldn’t need to get a ticket of any sort, we’d simply let them in.
Maddy: The fact that you can just turn up makes it a lot easier to be spontaneous.
Brian: It’s easier for us and it’s easier for you, (laughs) so why not do it?
Nihal: Maddy found that the this vintage venue really had pulled out all the stops on the access front, from step-free entrances to platforms in pole position, a hassle-free plus-one policy and accommodating staff. The only thing was- she didn’t know any of that until she got there!
Maddy: Having looked at your website there was nothing on there that told me you had wheelchair access. I think a small amount of information would have meant I would be on the phone straight away, asking what I can do?
Brian: Well that’s a really good point. It’s quite remiss of us not to do that, I’ll make sure that’s dealt with straight away! And, er, Maddy, praps you can give me some help in explaining what we should put on the website to let people know?
Maddy: Thank you very much for showing me around your venue/ lovely to meet you.
Brian: Thank you for coming and I hope to see you again soon.
Maddy: Thank you.
Nihal: Big up yourself, Maddy! So far, we’ve heard a lot about access for music lovers with mobility issues- but what I really wanna know is- what you get out of going to a gig if you’re deaf…
MUSIC- Hot Chip: Ready for the Floor chorus: ‘Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it now.’
Lindsey Dryden: My name’s Lindsey Dryden, I’m a documentary director and producer, I’ve just made my first feature doc which is a film about deafness, music and the brain, called Lost and Sound. I’ve been partially deaf since I was three, I’m completely deaf in one ear and the other ear’s completely fine as far as I know. I’ve always, always gone to gigs and festivals… Music is made up of more than just sound. I think if you have to find music in a way other than simply hearing it, then actually your experience of it can be enriched- so deafness doesn’t have to be a disability, it can be a superpower that allows you new ways into something amazing.
MUSIC UP- Hot Chip Ready for the Floor electro/ beats instrumental
Nihal: In the future then, we could start to see more and more people on stage who aren’t there to play music, they’re there to sign it. And I’m not talking about the autographs!
Vicky Nunn: My name’s Vicky Nunn, I’m a British Sign Language Interpreter. So my job basically involves working with deaf BSL users, um, interpreting from spoken English into British Sign Language and vice-versa. I think a lot of people think British Sign Language is mime or like the game charades, people don’t realise it’s a language within it’s own right.
When I sign for live music events, it’s not just about signing the words of the song but it’s about giving an idea of the atmosphere and the beat and the musicality and I think that’s really important, that deaf people have that kind of access to live music. I think a lot of music events aren’t accessible for deaf people. I don’t know of many that have BSL interpreters, even in the smaller gigs.
Nihal: So when the mainstream leaves you lost in translation, you might just have to make sense of music for yourself. That’s just what deaf DJ Troi Lee, AKA DJ Chinaman, did when he started Deaf Rave in Hackney. Yeah, you heard me – Deaf Rave!
MUSIC BED: Flux Pavilion Bass Cannon beats/ synth instrumental
Lindsey Dryden: Deaf Rave hold parties for deaf people, where the music is played so loudly the vibrations are really, really obvious, they’re really easy to pick up on. Um, the lyrics to music are signed and there’s lots of visuals, and so that music is a multi-sensory experience in that environment.
MUSIC UP: Flux Pavilion Bass Cannon chorus: ‘Let the Bass Cannon kick it!’
Katrina Jones: Hello, my name is Katrina Jones. I was born profoundly deaf…
Nihal: Katrina Jones is a deaf raver, whose words are being spoken by an actor.
Actress Maddy Hill reading Katrina Jones’ words: I was born profoundly deaf, I’m from Peckham. I’m an artist and photographer. I like any music with heavy beats so I can feel the beats very well, mostly hard house. I started going to deaf raves since I was 13 years old. Now, I am 23 years old. What’s special about deaf raves is everybody else are deaf and can socialise without hearing people in the way. The music are mostly heavy bass. There are some deaf performers we can admire too!
Nihal: But it’s not like we live in parallel universes! Sometimes, even deaf ravers need to take a break from the bass…
Katrina Jones: I prefer to go to mainstream clubs….
Actress voicing Katrina: I prefer to go to a mainstream club because everybody else dances. I love dancing. In deaf raves, most of the deaf people prefer to sit down and talk. Going to a mainstream club, it can be difficult to dance comfortably and follow the beats. I usually find giant speakers and end up hugging them! However, a few months ago I got new hearing aids I now hear music a lot better and feel less left out in a mainstream club.
Nihal: But now it is possible to get the best of both worlds- a new clubbing phenomenon called Sencity is breaking down the sound barriers. DJ Goldierocks was on the decks at Sencity’s UK debut at the O2 Arena, last October-
MUSIC UP: Uffie feat. Pharell Williams A.D.D S.U.V (Armand Van Helden remix)
Goldierocks: Hey, I’m Goldierocks and this is my deaf friendly, Sencity vibration mix. It’s a very short example of some of the tracks I played on the night- drum and bass, erm Moombahton, erm, any electro remixes with a really heavy lick and like a really sort of heavy drop. I played an Adele remix, and a signer actually came on and signed the words to the song, everyone loved that cos everyone was signing along, and it was a really, it was a really lovely moment. Going to Sencity was a really unique experience, as a DJ, as a performer. There was, sort of a, aroma girls, they were called aroma jockeys, who sort of created smells along with my music, so if I played say, a sort of Katie Perry remix, they start playing, making bubblegum smells, and sort of sweet, candyfloss smells at the beginning, and then, as it sort of went into a dirty drop and a heavy electro beat underneath it, erm, they’d make the smells kinda, spicy and of dark chocolate and things that were a bit richer and heavier. So, my mix. The first half is essentially the tracks that I chose, as perhaps it was coming through, you know, my headphones, my cans. Erm, so it was clear and crisp and what you’d hear in a normal club.
MUSIC UP: Uffie feat. Pharell Williams A.D.D S.U.V (Armand Van Helden remix)
Pharell vocal: ‘Ooh, I gotta call my friend. Wait a minute- what I say I’d gotta do again? Minute to minute, I feel like I’m in the Movie Momento but I don’t have a pen. Wait a minute hey, hey, this is the type of beat that make the ghetto girls play, Take a hit of haze, it’s in the drain, You wish you’d seen P, man, you know she couldn’t hate, That ghetto P and that ghetto cash, my Ghetto eyes on her ghetto ass, You probably wanna know what planet we on…’
(vocal deteriorates as it mixes into Katy Perry California Gurls-MSTKRFT remix- sound becomes muddy and muffled)
Goldierocks: The second, is really probably what they heard on the dance floor. The bass is turned way, way up and the top level is turned down and it means that you can’t particularly hear the vocals that clearly. The second mix perhaps sounds quite distorted and unpleasant, to you know, to a standard hearer but you can rest assured that on the night, that the whole dance floor was pumping through.
MUSIC UP- thudding bass from Katy Perry California Gurls-MSTKRFT remix
Goldierocks: They have this amazing dance floor, which is all set to sot of go along with the vibrations and bass of the music. So if you go and- what I did- lie on the floor, you can feel it just vibrating through your whole body. And it means that people, depending on the scale of their hearing ability, can feel the bass and rhythm of the music and dance together even if they don’t have particularly good hearing.
MUSIC UP- thudding bass from Katy Perry California Gurls-MSTKRFT remix
Goldierocks: Lots of people there aren’t deaf, so you do have to be careful about it being too loud. And I was tempted to just keep cranking it because you want the bass to be heavier and heavier and you want these vibrations to be heavier. I did wear ear plugs, um because it was a little bit too loud for me. The other thing that I really found myself doing was actually putting my hand on my monitor speaker which I would never normally do so that I could feel exactly what they were feeling on the dance floor because I just felt that it seemed more appropriate, it seemed that I really sort of, part of the gang, you know, getting involved and raving at this event.
MUSIC UP- reverts from muffled, low frequency to clear mix on ‘oh-oh-oh’ vocal from Katy Perry California Gurls-MSTKRFT remix
Katrina: When I can’t hear music I still feel the music…
Actress voicing Katrina: When I can’t hear music, I still feel the music. I can feel music all over my body, especially in my chest. It felt surreal. Mostly I focus on feeling the music from my feet and sometimes it spreads all over my body. Feeling the music makes me relaxed and content – like, yeah I can ‘hear’ the music. Actually I was a design manager for Sencity London, but I did go to Sencity Utrecht in Holland two years ago. It was amazing, literally the best party I’ve been to. It felt good to have a full access to music. There are aromas jockey where I can ‘smell’ the music, and visual boards where I can ‘read’ the music, and mini ice creams where I can ‘taste’ the music, and a vibrating floor where I can ‘feel’ the music.
Nihal: Wow. I think I’m gonna need some industrial strength ear plugs!
IDENT: BBC Radio 1 Stories
Nihal: We’ve checked out venues of all shapes and sizes, strayed from the mainstream into the alternative scene and gone back again. So with summer on the way, are we all gonna be catching festival fever?
MUSIC UP- The Vaccines Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) chorus: ‘Pretty girl. Wreckin’ bar. Ra, ra, ra, yeah you are. Growing up I’m twice the man, yeah yeah yeah yeah, yeah I am-’
Maddy: I have always wanted to go to a festival- I’ve never really thought it would be an option, particularly an easy one, somebody in a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Stewart: My sister has been to Reading Festival, and Rahzel was there. So when he was on stage she gave me a call, so I was like hearing it, and the whole set was just amazing. I just sat there with the phone to my ear for half an hour, and I was just like – that’s amazing! I wish I could go to Reading Festival and festivals like that. I’m worried that if I do go there, say the weather’s not good, and it’s full of mud, or you know like there’s no safety barriers, people could crash into me through the mosh pits and stuff.
Anthony: Part of going to a fest is all about roughing it yeah, you can’t expect to go there and you know, roll out the red carpet and you float to your seat with no problems, you know? Everyone’s there to- it’s a busy place- everyone’s there having a good time, you got- there are things you’ve gotta deal with but I think they try and make things as comfortable as possible for you. When we go to Reading Fest, luckily my best friend who comes with me, his- his Mum lives not too far way, in Reading so she drops us off first thing in the morning and then comes and then comes and picks us up again at 3, 4 o’clock in the morning, um and then does the same again. We’re lucky in that sense.
Nihal: Now here’s a man who knows a thing or two about festivals…
Rob da Bank: Hello boys & girls, Rob da Bank here on Radio 1.
So, yeah with my festival hat on, I run Bestival and Camp Bestival. Bestival on the Isle of Wight, for 50,000 people in September and Camp Bestival for 30,000 in Dorset in July.
MUSIC UP- The Vaccines Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
Rob da Bank: It’s so important that people get equal access to live music, whether it’s in concert venues or festivals. Obviously festivals a totally different kettle o’fish. A much more challenging kind of environment for anyone, whether you’re able-bodied or disabled. We offer a free carer ticket for a person with a disability, the opportunity for all people with a blue badge to drive to the campsite, avoiding queues and they can park next to their tent, people can camp with their close friends and families in the disability access campsite, trying not to kind of separate people over the weekends, and er possibly the cleanest toilets, the cleanest showers on site, too.
Nihal: Now, it’s true we’ve all got to wait until 2013 for this one, but plans are already taking shape down at Worthy Farm…
MUSIC OUT- The Vaccines Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
Emily Eavis: Hi, I’m Emily Eavis from Glastonbury Festival. I think everybody deserves-
MUSIC BED- Pulp This Is Hardcore instrumental
Emily Eavis: a right to see a band or experience a festival live, you know, whoever you are. We’ve got a full time disabled access person and I mean obviously, you know, this site is not designed for wheelchairs, specifically, it’s gonna be difficult because it’s a farm and there’s a lot of tracks and with the weather you can kind of get quagmire quite easily and so it makes it quite difficult but within that, we try and build an infrastructure that makes it as easy as possible for people with disabilities to get around and enjoy the festival. I mean it’s certainly much, much better now than what it was. A friend of mine, her Mum is blind and she comes to the festival every year and she goes on all the platforms and she has as much fun here as anyone else. It’s great that that can happen isn’t it? … that it’s made as easy as possible for her and other people with disabilities.
Nihal: Vicky Nunn
Vicky Nunn: When I’m signing at a festival it’s completely a performance… you’re showing BSL and you’re also giving a little bit of deaf-awareness as well, I think, because people think ‘oh, there’s an interpreter over there, well what are deaf people doing at a music festival?’ So I think the best experience I’ve had interpreting at a festival was signing for Pulp-
MUSIC UP- Pulp This Is Hardcore vocal: ‘Oh this is hardcore! There is no way back for you. Oh this is hardcore!’
Vicky Nunn: I think I was buzzing for about three hours after I finished doing it. The song that I enjoyed doing the most was This Is Hardcore cos it’s just so rude, and you can just be so playful with it and I got a lot of sort of looks from the hearing punters thinking ‘what’s she doing for that?’
Nihal: Tom Baker is from Eat Your Own Ears
Tom Baker: I think it’s easier to make a festival site more accessible than a venue as you’re working with a blank canvas, you know, you’ve got a field and you’re putting everything into that and you’re building a site from scratch so you can have control over you know what works and what’s accessible.
Nihal: Festivals now seem to be leading the way on access, for the rest of the live music industry to follow. But this hasn’t always been the case…
John Probyn: My name’s John Probyn, I’m the Chief Operating Officer of Live Nation Music in the UK. Live Nation are the world’s largest concert promoter and festival organiser. The main festivals that Live Nation operate are the Download Festival at Donnington Park in the Midlands, and in Hyde Park we have Wireless and Hard Rock Calling festivals. Our policy on disabled access has come along way, the main reason for that is that four years ago we were- we had a threat of somebody to take us to the Court of Human Rights, because of an incident that happened at one of our festivals and we realised there were a number of problems- one- the first one was on point of contact when people telephoned to book tickets there was no specialised help, also when they arrived on site it was exactly the same problem. So the first thing we did was we appointed an Access Manager. Sally knows exactly who’s coming, what their disabilities are, what their requirements are, and by doing that we can offer a full service to them, as we should do.
Nihal: On my quest to find out what it takes for as many people as possible to be let into the music, I’ve learnt that access is about venues being inventive
MUSIC BED- Mystery Jets: Dreaming of Another World instrumental
Nihal: and allowing punters to be independent. It’s safe to say equal access has come a long way since a near-death experience led to the birth of Attitude is Everything, back in 2000. But, the people I’ve met who deal with access every day of their lives are not about to hang up their wristbands yet. Here’s where they’d like to see access heading in the future…
Charlotte: If there could be one change, which I think would be quite simple and wouldn’t require too much hassle for other people, it would just be for people at venues and at festivals to connect up. Just more kind of connected up staff-awareness.
Cara: I think if there was one thing I could change about live music it would be if disabled people could have 10, 15 minutes to go into the gig before anyone else so they could get comfortable, they didn’t have to deal with the crowds.
Stewart: Give places that aren’t wheelchair friendly or as wheelchair friendly, you know like send them a letter saying- by this date you must have wheelchair access, or improve it, or your licence or something gets taken away.
Suzanne Bull: Scotland is leading the way in its licensing policy, making access a condition of licence was a major step forward. I really do hope the rest of the UK follows and we can bring that into licensing, because it isn’t bureaucratic and it isn’t costly.
Tom Baker: Signing up to Attitude is Everything for all the events we run? I think yes, we would definitely be interested in that- I think it’s be a challenge because there’s obviously venues that don’t have lifts or there are restrictions, just cos of the nature of the venue, and I think that would probably would, you know cause obstacles but it’s something to discuss.
Vicky: Depending on the size of the festival or the size of the event will depend on where the interpreter stands but obviously for the bigger festivals it’s just logistically impossible for us to be on the stage and to be seen. The only way that we could do it if we were on the stage is if we had a video camera on us and it was flashed up on the big screen as well, which is something that we’d really like to do and we’ve been fighting for but it hasn’t yet happened but I think that would be true access for me, because then the deaf audience could stand anywhere they wanted to in the crowd and they could still see their interpreter.
Mark Williams: I absolutely believe that the future is inclusive, I think it’s a gradual process, whereby people are able to establish themselves on their own terms, and in situations which they feel comfortable.
MUSIC UP- Mystery Jets: Dreaming of Another World instrumental
Jade Ewen: It’s not just about the performers, it’s about the whole atmosphere of, you know, being part of the audience. My Dad always talks about that and he’s like ‘oh, you could really feel the energy.’ I wish that he could do more of it, because, erm, it would make a real difference.
MUSIC UP- Mystery Jets: Dreaming of Another World chorus: ‘Dreaming of another world, dreaming of another world, dreaming of another you, always seem to talk all through the night, and you always seem to make it home alright.’
Nihal: I’m Nihal and you’ve been listening to Let Me Into the Music on BBC Radio One.
Cara: I think that everyone should have the right to go and enjoy that feeling and that buzz of the gig.
Blaine: You come to see a band and you're kind of sucked out of the real world and you have a few drinks and its an escape. But, everyone should be entitled to that escape, that's the thing.
MUSIC UP- Mystery Jets: Dreaming of Another World vocal: ‘We stretch our limbs and walk into the light, there’s nothing left to say, sleep is for the dead, it’s time to live out the dreams inside your head. Dreaming of another world, dreaming of another world, dreaming of another world, dreaming of another you… (reverb and fade out).
ACTUALITY UP- Live applause, crowd cheering in music venue.
IDENT: BBC Radio 1 Stories