Has the pandemic made live music more accessible?

Live music crowd

Photo taken in Aachen, Germany - Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm

The barrier of inclusivity in the music industry is nothing new.

For years, the deaf and disabled community have campaigned to enforce access to all for years.

Organisations such as Drake Music and Attitude is Everything have pioneered the way for accessible music technology in a bid to enable all to create and experience music. 

Following an extensive report highlighting the key disparities in access to live music, UK venues and rehearsal spaces have been under fire in recent years for failing to ensure inclusivity in the industry. 

A survey conducted by Attitude is Everything highlights the key disparities in industry access, with 70 per cent of disabled musicians expressing how they have hidden their disability, in fear that their relationship with promoters, venue owners and festival organisers could be compromised.  

The survey also highlights the need for better access provisions such as toilet facilities and step-free access. 

With the coronavirus pandemic making life for some even more isolating and challenging, there have been some positives when it comes to the accessibility of music. 

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The shift from physical to virtual events have given the deaf and disabled community some improved accessibility to the music world which in real life, simply wouldn’t be feasible due to the barriers which many people face. 

Riviera FM DJ Paul Kay talks about how the shift from physical to digital has meant that he hasn’t had to worry about whether he is able to access music venues or not. 

He said: “I’ve listened to more live music in 2020 than I have my whole life. Not having to worry whether a venue has suitable access for my needs means that I can enjoy live music like everyone else. I’ve also discovered new artists that I probably would never have listened to, had it not been for the way artists have adapted to the pandemic.”  

However, the music industry still has a long way to go in ensuring access for all.  Key players must continue to learn and adapt to further enhance the ability to create and experience music for deaf and disabled musicians and industry professionals, especially in our post-coronavirus world.