Encouraging Independent Festivals to Embrace MU’s Access Rider

UK Festivals Embrace Musicians’ Union Access Rider

The Association Of Independent Festivals in the UK has officially endorsed the Musicians’ Union Access Rider. This initiative allows artists to clearly outline their access requirements when booked by a promoter. To promote this scheme among its members, AIF is conducting a webinar this Wednesday to explain how festivals can incorporate these riders as a standard part of their artist contracting process.

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The development of the Access Rider was a response to research revealing that performers with disabilities or long-term health conditions often do not communicate their access needs to promoters due to concerns about future work opportunities.

A study by Harbourside Artist Management in 2021 found that 88% of such performers sometimes or never disclose their impairment or condition, with 69% acknowledging that this decision jeopardized their health and safety.

Improving Inclusivity in the Industry

The Musicians’ Union emphasizes the importance of event organizers proactively inquiring about performers’ access needs during the booking and contracting process. By collaborating with disabled musicians, they developed the Access Rider to streamline this communication and ensure that access requirements are met effectively.

Kelly Wood from the Musicians’ Union explained, “A universal Access Rider created by musicians with lived experience is the best approach to engage artists in conversations about access requirements.”

AIF’s endorsement of this initiative marks a significant step towards creating a more equitable industry for all musicians. By amplifying the voices of disabled musicians and collectively addressing the barriers they face, the industry aims to foster a more inclusive environment.

CEO John Rostron expressed his support, stating, “AIF member festivals strive to be inclusive and accessible spaces for audiences, crew, and artists alike.”

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Encouraging Dialogue and Collaboration

A webinar for AIF members has been scheduled for this Wednesday at midday, led by MU member and Cheltenham Festivals Innovation Manager, Andrew Lansley. Lansley lauds the Access Rider as a valuable community-generated tool that facilitates discussions between artists, managers, and event staff on how to support musicians during their performances.

Lansley shared his personal experience, stating, “It has completely transformed how I approach performances, enhancing communication with event organizers about my on-stage requirements. I am committed to assisting venues, festivals, and musicians in benefiting from this effective solution.”

In conclusion, the collaboration between the Association Of Independent Festivals and the Musicians’ Union to endorse the Access Rider signifies a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible music industry for all. By prioritizing communication and understanding individual access needs, the initiative aims to enhance the overall experience for artists and audience members alike. This commitment to inclusivity sets a positive precedent for future practices within the music festival landscape.

It is imperative for industry stakeholders to continue supporting initiatives like the Access Rider to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all musicians. By working together and prioritizing accessibility, the music industry can truly become a creative space that welcomes and celebrates artists of all abilities.



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