Festival season: access a few more areas

Music festivals and accessibility: image from the Chase Park Festival 2013
Music festivals and accessibility: the Chase Park Festival 2013

Summer festival season is underway and in just over a week, a new event in the North East will help grow the burgeoning accessible live music scene.

Inclusivity and access are not (yet) par for the course at live arts venues and events (as my family and I have found out), but the concepts are at least becoming more commonplace at music festivals.

The Middlehaven Festival in Middlesborough on Saturday 23, run by care specialists Keiro, builds on the success of the Chase Park Festival in Gateshead (the Gateshead event was established by Paul Belk; Belk, who has used a wheelchair since his brain injury, was supported at the Keiro rehabilitation centre that lent the Chase Park festival its name).

Middlehaven offers level boardwalks and wheelchair access, specialist toilets, hoisting and changing facilities, a hearing loop and a sensory “chill out” area and on-site medical services.

The images here, taken from last year’s Chase Park Festival, give you a flavour of what to expect- and what other venues and events should aspire to. For more information, check the Middlehaven website and Attitude is Everything, which works with the live music sector to improve access for deaf and disabled people.

* This is the last Social Issue post till September as the blog takes a summer break.

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