Written by Keely (intern 2021)
I have been going to gigs for as long as I could remember, from the Wiggles to One Direction and everything in between. I have also seen a lot in that time, from people with various disabilities getting asked to leave a bar because they walked like they were drunk to watching from afar as a group of festival-goers carry someone in a wheelchair across a muddy field so that they can use a bathroom. These events and memories in particular have had me reflecting and more recently, questioning what it was like for the people involved.
Music and live events are a great way to relax and come together with your friends and celebrate the finer things in life but for some, they come with a lot of planning, preparations and anxieties. This post is about the different ways we can actively be a more inclusive and accessible audience and ensure that everyone has a great night.
In my opinion, the first step is being aware and considerate of the people around you. This means being conscious of the language you're using, the space around you and how the people surrounding you are feeling. For example; if you see a person using a mobility device, ensure that you are not standing or blocking their view, or if you see someone who looks lonely and anxious, check in and ask if you can assist them in anyway.
The second step is to not judge those around you or make assumptions. Remember, not all disabilities are visible. If you see a person who may not have a visible disability using an accessible bathroom, it is important not to make an assumption or call out someone using the bathroom.
Lastly, be an ally. If you see a person using inappropriate language or exhibiting offensive behaviour, call it out. It is important we support one another and are able to enjoy live music equally.