Accessibility All Areas? UK live music industry perceptions of current practice and Information and Communication Technology improvements to accessibility for music festival attendees who are Deaf or disabled.

Bossey, Adrian ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9874-6323 (2020) Accessibility All Areas? UK live music industry perceptions of current practice and Information and Communication Technology improvements to accessibility for music festival attendees who are Deaf or disabled. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 11 (1). pp. 6-25. ISSN 1785-2954

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Abstract / Summary

This paper responds to a range of theory and industry reporting, to provide an informed narrative which explores the current state of accessibility at UK festivals for people who are Deaf or disabled and the potential implications of developments in ICT for enhancing design, marketing, operations and performances across all phases of festival delivery, in order to improve inclusivity and accessibility. To this end, the paper addresses the following question: What do representatives of the UK live music industry perceive as barriers to accessibility and exemplars of current best practice for music festival attendees who are Deaf or disabled? What do representatives of the UK live music industry consider as the role of ICT to increase accessibility for music festival attendees who are Deaf or disabled?
Primary research focussed on supply side considerations with a sample group of 10 UK live music industry professionals. The scope of the research was limited geographically to England and by artform to open-air music festivals, venues which host some music festival provision, and a Sector Support Organisation. Open questions elucidated qualitative information around; awareness of accessibility & inclusivity initiatives; potential for co-creation; non-digital improvements; current technological influences; and potential digital futures for accessible ‘live’ experiences. A conceptual framework was constructed and semi structured face to face interviews were carried out with 6 respondents and 4 respondents completed a structured, self-administered e-mail questionnaire.
Findings include: ICT can facilitate enhanced dialogue with existing and potential audience members who are Deaf or disabled to both; reduce existing social exclusion (Duffy et al 2019) and improve the visitor experience for all attendees. All respondents agreed that physical enhancements are important and some mentioned communications and customer care. Respondents reported increasingly ambitious usages of ICT at music festivals, which may support suggestions of a virtual experience trend (Robertson et al 2015). On-line ticketing systems have potential to grant equal functionality to people who are Deaf or disabled, as recommended by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (2015).Respondents broadly welcomed the potential for positive impacts of ICT on increasingly accessible live experiences at music festivals which retained a sense of authenticity and ‘liveness’. Challenges around ‘as live’ ICT derived experiences were identified including risks of creating second class experiences for Deaf and disabled attendees.
The limitations of this case study include the small sample size and limited scope.
Promoters should: Consider further developing the co-creation of accessibility initiatives, utilising ICT to both deliver improvements and engage with potential audience members who are Deaf or disabled. Seek to pro-actively recruit staff members who are Deaf or disabled and significantly increase their programming of performers who are Deaf or disabled. Consider reviewing their ticketing processes for music festivals, to identify accessibility challenges for audience members and implement appropriate ICT based solutions. Consider maximising accessibility benefits for audience members who are Deaf or disabled from existing ICT provision on site and explore additional bespoke ICT solutions at music festivals.
The ‘snapshot’ of digital aspects of accessibility at UK festivals within this research is of particular value due to paucity of other research in this area and it’s narrative from varied industry professionals. The paper makes recommendations to promoters, academics and public funders; to attempt to advance inclusion (or at least to mitigate current exclusion) and identify directions for future research into accessible digital experiences at music festivals for people who are Deaf or disabled.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-03-2019-0022
ISSN: 1785-2954
Subjects: Business
Music
Music > Popular Music
Courses by Department: Business School > Business Entrepreneurship
Depositing User: Adrian Bossey
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2020 12:46
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 16:12
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/3803

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