“In a time where live streams have become one of the most popular ways of experiencing live music, people are getting the chance to experience performances they may not previously have had the chance to see. However, if barriers are not removed, the lack of physically being present at an event can sometimes feel like yet another lack of connection for Deaf and disabled people at a time when many already feel isolated due to the pandemic. This is why it’s so important that live streams are accessible to everyone.” – Sophie, live music fan
Imagine not being able to enjoy a gig online or take part in a Q&A with your favourite artists?
For Deaf and disabled fans, as live music shifted from venues to online platforms, this became a real worry. From Laura Marling and Frank Turner to the Wigmore Hall and Royal Opera House, artists, venues, and promoters have been looking to platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to continue bringing live music to audiences in new and exciting ways. And while live streaming may not have the same obvious issues regarding accessibility, such as steps, high bars and inaccessible toilets, online streaming comes with its own set of challenges. Captioning, good lighting, releasing set lists prior to the gig and having comfort breaks are only some of the ways you can make your live streamed gigs accessible for all.
Learning to navigate a new way of bringing live performances to an audience can be daunting, which is why Attitude is Everything has created an Online Music Events Access Guide, with tips and tricks to ensure that your gig reaches the widest audience possible. It includes guidance for live music spaces of all sizes, from arenas to grassroots venues, and is full of suggestions to ensure that everyone can enjoy your online performance.
Ruth Patterson, lead singer of Holy Moly and the Crackers, kick-started her Sage Gateshead residency with a series of online events in June. To ensure that the event was accessible, it was decided that the gig would be pre-recorded so that it could be professionally captioned prior to the event. This is only one of the options available to performers, venues and promoters when it comes to accessible online content – if you’d prefer your performance to be literally live, captioning options are available, as are audio description services and British Sign Language interpreters. You can find contact information for charities that offer these services in the guide.
As performance spaces begin to slowly open to audiences, venues will still be relying on live streaming to connect with their audiences, so it is vital that they are accessible to all.
You can find our Online Access guide here.