I've always loved music. I can remember sitting in the car with my mum and little sister during the school holidays. We'd drive around visiting friends. The cassettes were always playing loudly. We'd all be singing along.
I also remember my dad taking me to a concert when I was around 10 years old. The Lighthouse Family. It was amazing being in a room with hundreds of people in Cambridge. All enjoying someone else's creativity.
Going to music events was a bit like my travel experiences. As a child my family arranged everything. I simply got to enjoy each experience so much. In adulthood, living in Coventry university, and wanting to be more independent (and adventurous). I had to dream experiences up, research them, plan and execute the music adventures myself.
My first big trip was to T in the Park. In Scotland! I went with my girlfriend at the time, my step brother, and his girlfriend at the time. We got our tickets online, as everyone did. We decided to drive in my adapted car and take my hoist. I decided camping was not an option, so I opted for a nearby hotel.
Unfortunately the person on the T in the park helpline said Glasgow was our best bet. Having booked a hotel there, it was only on arrival that we found out it was 90 minutes to the festival! Meaning I'd not only driven to Scotland, but would need to shuttle back and forth each day for an hour and a half.
You live and you learn.
Once inside the festival I had one other barrier to contend with. Despite the raised viewing platforms for disabled people, the rain had soaked the ground. Which we still had to go over in between the stages and refreshments. I was wheel spinning and kicking up mud everywhere :-)
Nonetheless it was an amazing experience. We saw Brandon Flowers from the Killers backstage. Plus all of our favourite bands on stage. There was an electricity in the air. A real compassion and joy between people. Something I'll never forget.
I'd got the gig bug!
After this festival I never went quite as far away, or booked a hotel so far from the venue. However I went to multiple festivals, loads of gigs, and even met Pete Doherty from the Libertines at the Cambridge junction backstage.
So I've had barriers, mishaps, and awesome experiences. As you can imagine it wasn't all so accessible decades ago. There were no raised platforms or accessible toilets. Even today there are still difficulties and challenges to overcome.
When Suzanne Bull from Attitude is Everything agreed to be on the podcast, I was so excited. I really wanted to know how the progress had been made. What had been difficult and joyful in getting access to music events. Also what else lay ahead in their plans.
It was fascinating to hear how most large venues are so much better now. Also how it's the smaller venues that need advice and guidance on accessibility. Rome wasn't built in a day.
I hope you enjoy listening to this episode. I came away feeling very uplifted. Music really gives a natural high. Something all people should experience. Both alone and in a big community. If you haven't been to a gig or festival, please make it happen.
If you'd like to read more about Attitude is Everything. Particularly if you'd like to support them with mystery shopping (including free tickets to events) then go to http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk.
To listen to the podcast simply click here .
Until next time. Take care...
- Captain of Inclusion
- Co-Founder Accomable