Independent Venue Week

Panel 3: Access For All – On & Off Stage

This panel will look at challenges of access in the live music industry. It will discuss how each panel member has faced and overcome challenges both personal to them, and within their work. It will touch on a broad range of access needs whether it be physical or invisible.

NATAILIE SOUTH – ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING (M)

Natalie South is Attitude is Everything’s Grassroots Venues Manager. Natalie has a background in charity project management having worked with Scope and Nesta. As the Grassroots Venues Manager she has an extensive knowledge of what can be achieved at the entry level for access provision, understanding the importance and impact of low and no cost solutions for D/deaf and disabled customers. As a disabled music fan, Natalie has first-hand experience of what it is like to attend an event at a grassroots venue. Using this experience and knowledge, Natalie joined Attitude is Everything in 2017, and created the Grassroots Charter of Best practice, based on the organisation’s main Charter, but with changes to reflect grassroots venues limited time and resources. Natalie is currently working towards her NRAC accreditation.

MARTIN AUSTIN – ACCESS CARD

Martin is Managing Director and Founder of Nimbus Disability; a consultancy service working across a range of industries providing practical and tangible support in meeting and exceeding legal obligations toward disabled people. Nimbus offers a range of services including the development of two new and unique services; CredAbility and The Access Card. The Access Card is the first scheme of its type in the UK offering a universal and consistent way of disabled people evidencing and communicating their needs to providers quickly and discreetly. A keen sportsman, Martin is Chair and player for Wheelchair Basketball Club Derby Wheelblazers and has also represented Great Britain in Sledge Hockey – the Paralympic version of Ice Hockey.

SAMUEL MAGGS – GIG BUDDIES SCHEME (STAY UP LATE)

Gig Buddies supports people with a learning disability to access gigs and live events. There are a number of Gig Buddies projects across the company operated by multiple organizations. Sam is the manager for the three projects in Scotland; Edinburgh, West Lothian, and Glasgow which are run by the charity Thera Trust. Gig Buddies Scotland has worked with IVW for the past 3 years, hosting accessibility awareness gigs with local venues and showcasing artists with additional support needs. This year they teamed up with Edinburgh venue ‘Sneaky Pete’s’ to enable their members to get out to 5 gigs in 5 nights.

GEORGE BONNER – SUGARMILL, STOKE

I have been working in bars and clubs for over 13 years, 5 of those at The Sugarmill. Having worked as a barman when I first joined the team, I quickly climbed the ladder to Co-General Manager and Bars Manager and consider it a privilege to have served in this role for over 4 of those years. I am also the Event Manager and DPS for a local event called ‘The Move’, who, having teamed up with our local council, have hosted world renowned DJ’s on the historic Spode potteries site in Stoke-on-Trent.