Category: Half/Access Info
Hello, and welcome to the new Half Access website!
Half Access is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making live music more accessible to people with disabilities. Our main project right now is to build a database of detailed accessibility information on as many music venues as possible in order to inform concert goers of available accommodations before they buy tickets to shows. We have also implemented a review system on the submission form as well as on each venue page which will allow for individual experiences to be submitted. This information will aid us in working with venues to assess accessibility concerns and how they can improve accessibility for disabled music fans.
Many venues, particularly smaller, general admission venues, have flights of stairs and no other way inside, or they have access to get inside, but there’s no safe, accessible seating area with a clear view of the show. Other issues come in the form of inaccessible restrooms, intense lighting and strobes without warning, little-to-no accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing guests, minimal staff training surrounding ableism, and more. Half Access strives to change this by opening the conversation between the disabled community and venues while also educating allies (fans, artists, and other industry folks) in the music community.
“Concerts are meant to bring everyone together, but venues are continuing to be stagnant in their accessibility.”
Accessibility affects everyone. You may not always be as able as you are today. You may currently have disabled friends or meet some in the future, and the realities of inaccessibility issues that continue to persist will quickly become apparent as you go places together. If you were to get hurt the week before your favorite artist came to town, you would notice these issues. If you were to develop a disability as you age, you would notice these issues.
Currently, venues aren’t held to a high-enough standard when it comes to assuring that disabled concert goers have the same great experience as everyone else. Concerts are meant to bring everyone together, but venues are continuing to be stagnant in their accessibility despite the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 being signed into law 28 years ago.
We want to change that, and we hope you will join us as we add to the Half Access database, communicate with venues, and raise awareness. Let’s uncover the root of the problem and encourage venues to change the status quo and welcome everyone in the communities that they serve.
In order to make these website dreams a reality, we have collaborated with designer Danica Hutchison. It has been extremely rewarding to see our vision come to life and to work with someone who understands our goals and mission, and who is as passionate as we are about equality in music.
And, if our name already sounds familiar to you, it might be because our founder, Cassie Wilson, was the recipient of the 2017 Sub City Alternative Press Music Awards Grant. This website exists because of their generosity, and we deeply appreciate their support.
Thank you to Danica, Sub City, Hopeless Records, Alternative Press, Friends of Noise, Katelyn Almeda, Big Picture Media, and everyone who has supported Half Access thus far.
You can now visit HalfAccess.org to search for your favorite venues in the database and see if they are accessible. If they don’t exist, add your own review.
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James Cassar is currently managing three bands (Barely Civil, bristletongue, and If Only, If Only) with his childhood friend Rachel Malvich as rumblepak. He is also helping out Take This to Heart Records with label management/A&R and will be launching another venture later this year. You can hear him on the podcast Stereo Confidential, which is the rebranded new home for the award-winning Modern Vinyl Podcast. He co-owns and formerly co-operated the record label Near Mint, and has written for Alternative Press, MTV, and more. He once bought business cards that called him “The Reigning King of DIY” but, truly, you can find him playing Yoshi’s Crafted World after he gets home to Philly from his job in Jersey, if he’s not answering emails.read more
TJ Hayes has been regularly attending shows in Chicago since 2015. Hayes, who has spina bifida myelomeningocele, checked in with Half Access to talk about their experiences with accessibility, where venues still have room to improve, and advocating for your right to accommodation.read more
Valerie Gritsch is the community manager for London-based indie label, Xtra Mile Recordings. As community manager, she handles all of their social media channels, in addition to managing their street team and other fan engagement efforts. A New York native, Gritsch is currently working towards her Masters degree at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where her research includes, but is not limited to, music fandom and celebrity studies. The subject of her thesis will focus on celebrity death and how fans create history. Gritsch—whose history of chronic nerve pain eventually led to fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome)—caught up with us to talk about her experience in the music industry and what adequate accommodations can and should look like.read more