Before we look ahead in 2023, we first want to express our gratitude to every person that has supported Half Access over the last year. In 2022, we saw our database grow to 532 venues and received dozens of donations to help make live music more accessible!
At the end of 2022, our founder and President, Cassie Wilson, decided to step down from the Board of Directors. Cassie’s life has taken her in a new direction over the last few years, and she is now passing the baton to a new team of board members that are just as passionate about the Half Access mission. Cassie will still be around in an advisory role to the board, and to make this as smooth of a transition as possible.
In Cassie’s own words:
I founded Half Access nearly 6 years ago, at the age of 18, to address the widespread inaccessibility issues that disabled people face at music venues across the country and around the world. I’m incredibly proud of the informational accessibility resource we’re building, the stories we share, and the awareness we’re bringing to this issue. It is because of my deep belief in the mission of Half Access that I have decided to step aside and bring in new leadership to carry the organization forward. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to have learned and grown so much with the creation of Half Access. Thank you to the H/A board members past and present for making this dream possible.
We are forever grateful to Cassie for starting Half Access, and all of the awareness she has driven over the years!
With that, we would like to introduce you to the newest members joining the Board of Directors. Our new board members bring with them decades of professional experience, a passion for accessibility, and a love for live music.
- Austin Whitney (he/him)
- Elise Graham Kennedy (she/her)
- Denise Melanson (she/her)
- Kit (she/her)
- Valerie (she/her)
The Board is focused on the strategic vision of Half Access. Visit the Board Members page to learn more about our past and present board members.
Now, looking ahead in 2023, we are delighted to share with you our renewed efforts to make live music more accessible! We want to continue to raise awareness for accessibility through speaking opportunities, increasing the number of venues in our database, and growing our audience. Be on the lookout for new content coming to our blog, newsletter, and social channels!
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Half Access is so excited to announce that we’re hosting a virtual summer panel series this year!! From The Crowd To The Stage: A Look At Accessibility In The Music Industry will take place the last Saturday of June, July, and August at 11am PST and cover a wide range of issues. This conversation is especially important for us to have as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift and we see concerts coming back in the late summer and early fall. It’s crucial to keep accessibility to live music venues at the front of our minds to make sure everyone can safely enjoy their first show back.
In comparison to smaller clubs and theaters, arenas are often leading the way when it comes to accessibility. It’s often easier to find detailed accessibility information on their websites, and accessible seating options are almost always available at the point of purchase. Arenas also do a better job of accommodating as many disabilities as possible. That being said, arena accessibility is not without its flaws.
Photo by Micala Renee Austin
Our whole mission at Half Access is about informing people. We want accessibility and awareness across the country (read: whole world), and we understand that it starts at the individual level. Any charitable cause begins when someone starts informing others of injustices or needs, and all those individuals come together to make a positive change. This is the same mentality of La Dispute, a band known for their charitable work and dedication to equal rights and accessibility for everyone. Half Access has had the pleasure of working with the band throughout 2019, so we asked them a few questions about their beginnings in supporting nonprofits and their advice on how to contribute, especially within the music scene.