Category: Half/Access Info
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.
Thank you to MusicPortland for collaborating with us on this series and to Sub City and Hopeless Records for sponsoring it!
Check out the details:
Panels are one hour long and will be held via Zoom and recorded for YouTube. Additional engagement opportunities will be hosted in the Half Access Discord server. Closed captions and ASL interpreters will be provided and all other accessibility requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sat. June 26, 2021 at 11 AM PST
Accessibility 101: A look at accessibility within the music industry
Join us in talking to disabled industry professionals and fans and explore the ins and outs of accessibility within the industry. We’ll also touch on the legalities of accessibility, what venues do well and how venues can improve to provide a more inclusive space for all.
- Eric Tobin
Eric Tobin has over a 20 year history in the music business, 16 of which have been at Hopeless Records. In addition, Eric was born with Spina Bifida and in spite of his physical challenges he has toured extensively with musicians, traveled to 3 continents and is currently working closely with the Spina Bifida Association of America to raise awareness and funds for increased research via the CDC to better the lives and health of all those born with Spina Bifida.
- Lia Seth
Lia Seth is a Human Resources manager and queer, disabled woman of color who champions accessibility for all – in the workplace and beyond.
- Valerie Kraft
At the self-proclaimed “intersection of emo and chronically ill,” Valerie Kraft is an advocate and content creator passionate about music, inclusivity, and educating others about disability.
- Myles de Bastion
Myles de Bastion is a musician and creative-altruist who creates artistic projects and performances where sound is experienced as light and vibration. A strong advocate for disability rights, Myles’ work centers upon themes of inclusion, diversity, equity and access for the Deaf community
Sat. July 31, 2021 at 11 AM PST – Register
Taking the stage and hitting the road: accessibility for disabled musicians
Join us in learning how disabled artists navigate playing shows and touring. What is accessibility really like on-stage, backstage and on the road?
- Eric Howk
Guitarist and advocate: Portugal. The Man
- Molly Joyce
Molly Joyce is a composer and performer whose work focuses on disability as a creative source.
- Priya Ray
Founder of DIYabled with the goal to break the stereotypes of Disability!
- Kyle O’Neil
Musician, Comedian. Bass player of the band Fireworks.
Sat. August 28, 2021 at 11 AM PST – Register
For the love of music: the disabled fan’s perspective
Join us in talking to disabled music fans on the ins and outs of attending a concert with a disability. What does accessibility look like? How can venues improve? And how can fans and artists help the experience?
- Ty Dykema
Cripple-punk artist, writer, zinester, and activist from Grand Rapids.
- Kelly Lynch
Comedian, disability activist, music lover and concert goer. I live to make myself and others happy.
- Carly Webster
Carly has cerebral palsy and is the creator of the DisabledSOS Project.
- McKenzie Holivay
I’m Kenzie, I’m chronically ill and I really just want people to understand the need for accessibility and that disabled isn’t a dirty word.
Half Access is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to making live music accessible to disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent people and anyone else needing increased accessibility of any kind to fully participate in live music. Disabled music fan Cassie Wilson founded Half Access in the spring of 2017 after being repeatedly denied accommodations at venues across Portland. She started posting photos of her view at shows on social media and learned from other disabled people that inaccessibility and ableism in the music industry are widespread issues across the US. Cassie knew that disabled music fans, artists, and others in the industry deserve better.
There is currently a huge lack of awareness surrounding accessibility at concerts. Many venues, particularly 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 fans, 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.
After launching the H/A website, the nonprofit focused on raising awareness and growing a database of venue accessibility information to prepare disabled people on what to expect when going to a venue for the first time. The database now includes more than 400 venues. Half Access is building relationships with venues, promoters, talent agencies, ticket companies, musicians, fans, and anyone else who’s ready to make live music more accessible. It takes everyone doing their part to make live music welcoming and inclusive for all.
Keep up with Half / Access by subscribing to our monthly newsletter!
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.