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S6E12 Accessible Live Music with Bee Grzegorzek from Attitude is Everything

Listen to S6E12: Accessible Live Music with Bee Grzegorzek from Attitude is Everything

Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are pleased to welcome Bee Grzegorzek (she/they) as our guest! Bee is the Inclusive Communities Manager for UK-based charity, Attitude is Everything, which connects disabled people with music and live event industries to improve access together. They talk to Geoff about making a festival safe and enjoyable, her top tips for finding accessible venues and red flags to look for in a venue’s accessibility.

Watch this episode on YouTube here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways.

 

Topics and Timestamps:

00:56 Introduction: What is Attitude is Everything?

03:10 Environmental, organisational and attitudinal barriers to access.

05:34 Advances in accessibility in the last 20 years.

07:36 Whose responsibility is it to educate people about accessibility?

08:57 Bee’s top tips for finding accessible venues.

10:49 Red flags to look for when asking about a venue’s accessibility.

15:13 What to do if there’s an accessibility problem during an event.

17:52 Bee’s recommendations for making a festival as safe and fun as possible.

21:51 How to navigate food at venues with dietary requirements.

23:50 The benefits of accessibility scheme cards.

25:21 Personal assistant tickets.

26:38 Helping disabled artists get their access needs met.

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Transcript

Episode transcript

Overcoming MS  00:01

Welcome to Living Well with MS. This show comes to you from Overcoming MS, the world’s leading multiple sclerosis healthy lifestyle charity, which helps people live a full and healthy life through the Overcoming MS program. We interview a range of experts and people with multiple sclerosis. Please remember, all opinions expressed are their own. Don’t forget to subscribe to Living Well with MS on your favorite podcast platform so you never miss an episode. And now, let’s meet our guest.

 

Geoff Allix  00:34

Welcome to the latest edition of the Living Well with MS podcast. Joining me on this edition is Bee Grzegorzek from the organization, Attitude is Everything. And we’ll get straight into asking you about what that is. So firstly, welcome to the podcast.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  00:52

Thanks for having me.

 

Geoff Allix  00:53

Could you give us an overview of what Attitude is Everything does?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  00:56

Yeah, so Attitude is Everything is a nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the access to music and live events for disabled audiences, artists and professionals. We’ll go into depth a bit more later. But just some of our work includes our Next Stage Artists Betwork, Beyond the Music Professionals, Network, inclusive communities where I manage, volunteer mystery shoppers, Future Leaders, our live events, access charter training, and that isn’t even an exhaustive list. So that’s kind of the overview of kind of the main things that we do,

 

Geoff Allix  01:27

Basically, sort of music events, making them more accessible to everyone.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  01:31

Yeah, and championing deaf and disabled artists and professionals and audience members. And just ensuring that kind of everyone has a voice through what we’re doing. And yeah, just kind of taking a multi pronged approach to improving accessibility to theN work with the industry.

 

Geoff Allix  01:49

A lot of people they miss have appear to be perfectly able, but actually have hidden accessibility needs. You know, are you’re talking about people in wheelchairs only? Or is it people with invisible accessibility needs as well?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  02:04

We’re talking about everyone, we’re talking about people that have visual impairments, hearing, hidden disability, so I suffer from endometriosis. And that’s kind of a big thing that led me into working in this area, we even look into mental health, we also look into intersectionality, as well. And the intersectionality between disability and different kinds of I hate using underrepresented as a word for protected characteristics. But yeah, it’s for anyone that identifies as disabled or neurodivergent. And even for people that haven’t necessarily come to terms with the word disability, I know that a lot of the deaf community won’t necessarily align with the word disabled, because it’s a cultural shift. For them, it’s their culture of kind of finding alternative means to communicate. But for us, it’s about kind of a broad umbrella term, and that if you sit under the term disability, that’s great. If not, but you still have access requirements, and you’re not ready to be called kind of “disabled” or like use that term, then we’re still there to support and improve access,

 

Geoff Allix  03:03

What has historically been the biggest barriers, keeping disabled people away from attending live events? Yeah. First thing I saw the other day was actually about someone dealing with transport, but they helped them with transport, but then they patted them on the head. Someone in a wheelchair.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  03:10

So in our training, so I sometimes deliver training as well as part of my role, and we break it down into three different areas, to those environmental barriers, organizational barriers, and I love this word attitudinal barriers. So environmental barriers are like the physical features that may lead to poor access to like ramp gradients not being high enough. Not having an ambulatory accessible toilet, that kind of thing. Organizational barriers are barriers within the ways that organizations are organized. So they usually happen when disabled people aren’t consulted, when provisions are designed from day one. And then attitudinal barriers are barriers that kind of derived from disabled people in the way that they’re perceived and treated in society. So prejudice, ignorance, lack of education, confidence. So I think the biggest barriers out of those three, they all kind of combined, because I don’t know. So if you’re going to a festival or a music venue, there could be lack of I don’t know, accessible toilet, for example. But then there could also be issues with communication with staff and there might be prejudice there or there may not be even just like general communication, like some people don’t necessarily know how to communicate with a disabled person, which from my point of view is absurd, as regards to kind of that person is a person and that their disability is a part of them. And some people see that as a trait. So there was a study done, and that was two thirds of the population. I think it were worried about engaging with disabled people because they get it wrong. And that kind of attitude and approach people tend to either not communicate or do it in a way that isn’t appropriate. Yeah, I think all three, the environmental, organizational and attitudinal barriers all kind of coexist together. Things like I’ve had it before. I’ve had mobility when I’ve had my walking stick, and people will go to even little things like open doors before I actually need any help. And I haven’t asked for or it like there’s helpful things like giving up a seat and stuff like that. That’s great. But when it comes to “what happened to you, what’s wrong with you?” Or “do you need extra help with this because you’ve got your stick,” but I don’t get treated the same way when I don’t have a visual aid for it. So it’s clear that from my lived experience, the views of disability, definitely auto something in people’s minds if they haven’t got that lived experience.

 

Geoff Allix  05:30

And have you seen improvements over the last couple of decades?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  05:34

Big time. So actually, there’s everything’s been around for just over 20 years now. And in general, like, there’s been huge advances within kind of, there’s a big popularization, as I’m sure you know, about kind of diversity and inclusion in workplaces and spaces. And I feel like that’s kind of bought more prevalence into inclusivity. In general. I know that a lot of organizations, including like music, venues, festivals, they now have to have policies regarding that. So there’s definitely been changing kind of that area. Also, we have our live events access Charter, which is our accreditation system. So it was first launched in 2001. And it basically provided frameworks for venues, festivals, grassroots venues, and spaces and outdoor events. And it basically covers kind of online information and policies to anything around access at the venue or site. So we’ve done a fair few accreditations over the past few years of work with venues and festivals. But also more live music spaces now support deaf and disabled people to provide reasonable adjustments since the Equality Act came in 2010. There’s now obviously the responsibility to provide reasonable adjustments. So I think it’s quite common now, for a lot of venues and festivals to have access tickets to have kind of companion tickets to kind of factor that in more even down to the fact that there’s accessible campsites. There’s more live events that are becoming more inclusive as regards to like factoring in access in general. So I think there has been a real shift. And I think it’s been fueled on as well by there’s more representation in society. I think of disabled people. I think there’s a lot more that can be done. But the progress that we’ve been doing, and also just societally is kind of coincided.

 

Geoff Allix  07:15

Yeah, I think and it ties to what you said before about whether people have lived it or not, I think, from my, what I’ve found is, there’s a lot of people who are trying to do the right thing, but some of them don’t understand what that is what that should be. Yeah. And you sort of think, okay, you clearly are trying to do it. But I didn’t get that right.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  07:36

It’s true. And then it’s the challenge of and it comes down to kind of anyone that’s got intersectional traits, when they’ve got, you know, marginalized characteristics or experiences, then comes the narrative of well, it’s technically not that person’s job to educate you on how to do that, like we’ve got a world of resources we’ve got online and Attitude is Everything is a prime example. Like, that’s all out there. But I think there’s still a narrative in today’s society where there’s almost an expectation that you’ll explain why it’s not okay. And actually, as somebody personally living with chronic illness, I don’t have the energy. I don’t have the energy to say actually know what you said was really inappropriate, because a lot of the time people will meet that with their own feelings, it’s like setting boundaries that people tend to react because they think they’ve done something wrong. But we’ve got the whole wealth of the internet and more representation, everything that is really helping with that people can turn to.

 

Geoff Allix  08:31

One of the things that Overcoming MS encourages is good mental health it’s one of the pillars of Overcoming MS. And certainly, for a lot of people getting out going to music events, going to festivals, doing things that they they might have done before diagnosis is certainly good for their mental health. So how can people who have visible or invisible accessibility needs attend music events? Is it is it straightforward?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  08:57

I think it depends on a lot of factors. One of the biggest things is access information. I personally when I’m when I’m looking at going to a venue or an event, I will try and find their access information online to try and help me navigate going into that space. I think an immediate barrier is that if events or venues don’t have access information, people are going in not informed to that space. And that can create anxiety, it can create stress. So my biggest tips around it is just kind of making sure that if there isn’t access information, then again, it’s that laborious effective, like okay, so they haven’t provided that but now I would suggest contacting the venue directly and asking for that. But again, it’s kind of the labor of it. So I think all of this is kind of with a pinch of salt of whatever is in people’s capacity to do I guess, but my first tip would be to look at kind of online access information. And also, I have a little prep kit that I take with me so like noise cancelling earphones, comfy clothes, I also take time to like mentally Prepare. So like if I know that I’m going to be going out later in the evening to a gig, I might have some quiet time beforehand, I mentally will try and like ramp myself up to be ready for energy levels taking rest. I think it’s imperative that people with disabilities and chronic illness attend these events. Because, I mean, there’s been scientific studies of the benefit of music to mental health in general. But I think, yeah, it’s not as straightforward as some people may think, to make an informed decision on that. But also, I think during the event, if you choose to go to an event, it’s really important to check in with yourself during it. Don’t be afraid to like take breaks, go and have a moment outside and just check in with where your body and your mind is out with it.

 

Geoff Allix  10:42

Are there things that people should look for? If they’re considering going to a music venue?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  10:49

Access information. So looking online, on their website, see if they’ve got that. Also, we have a charter accreditation. So it might be that you see a little stamp of approval on a venue from Attitude is Everything, which means that we’ve worked with that venue to make sure that their accessibility standards are up to scratch. But also a little a little top tip with it is the tone of interaction with staff. So I find that if there isn’t access information, you drop an email to the box office. And there’s not inclusive like say, like, I don’t know, for an example, “we’ll deal with you and X Y, Zed way” and an email that would make me not want to go to a venue. So I think it’s about scoping out and using the information that you have. And I think it’s difficult, isn’t it? So I know that not all spaces, there’s not there’s not that much choice as regards to accessibility and having a safe and happy visit. And one of my colleagues the other day, made a really great statement that in an ideal world, disabled people would be able to access live music and be immersed in it and not have to worry about the access side of things and what’s around and that’s that’s an amazing goal to have. But the reality is to kind of get yourself as informed as possible on the spaces that you’re going to I think.

 

Geoff Allix  12:01

You said there’s an accreditation is that two people get like rated as you can sort of, can you see how good someone is?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  12:08

At the moment, we base it on bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. So bronze is kind of the basic levels of accessibility, down to kind of like ensuring that the space has level access, and then it kind of progresses up from there. So the way that our it’s safe to say that our charter is constantly changing and constantly growing, we’ve been doing quite a bit of reflective work over how we can move it forward at the moment, so I’ll just give a cheeky update, stay tuned. And the Attitude is Everything website for some updates, but I can’t say too much. But at the moment, it’s a system of people need to get the bronze level at venues and festivals to then move up to silver. So it’s not that anything will be missed along the way. But yeah, it goes bronze, silver, gold, platinum as kind of standard levels.

 

Geoff Allix  12:54

And bronze isn’t bad. So they have it’s not they’ve done nothing at Bronze.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  12:59

They’ve got provisions in place. It’s they’ve got the level that is needed for people with general accessibility needs to attend. So that’s down to even things like, like I said, level access, ensuring the there’s like handrails at the right areas, even things like the online access information is a stipulation for us. So it needs to be laid out in an accessible format, especially for people that use screen readers or assistive technology. So it’s kind of what I would say is that rather than it’s the basics, it’s the foundations is the kind of bare bones of this is the level of access that you start at, and then you grow from it.

 

Geoff Allix  13:37

Is there anything people should do when they arrive at a music venue?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  13:41

So it depends on kind of the route that they’ve taken to get there, if they’re turning up with having not kind of spoken to anyone in advance or booked any kind of accessibility requirements services, then I would say is check in with the box office, and just kind of notify them if you feel comfortable to. And also if you need support or you have requirements during your visit. Some people may not some people might just I’ve done it before I’ve checked in with the box office at the start of an event because I felt like I might get anxious and I wanted to notify them. But on the flip side of that, I’d say that if you’re attending an event where say much bigger event like at the O2 where you’ve done like an access accreditation, where you’ve got to kind of give evidence, and we’ll go into that a little bit later. But say that you’ve kind of made them aware in advance. Most venues and festivals will have individual kind of steps around that. So it might be that you go to the box office or say that you’re a wheelchair user, it might be that you’re given someone’s number when you get to the door so they can aid you with getting into the building. But I think yeah, primarily if you feel comfortable making the staff there aware and also if you have any issues or you need help during your time in that venue speak to a member of staff.

 

Overcoming MS  14:47

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Geoff Allix  15:04

What about during the night? Well, if there’s a there’s a problem with accessibility needs during the night, what what do you do, then?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  15:13

I think the first thing is make yourself safe. I think mentally and physically. Something that I’ve kind of learned the hard way with accessibility as a as a gig goer is that sometimes I’ve really put myself in uncomfortable situations. And I think you’ve got to protect your mind and your body. And if you don’t feel like your needs are being met, then maybe the safest thing to do is to leave that building and go and get some space, whether that’s a break or to actually leave. But as regards to kind of raising it further, we actually have a report an issue form on our website, which is a one time incident, a single incident form, where you can report to us what the accessibility issues were, whether even that’s down to language and terminology or staff interactions, it doesn’t have to be just physical access, it can be any of those barriers that we mentioned earlier. And then what we can do from there, we have our amazing mystery shoppers. So they are volunteers that volunteer to go to different venues and feedback reports on the accessibility. And so when we have the report the issue for you’re welcome to report it to ask but I think it’s also really important to report it to the venue. So with as much detailed information as possible, so that then they can ensure that they they kind of reflect on that and take action from it. But also that reporting issue form it could be that you’ve done that step, you’ve spoken to the venue, you’re not happy with their response. And then we can you can report an issue through us. And then we we also like, it’s a soft way of working as regards to we understand, as I hope you realize during this podcast that the barriers that face people and that are presented by society. So I think it’s even a case of having someone to talk to who gets it and being able to do something about it and not feeling like your voice is silenced.

 

Geoff Allix  16:56

So I think so, so far. I know it’s um, I’ve got in my mind sort of going to venues that are like you saying the O2. So in a city, flat, solid, dry. You think okay, yeah, I can see that, you know, there’s not on, you know, removing steps and things like that it’s necessary. Obviously, there’s few things but it’s not a massive shift them and then the other thing that you mentioned this festivals, this is international, so that but in the UK, the biggest one is Glastonbury, you know, and there’s other huge ones, and there’s huge ones in America and, and stuff. So so they’re massive. Glastonbury is notorious for being muddy. Is it realistic to go to something like that, like at a rural specifically a rural festival? If you’ve got accessibility needs?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  17:52

I think the short answer is yes. But I think again, it needs to be an informed decision. So I think it is realistic. But with any festival like accommodations, bathrooms, provisions, they can all become challenging. You’ve got hundreds, if not 1000s of people using them. And I think it takes a special type of person to go to a festival in the first place. And I will say I’m one of those special people just as regards to the levels of like baby wipes or dry shampoo, like without access requirements, festivals can be challenging. I think that there are provisions in place to support with this. So like a lot of festivals now will provide accessible campsites. So people with accessibility needs can be in the same area. But also there’ll be toilet provisions there, they’re accessible, some will have changing places, accessible showers. Also, just on a personal note, the level of community that you get in an accessible campsite is absolutely beautiful. Like, if you’ve forgotten a jumper, or I don’t know, your personal assistant has to take a break, there’s going to be someone else there that completely understands and just chips in and helps. So it’s a great environment to be in. They also festivals will have viewing platforms, as well as accessible toilets throughout the site, ideally. But I also won’t lie the mud and the weather can be really challenging, especially for people that are manual wheelchair users or use mobility aids. So I would suggest that it’s worth thinking about mobility aids before going to the festival. I’ve realized they come with financial barriers. But if people have electric chairs over manual chairs, that will be easier to get around. Even down to I change the walking stick, that I use it’s foldable, so that when my health is a little bit better, I can rely on my core strength and not worry about kind of having to navigate that in a busy environment. I realized that that’s also privileged that my condition isn’t constant. But I think even down to things like what ferrules you use on the bottom of a mobility aid. And so for anyone that doesn’t know that’s the little bit that goes on the bottom of walkingstick and you can get kind of like high grade levels that are like Snow, ice, everything. So I think it is realistic. But I think there’s an awful lot of planning. There’s also a lot of liaising with access teams getting things like wristbands sorted, personal assistant tickets if you need it. But I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that people with accessibility needs can’t go to no can go to a festival.

 

Geoff Allix  20:19

You accredited those as well. So you can sort of see which ones meet standards.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  20:27

So at the moment, on our website, we’ve got a list of our charter venues that have been accredited as well, if anyone wants to check it out.

 

Geoff Allix  20:33

And for accommodation, would you like putting up your own tent is going to be difficult for a lot of people? Is that something would you have things like that, like people helped you put up tents?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  20:45

Pop up tents are the best. I’ve worked for last to last year, and I was so grateful. But also, there’ll be people there to help like marshals and kind of volunteers that are there to run the campsite. I mean, I’ve put a few tents up in my time, it’s only been six months with this organization. And I think I’ve put up more tents, the months that I’ve worked here. So yeah, it’s all about that community spirit and people that are free and around to do it, will champions do it. And it tends to be with accessible campsites that there is like an information hub, or there’s a big tent, or there’s an Access box office, and you can go and ask for help with things as well.

 

Geoff Allix  21:22

The pillar probably most people are aware of with Overcoming MS is the dietary component, which is sort of a plant based whole food diet, really. So if you’re going to a festival or a venue, is it likely that that would be met in would you? You know, I mean, obviously, you can’t really go anywhere else. If you’re in a massive festival, you’re going to be limited to what’s available in the festival. So is it likely that you have dietary requirements met?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  21:51

I think it can be a mixed bag with it. I think we’re lucky with the times that we live in as regards to the choice of vegan and plant based foods. As an example, again, when I went to Latitude, what I did was I found one safe place to eat, I have a lot of allergies and I also have dietary requirements for my health condition. And it really stumped me at first I panic to won’t like I kind of looked around all the vendors and I was like where am I going to get something. And luckily, there was a co-op on site. But then it everyone ransacks it every day, you know, I ended up with just a Pot Noodle one day, which wouldn’t have been ideal. I think there’s a level of prep again, that you either kind of know that you’ll find something at some point and you’ll probably have to stick to it. I think I ate noodles nearly every day of the week at that festival, but also people do bring, I brought snacks with me like my creature comforts snacks that I knew were safe foods. Other people bring like little gas cooker oven and bring food from home. I know that some of our volunteers bought some salmon with them. And like cooked it a little tin foil. So I think yeah, if you’re especially if you’re driving or you’ve got a lift, then the capabilities there of like bringing a cool box and things. It is a bit more challenging as regards to keeping food cool and things like that, especially in summer. But I think you can get the first couple of days sorted of the festival. And then you’ve had time to scope out what food you can and can’t eat. And you’ve kind of found a safe base from there.

 

Geoff Allix  23:13

One of the things with venues collective into a few different things. So in the UK, we’ve got an Access Card, which which makes things simpler, because then you go through the hassle of actually being assessed essentially, once but you don’t have to do it for every single venue. So are they useful? So there’s there’s a number different was Access Card UK this Hynt, I think that’s the Welsh scheme and other ones sort of internationally? Are they useful things are they things that you would recommend getting that set up?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  23:50

I think outside of kind of my Attitude is Everything how I spent quite a while not getting an Access Card. And then I saw I think it was my sister again with the O2, she showed her card and it was as easy as that. I don’t think she had to book access provisions prior to, I know some things you might do. So definitely check it out before you go. But they are a less laborious way of communicating your needs, I think. So like with the Access Card, for example, you get different boxes on there that say what your needs are. So you might have a personal assistant one you might have a little icon that means you can’t stand for long. And rather than as a disabled person or chronically ill person that constantly has to navigate that it’s a lot less energy to be able to show a card and they are recognized in a lot of venues and festivals. The other thing that I say is that we do suggest that ideally venues and festivals don’t ask for evidence because of the fact that why should we have to give over a medical diagnosis to get into a gig and have to share that personal like information. So I think having an Access Card or a Hynt card or that kind of accessibility scheme is helpful. Yeah, I think I would recommend it. But there will also be places that do let people in without evidence, there will also be places that don’t necessarily accept that is evidence. But overall, I think I would, from my personal experience, recommend it.

 

Geoff Allix  25:14

And if people need a plus one, a carer to come with them, is that generally accepted?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  25:21

Yeah. So again, we advise our Attitude is Everything that when an access customer needs support from personal assistant that that ticket is free. Because it’s a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act, we would say that that person wouldn’t necessarily be able to attend that gig or festival without their personal assistant. Some venues and festivals, they’ll do like a half price, like ticket and then a half price PA ticket, which is the same thing. There are still places that don’t necessarily do it, we are advocating for change around that. Because, again, it is a reasonable adjustment is I’m not comparing assistance dogs or animals to human beings, but it’s the same as having an assistance dog on site that is an auxiliary aid for someone as much as a personal assistant is. So yeah, our guidance is that that is that is what we recommend. That again, is it’s worth checking out access information and websites to see if that is an option.

 

Geoff Allix  26:15

And mostly, we’ve been talking about people going to venues as an attendee, but I know there’s at least two or three people who follow Overcoming MS who are actually in them themselves artists. So do you cover that side of things? I think you mentioned that there’s an artist program. So yeah, how does that work in the other side of it the actual performers?

 

Bee Grzegorzek  26:38

So I have been very cheeky and asked my colleague, Hillary, to send over some information for me because she does an amazing job of managing the Next Stage project. And I just wanted to ensure that I get this right. So we’ve got three different parts of this. So our Next Stage program includes as peer support network for Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent music makers. And that’s from DJs to solo artists, it doesn’t necessarily need to be bands. Bands are welcome, though. So we design and host workshops and talks on communicating access requirements, navigating access support in funding applications, to 101 of music publishing, facilitated by our colleagues. The aim of the program is to build confidence and create access by campaigning and community building. So it’s really that kind of like peer to peer and the disabled community as well. Also, a statistic that Hillary sent over to me was 70% of artists had withheld details of a health condition or impairment due to being worried that doing so would cause problems and impact a relationship with a promoter of a venue or festival. And that came from our Next Stage artists snapshot. So that’s 70% of artists that were in that study. And out of that, we created our Just Ask campaign. So it seeks to encourage promoters and venues to ask for access requirements. Again, that labor isn’t on the side of the artists or professional, it’s the venue or the promoter that’s actually going What are your access requirements as as they were with an audience member. As part of this, we’ve had sessions about approaching conversation with access needs for artists and promoters. And this included highlighting the musicians unions access rider process and having discussions on resource sharing. So there’s more to come on that in the next year. And then finally, we have our DIY events Access Guide, which, sorry, DIY events guide, which can be found on our Attitude is Everything website. And we highlight tools and processes to make gigs more accessible. So things like communicating with attendees, the access of the venue, and the event ticketing page having accessible seating. So this lovely Hillary’s putting a little shout out to our live events charter to ensure that industry professionals that are working within organizations are actually factoring in artists requirements. And typically in the industry, I think there has been more of an audience focus. And like I said, we are constantly kind of reassessing our live events charter, and we’re having more of an artist in professional focus in there as well. So I think, yeah, I don’t mean this in a horrible way as regards to like an afterthought. But often, venues and festivals and live music events won’t factor that in until you have someone turn up that has access requirements, and then it’s kind of reactive rather than proactive. So the Next Stage program is all about the peer support. It’s all about the community, but it’s also about putting that responsibility on to the industry to ensure that artists have their access requirements asked about a met, but also to ensure that artists and professionals within our network know how to advocate for themselves and know how to kind of push to get their access requirements met as well.

 

Geoff Allix  29:36

Thank you very much for that. And thanks to Hillary I think you mentioned about just the the community if you go to a festival, I just wanted to mention because I first went to Glastonbury Festival when I was quite fairly newly diagnosed and I kind of thought I felt a little bit of a fraud initially Because I couldn’t walk nearly as well as I had been able to. But I could still get around. I didn’t use any mobility. You know, I didn’t use a stick or anything at the time. But I don’t think I could have gone without it because it just gave me sort of camping that was closer, that wasn’t as crowded. That gave me a little bit of an area to have a little bit of chilled out. There’s some shortcut routes they give you and things like that. And there was just a number of different things that did make it so I just I felt that actually, when you went into successful camping, I’ve been to a few different ones now that it doesn’t ever feel like you don’t you don’t feel like oh, you have to be like, you know, in a wheelchair. There will be people in wheelchairs, but most people are not. I would say the majority of people have an invisible condition. And as you said, very, very nice, friendly, inclusive group, I suppose. Yeah, absolutely. So firstly, thanks very much for joining us Bee Grzegorzek. Do check out the links in the show notes to your organization. And as you said, yeah, have a look on websites for accessibility. And carrying on going to music venues. Thank you very much for joining us.

 

Bee Grzegorzek  31:19

Thanks so much for having me.

 

Overcoming MS  31:22

Thank you for listening to this episode of Living Well with MS. Please check out this episode’s show notes at overcoming ms.org/podcast you’ll find useful links and bonus information there. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. And please rate and review the show to help others find us. This show is made possible by the Overcoming MS community. Our theme music is by Claire and Nev Dean, our host is Geoff Allix. Our videos are edited by Lorna Greenwood, and I’m the producer Regina Beech. Have questions or ideas to share. Email us at podcast at overcoming ms.org We’d love to hear from you. The Living Well with MS podcast is for private non commercial use and exists to educate and inspire our community of listeners. We do not offer medical advice or medical advice please contact your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional.

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Bee’s bio

Bee is the Inclusive Communities Manager for Attitude is Everything’s Inclusive Communities Project, which is the organisation’s work in local communities, ensuring that they grow their work with diverse communities and disabled people who live in these areas.

Bee’s passion for music and passion for improving accessibility

As a session musician living with ADHD and multiple chronic illnesses, Bee has faced many barriers to performing and attending live music events. Music has always been a huge part of her life, from touring and performing with orchestras playing the violin to playing live gigs on the violin and backing vocals and fronting various bands as a lead vocalist. Performing and attending gigs can be challenging when navigating health conditions and disabilities and they are passionate about improving accessibility and disability inclusion in the music industry for disabled and Deaf creatives and music lovers.