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  • Event Promotion Tips

How to ensure your festival is safe and inclusive

  • By Ryan Moss

  • 27 Apr 2023
  • 8 min read

Header Image: Wolfgang / Pexels.com

Music festivals can be life-changing. In those fields, people discover new passions, make everlasting memories and have a lot of fun. 

While people are having fun, they deserve to be safe, Which means that you should strive to ensure your festival is safe and inclusive. 

It involves putting in the effort to make sure disabled and neurodivergent people can enjoy their time across the weekend. In addition, processes need to be put in place to ensure the safety of women and people from the LGBTQIA+ community. 

In our latest article, we’ve rounded up a few ways you can ensure your festival is safe and inclusive. Read on to find out how you can do it. 

Prioritise accessibility for a safe and inclusive festival

It’s paramount that you make your festival safe and inclusive for disabled people. 

But what does that involve?

Well, it starts with the facilities you have at the festival. So, ensure disabled people can enter via step-free access and dedicate space to wheelchair-accessible campsites. Here, you’ll need showers and toilets with the correct modifications. 

Photo: SHVETS Production / Pexels.com

Where the festival stages themselves are, you’ll need viewing platforms and wheelchair charging around the site. Viewing areas should be placed strategically; you don’t want to put them out of the way, as attendees might not experience the high-quality atmosphere they deserve. 

BSL Interpreters and hearing loops are crucial, too. There are contractors you can hire, so do some research and speak to different providers.

Make routes clear for people

Designing the layout of your festival is essential for crowd management. 

However, you need to take into account how disabled people will move around the site. 

For example, if someone who uses a wheelchair has to travel down a steep hill to get into the festival, this could cause problems for them. They might have to be carried or walk the way. 

Of course, if a person uses a wheelchair or mobility aid full-time, they won’t be able to walk. But if they can walk some distances, it might cause physical strain, ultimately reducing the enjoyment of their weekend. 

That’s why access and navigation as easy should be as easy as possible. That way, your disabled attendees will be able to enjoy the festival without worry. 

When installing viewing platforms and areas, make sure the ground is suitable. Using gravel can be unsuitable. If people are using wheelchairs or mobility aids, the wheels can get stuck, which can create issues when moving around the site. 

Make ticket purchasing easy

You want to make the ticket-buying process as easy as possible for everyone. 

However, there are a few extra things to consider when making the customer experience the best it can be for disabled attendees. 

Disabled people often say that having to call a number for tickets can be a barrier to obtaining them. With Skiddle, everything is online so that is taken away, and your attendee or their PA can purchase smoothly. 

Photo: Artem Podrez / Pexels.com

There’s also the Skiddle Access Scheme. It allows you to set up PA tickets, which are free or discounted tickets for the carer or personal assistant of a disabled person. 

Once you’ve followed the instructions in the links below, shout about the scheme on social media and make it clear that you have PA tickets for your festival. You want as many people to know as possible. Your disabled attendees will likely be on social media and if not, their friends or family might be, it’s possible those people could see your event and pass the word on.

To find out more about Skiddle Access Scheme, click here and here

Cater to your neurodivergent attendees

The Cambridge University Hospital defines neurodiversity as “the different ways a person’s brain processes information”. 

It can be an umbrella term for ADHD, autism, ADD and more. At festivals, sensory overload can occur due to loud music and intense strobe lights. 

So, you need to ensure that your neurodivergent attendees are comfortable at your festival. 

Photo: Max Andrey / Pexels.com

But how can you do that?  

Calm areas can be a starting point. These are areas of the festival catered to neurodivergent people, where the music is lower and the lights are dimmed. They’re designed to create a soothing atmosphere, allowing people to take a break if they experience sensory overload at any time across the weekend. 

You can host meditation sessions in your calm areas, too. It offers a break for people who want to spend time away from the music for a little while, replacing the booming sound system with calmer tones. 

Make your festival a safe space

The discourse around ‘safe spaces’ has risen over the past few years. 

It’s an important discussion. However, what’s more important is that you make decisions that help your attendees. It’s no use having posters around the site but not training your staff, for example. 

So, use training as a starting point. Do some research and find the best training programmes for inclusion, harassment and assault. Take a look at your security team. Are they up to date on the most necessary training? If not, you might have to consider a new firm. With your staff fully trained, they’ll be able to respond to incidents in the best manner. 

Schemes like Ask For Angela are helpful, too. If you decide to use something like this, put up posters around the site and make it clear where people can go if they’re in trouble. 

Don’t forget your LGBTQIA+ attendees, either. A zero-tolerance approach to any homophobia is essential. We wrote about achieving inclusivity a few months ago. While it’s based around single live events, the information included can apply to festivals. Read it here

Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk/

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