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AIF partners with MU to support disabled musicians


The Association of Independent Festivals has announced that it will support the MU's Access Riders program, which aims to make riders detailing the access needs of disabled musicians the industry standard.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced that it will Musicians' Union (MU) Access Rider Program in its membership to raise awareness of the program and work to make Access Riders a standard in the music industry.

The Access Rider program uses the already established format of a Performer Rider (a document that lists the requirements for an artist to perform) to outline an artist's disability or access needs, avoiding the challenge of having to talk about accessibility in the workplace.

AIF CEO John Rostron said: “AIF member festivals aim to be inclusive, accessible spaces for audiences, crew and artists alike. Raising standards and improving practice is a constant in our work and we are confident that this training and information sharing session, as well as communication with members on this topic, will be helpful during this festival season and at future festivals and events.”

The Access Rider program is the result of a study conducted by Harbourside Artist Management. A survey conducted by the organization in 2021 found that 88% of people working in the music industry who reported having a disability or chronic health condition “sometimes” or “never” disclosed that impairment or condition to their coworkers, and 69% of that group said it put their health at risk.

The MU's Access Rider was created by disabled musicians to make it safer for disabled artists to disclose health conditions and impairments and ensure their access needs are met. The Union works with AIF and a disability-led charity. Attitude is everything to make Access Riders a standard in the music industry. Later this week (5 June), MU member and Cheltenham Festival Innovation Manager Andrew Lansley will present a Webinars Explanation of the Access Rider program and its importance for musicians and festivals.

For Lansley, as a disabled musician, the program has been “transformative.” He said: “It has completely changed my experience of performing and really helps promoters understand exactly what you need on stage. I have made it my personal mission to help as many venues, festivals and musicians as possible benefit from this simple and effective solution.”