70 per cent of disabled musicians say they've hidden their disability for the sake of their career
An extensive report following a survey of deaf and disabled musicians has seen the music industry and UK venues come under fire for serious failings to provide for them.
Nearly 100 musicians were surveyed by Attitude is Everything, a charity that focuses on “improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music”.
Seventy per cent of the respondents to the survey said that they’ve felt the need to hide their disability because of worries that it could impact their relationships with promoters, venues, and festivals.
Mystery Jets‘ Blaine Harrison, who has spina bifida, said the findings were “absolutely heartbreaking. Making a living from music is tough enough. But for musicians with access requirements, it can be even tougher.”
He added on Twitter: “Now is the time for the music industry to stand up and support deaf and disabled artists.”
Half of the people surveyed also say that they have encountered barriers because of their health when seeking a space to rehearse, while 38 per cent are unable to access their nearest rehearsal space at all. Additionally, 45 per cent of the respondents who have used recording studios say they’ve also encountered barriers there.
“The [rehearsal spaces] that are affordable are usually not accessible, in terms of step free and toilet facilities,” said one respondent.
As for playing live, half of disabled and deaf musicians say they face barriers at gigs, while a fifth have had to cancel a show because of physical access issues.
“I would never perform if I did not force myself up and down more flights of stairs in one night than I would comfortably navigate in a month,” said one respondent.
As well as finding that 42 per cent of disabled musicians find additional difficulties when it comes to accessing funding, the report also makes note of non-physical disabilities like autism that are overlooked by the industry.
“Often times we’ve been paid in alcoholic drinks. As someone with severe mental health issues this is a problem,” said another respondent.
With 96 per cent believing that the music industry has the ability to make changes when it comes to their provisions for deaf and disabled artists, Attitude is Everything says that, “These artists need the music industry to commit to true diversity and access.”