We are really pleased to have been awarded the Gold Level on the Charter of Best Practice by Attitude is Everything for our commitment to improving access for deaf and disabled festivalgoers at Greenbelt.
We’re one of only two mainstream multi-arts festivals in the UK* to have achieved this standard. The other being Glastonbury! (Greenbelt and Glastonbury in the same breath – it has a certain ring to it.)
Attitude is Everything is a charity working to improve access to live events by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the events industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK.
To qualify for Charter status, live music venues and festivals must demonstrate exemplary access provision and an on-going commitment to improving accessibility – working with Attitude is Everything to go beyond the legal obligations set out in the Equality Act, to implement best practice, and to provide a fair and equal service to their Deaf and disabled customers.
We’ve been working with Attitude is Everything for many years now and we were specifically recognised by them for putting access at the heart of our festival, including:
- Having a dedicated volunteer Access Team (our Access Team is amazing – hats off to Louise and her crew, we could not have achieved this without their dedication)
- Programming deaf and disabled artists
- Providing of a ‘High Dependency Unit’ (The Haven, our much-loved and well-used access support venue at the festival)
- Providing BSL interpretation (thanks to Signs of God)
- And providing the Daily Diary in clear print
Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, said:
“We are pleased to award Greenbelt our Gold Charter of Best Practice. This award recognises their commitment to ensuring deaf and disabled customers with a wide range of access requirements needs are met. From providing a High Dependency Unit to BSL interpreting to providing clear print programme information for people with visual impairments, Greenbelt are keen for everyone to be able to access and enjoy the festival.”
While Mary Corfield, our Event Director, responded:
“Greenbelt is a place where all are welcome and so making our festival as accessible as possible has long been integral to who we are. We are delighted to receive the Gold Charter from Attitude is Everything and to celebrate what can be achieved when staff, contractors and dedicated volunteers work together. We value the diversity that comes with being an accessible festival and will continue our efforts to enable those with a range of additional needs to attend Greenbelt for many years to come. We hope that our receiving this award will encourage others to think creatively about how they can make their events more accessible, even when working to tight budgets.”
We have worked especially hard since returning to a greenfield site at beautiful Boughton House to ensure that the festival remains as accessible as we can make it. Many long-term Greenbelters found the initial transition from Cheltenham Racecourse – with its hardstanding, built infrastructure and flushing toilets – a culture shock. But with each successive year, both we and our festivalgoers are learning how to best access and navigate the event. Former Greenbelt Manager Martin Evans blogged about this after last year’s festival, urging people who had stopped coming to make a return. Our Gold Award from Attitude is Everything underlines this message. We do our best to welcome everyone we possibly can.
*The wonderful Chase Park and Liberty Festival also have Gold Standard status, but they are events specifically set-up to include and celebrate disabled attendees. That is their raison d’être. We salute them.