With the lack of awareness surrounding disabilities in the music scene, Cassie Wilson is taking action with her non-profit organization, Half Access. Half Access was founded in 2017 and was awarded the Sub City Alternative Press Music Awards Grant for $10,000, presented by Hopeless Records.
The goal of Half Access is not only to help concert goers determine if the venue is accessible, but also to serve as a resource to help educate venues on how to be more disability friendly.
For concert goers, Half Access will offer a “public database of detailed accessibility information on as many music venues as possible from around the world, but with a primary focus in the United States. This will give concert goers with disabilities a resource to learn more about a venue before buying a ticket to a show, so they can know if it will be accessible to them.”
For venues, Half Access will use the data they collect on venues “to create informative resources for venues to learn how to increase accessibility in their spaces.”
Independent concert/event promoter, Take Warning Presents will be donating 50 cents from each ticket purchased on their ticketing platform to Half Access from September to December 2018. As the official sponsor of Half Access, Take Warning Presents will also be coordinating tabling opportunities for Half Access at shows and promoting Half Access’s new website on various promotional materials.
As a frequent concert goer who uses a wheelchair, I can attest to the difficulties of accessibility. Many venues today still are not accessible, including the lack of wheelchair accessible entrances and viewing areas. Some venues, try as they may, do not fully understand what someone means when they ask if a venue is accessible. This is not necessarily the fault of the venue staff, but the lack of knowledge on various disabilities and their needs. Disability services can range anywhere from providing a safe area for those in wheelchairs to hiring sign language interpreters to warning audience members of the use of strobe lighting. Many venues don’t even realize all of the different ways they may be discouraging individuals with disabilities from coming to their establishment. Having a resource like Half Access could be extremely beneficial.