Download. Image by Danny North

Live Nation commits to improving festival accessbility

Live Nation, on behalf of Festival Republic, has signed a legally binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following accessibility concerns at two UK festivals.

The EHRC’s concerns followed multiple reports of poor accessibility for disabled customers at Wireless Festival in July 2022. These concerns were heightened following additional reports of disability access issues at Download Festival in June 2023. Issues included obscured stage visibility and poor facilities.

Under the legal agreement with the EHRC (known as a section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006), Live Nation UK has committed to:

  • Undertake a robust lesson learning exercise to investigate the cause of issues at Wireless 2022 and Download 2023 and ensure they are not repeated.
  • Introduce a new accessibility manual to assess and promote accessibility on all existing and new festival sites. The manual should act as a one-stop shop for all accessibility-related policies and processes and be regularly assessed.
  • Review all internal policies and procedures to ensure accessibility provisions are included.
  • Introduce organisation-wide training on disability awareness and accessibility which will be tailored to different roles, including those in customer facing roles.
  • Working with ‘mystery shoppers’ to ensure that staff are responding properly to accessibility needs in festivals.

Under the Equality Act 2010 Live Nation are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers at its festivals.

The agreement will cover several festivals including Wireless, Download, Latitude, Wilderness, Reading and Leeds Festival.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Live music and festivals are a pivotal part of British culture, and we are lucky to have such a vibrant array of events each year that can cater for every individual taste.

“Festivals deserve to be enjoyed by all, including disabled people. No one should be subjected to poor treatment when attending or being put off from attending altogether due to unacceptable access issues.

“The reported experiences at both Wireless and Download festival were unacceptable and should never have happened. We welcome Live Nation’s commitment to improve their services and the signing of this agreement will ensure disabled people are not left behind at future events.”

Image: Download Festival/Danny North