All Access: Creating Unique Events for People With Disabilities

Live event organizations are constantly faced with the challenge of how to develop and grow their audience. To do this, it’s crucial for them to be welcoming and accessible for all. Some patrons and fans are overlooked during the planning process. This can result in making them feel isolated or even discouraged from attending future events. Attendees who are often overlooked and underrepresented include those with intellectual or physical disabilities including autism or dementia. In recent years, venues and event producers are focusing more and more on ways to make events for people with disabilities welcoming, accessible and inclusive, beyond the minimum ADA requirements.

Underrepresented audiences such as the physically disabled are growing in attendance at live events

People attend live events to enjoy the experience and a sense of community. However, sometimes there are barriers that may deter some people from attending. Recently, a blind patron who attended Hamilton sued the Broadway show for failing to provide accommodations for the visually impaired. This could probably have been avoided, perhaps by providing headsets for the visually impaired. Other live event attendees with disabilities have talked candidly about the many challenges they face at venues. Some of these challenges include not being able to bring a personal assistant, lack of accessibility information on venue websites and unaccommodating security personnel. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Having a disability should never be a barrier to attendance and participation at live event the experiences.