Independent Venue Week Throwback – Part 1

Posted 15/01/2021

On Thursday 28th January at 8pm Gig Buddies with Thera Trust are hosting an online panel for Independent Venue Week 2021. ‘Access All Areas’ aims to discuss what it means for a venue to be accessible for punters and players. In the lead up to this event we wanted to share some our previous collaborations with Independent Venue Week.

In 2019 a study from Mencap found that 70% of adults with a learning disability said that they would like to get out more in the evenings. 46% said they didn’t have anyone to go out with, and 39% said that they are worried people might be ruse or nasty toward them. Further to this, 8% of people said that having venue staff that understood learning disabilities would help them get out.

One of Gig Buddies’ key outcomes is for people with a learning disability to feel more confident in accessing social activities. To achieve this, we want to enable our members to access mainstream, public events in their local area, not just events run from the ground up for people with a learning disability.

Gig Buddies partners with a range of venues and arts organisations to offer social opportunities to our members. One of these organisations is Independent Venue Week, a celebration of indie venues across the UK. Since 2017, Gig Buddies with Thera have teamed up with IVW as an access partner, promoting accessibility and accessible events.

In 2017 and 2018 we organised accessible gigs in Edinburgh and West Lothian and showcased the work of local disabled artists. In 2019 we teamed up with Sneaky Pete’s (one of our Edinburgh partner venues) to get out to 5 gigs in 5 nights.

Richard had attended many Gig Buddies socials in the past, but this was his first time coming to anything was had held in collaboration with Independent Venue Week.

‘I came along on Monday to see ‘Makeness’. He was great to see. It was different to a lot of music I listen to but I really enjoyed discovering new music. I’d never been to Sneaky Pete’s before. It was a nice venue and the staff were very friendly. The gig was very crowded, which I found a but overwhelming. We were able to enter the venue before the main crown which meant we could get some seats. This was very helpful. This was the first year that I’ve tried Independent Venue Week with Gig Buddies. Thanks for the opportunity to try new gigs!’ – Richard

Encouraging people to have new experiences is a big part of the Gig Buddies ethos. Coming along to see the folk artist ‘Brigid Mae Power’ was the first time Bilal had attended a mainstream gig:

‘I saw ‘Brigid Mae Power’, and ‘Shredd’. I liked them, it was a really good experience as it’s bands I’ve never heard before. It was really loud, I had to wear earplugs, we got them for free by asking as the bar. ‘Brigid Mae Power’ was the first gig I’d ever been to. She was a really good singer, it was a great first gig. I’ll definitely be going to more!.’ – Bilal

We have more information about our past collaborations with IVW coming soon. We look forward to seeing you at our online panel discussion ‘Access All Areas’ on January 28th over on the Gig Buddies with Thera Facebook Page.