In Toronto, Ontario, the Toronto Music Advisory Council has created the Toronto Music Strategy, with the goal of growing the city’s music scene and supporting related creative and business endeavours. However, one thing the strategy lacks is a plan to address the inaccessibility of many of Toronto’s music venues. An article on the website of Now Toronto outlines some perspectives on why the accessibility of live music should be addressed.
Writer Michael Rancic discussed accessibility with several Toronto residents who have faced barriers when trying to attend concerts. One interviewee who uses a wheelchair noted that if he avoided venues with inaccessible washrooms, he would be boycotting almost every single one around him. Venues and festivals need to publicly detail how accessible their spaces are.
Ellen Flanagan, a music fan, occupational therapist, and person with a disability, co-creates detailed reviews of music venues that are posted on accessto.ca (http://www.accessto.ca/home/2016/1/27/tranzac-club?rq=ellen%20flanagan). She has noticed that music venues are generally less accessible than theatres because they are less likely to be dependent on government grants that bind buildings to adhere to accessibility legislation.
The music community should not bear the responsibility of ensuring that music venues are accessible, so audience members and musicians of all abilities can participate in a vibrant scene.