Mixmag journalist: Nightclubs still not thinking about disabled customers and accessibility

The latest edition of renowned dance-music magazine Mixmag, published in LA, Cape Town, London and Sydney, explores the difficulties of accessing nightclubs for disabled clubbers and DJs.

Journalist Alex Taylor, who uses a wheelchair, writes the article Nightclubs need to be way more accessible for disabled clubbers, calling out the fact that music fans are still often struggling to get into or around nightclubs. Though he does praise Ibiza's latest arrival Hi, for being fully accessible. 

Amnesia nightclub Ibiza door sign

Alex begins: "This summer, I made a clubbing pilgrimage to the White Isle, Amnesia my final port of call. Ticket in hand, I joined the throng – only to find the door shut in my face unless I paid double. My crime? I use a wheelchair and need a carer to help me on nights out.

At some clubs, the fact that I need a qualified carer with me to help me transfer to the toilet, navigate stairs and – perhaps most importantly – reach the bar to order drinks – is a burden I must, literally, pay the price for. Disability and clubbing, it seems, still causes trouble in paradise.

Amnesia have since apologised, saying that, where possible, “full details” of carers should be given in advance. For spontaneous visits, Amnesia requires “some type of ID proving the position of the carer”. Given that such ID is not standard practice, it remains unclear what exactly would be accepted," writes the journalist. 

Taylor continues: "In the words of Tom Head, a disabled clubber who also performs as DJ Void, “I don’t think clubs think about disabled customers or accessibility. It’s as though anyone with a disability isn’t expected.” Little surprise, then, that he sees “few obviously disabled people in clubs”."

The inaccessibility of ticketing websites

2014 Research by Attitude is Everything (AIE), a UK charity dedicated to improving access to live music for deaf and disabled pe

ople, found that many were put off even going to an event because of the inaccessibility of booking websites.

The charity's State of Access Report 2014, found that, of 228 disabled people surveyed: 

  • 95% had experienMixmag October 2017 cover featuring Bicepced disability-related issues when booking tickets
  • 88% felt discriminated against due to an inaccessible booking system
  • 83% had been put off buying tickets after finding it inaccessible
  • 47% considered taking legal action as a result.

Taylor writes: "A senseless situation given that disabled people have a combined purchasing power of £80bn in the UK alone. But even for clubbers like Head, who persevere, a lack of info online is the next hurdle. “Is a club accessible? Is there a disabled toilet and parking? These are vital questions that need answers,” he says.

Club music should heal not hinder

The article discusses the healing power of music and clubbing for people with disabilities and references Chicago DJ Paul Johnson, famed for house classic Get Get Down, who uses a wheelchair, as well Ibiza’s newest – and fully accessible – super-club Hï, which has signed up Black Coffee - who performs without the use of his left arm - for a residency.