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Students at forefront of making music festivals accessible to everyone

Two Music Business graduates from University of Gloucestershire have helped to create a series of walkthrough and sensory videos aimed at improving accessibility to major festivals.

Laura James and Fraser Bryan, both Music Business graduates, have been working with the accessibility team at Festival Republic – the largest festival company in the UK – to produce a range of digital content at Download Festival, following the successful pilot of the project at Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham.

Laura and Fraser collaborated to create two videos for the Download Festival – Campsite and Village Walkthrough, and Arena Walkthrough – while Fraser also produced a sensory video so that everyone who attended the event could go on to gain maximum enjoyment and involvement.

The captioned videos are designed to help visitors navigate their way around and become more familiar with the festival site before they arrive, focusing specifically on accessibility.

In addition to exhibiting the site’s layout, the videos include information about viewing platforms, accessible toilets, charging areas for mobility aids, medical and welfare areas, and the dedicated team offering British Sign Language interpretation.

Laura said: “We are both really proud of this work: filming, recording, and editing each video on site, with all three videos available to view before the last day of the festival.

“We also took photos of the festival site and its important facilities, supported by descriptive alt. text, acting as visual signposts to enable the festival’s customers with accessibility needs to familiarise themselves with the site.”

Fraser said: “We hope that by creating this content for more festivals and events, enabling customers to explore the sites virtually beforehand, we can encourage more disabled and neurodivergent people to attend live music events.”

Dr Matthew Lovett, Associate Professor of Music Innovation and Subject Lead for Music and Sound with the University’s School of Creative Industries, said: “We’re extremely proud of Laura and Fraser for their excellent work in helping to make festival music accessible and able to be enjoyed by everyone.

“This is a fantastic example of our students not only getting a great work placement in industry, but literally leading industry with what they’re doing.”

The duo are now looking to continue their work with Festival Republic to deliver this content across the rest of the company’s festival portfolio.

Picture: Music Business graduates Laura James and Fraser Bryan at the Download Festival