MU: Access Riders for Musicians


As musicians, we require that the venues where we play provide us with certain things in order for us to be able to offer our best performances. Some examples are tables to locate our equipment, dressing rooms to get ready after a long ride to the venue, parking space near or in front of the venue with the possibility to offload, ramp access, etc. While some might think those are a given that all venues offer by default, the truth is that many of them do not. This is particularly troublesome for musicians with disabilities. After all, if you require certain accommodations due to a disability, you might be hesitant to try your hand at gigging due to fear of venues ignoring your needs.

First of all, rest assured knowing that all musicians have the same right to perform at public venues, no matter whether they have a disability or not. To ensure that this is a reality, the key is that artists and venue owners communicate in advance to clarify the needs of the show and take action for it to go smoothly.

There are documents that help with this conversation. An access rider, for example, is a list that details your specific access needs. You can give an access rider to the venue owner right after booking so there is enough time for all parts to get things sorted. It is an efficient way to communicate because anyone involved can consult the document at any time, and nothing important slips off the organisation.

When writing your own access rider, you could consider the following questions:

  • What access issues have I experienced before and am likely to experience again?
  • How have these issues been solved?
  • What are my access requirements for online events and or meetings?
  • Are any of my access needs negotiable? 
  • Is everyone familiar with the technology I use or require?

If you are hesitant about how to write your own access rider, there are templates that you can use. For example, the Musicians Union has one with its guide of use and examples: Click here to take a look.

Being assertive and clear about what you need and what you can offer works wonders for your gigging life. We hope these resources help you get out there and share your music. If you find them useful, consider joining the Musicians’ Union to receive more support.