What Can I Do?
Hold Up The Mirror.
Who usually plays in your venue? Who works for you? Who puts money over the bar?
In other words… which communities are represented on your stage, on the dancefloor, and at the door/behind the bar?
Examine Your Assumptions
… about which acts and which promoters sell tickets.
- Dig into your demographic data. What changes to your audience demographics do you notice when you have different acts booked?
- If you’ve never tried to book the venue differently… how do you know what impact it has on revenue?
- If the genres your venue hosts are homogenous – why do you think that is? Is one kind of person simply inherently more talented? Or is it more likely that there are conditions that encourage or discourage certain kinds of people from participating?
Decide What Your Venue's Purpose Is.
Are you here to make money?
To connect people to new music?
To build community?
All of the above?
Then ask yourself: what kind of responsibility do you have as a gatekeeper of culture?
Prioritise and Commit.
- Implement an Inclusion Clause in your venue hire / booking agreement.
- Consider setting aside a certain number of nights per month for programming (either via promoters, or do it yourself as a venue if you need to) that will increase the diversity on your stage.
- Offer space or discounted hire fees to artist development initiatives in your area. Better yet: start your own.
- Hire venue techs from under-represented groups.
Check Your Culture.
If certain kinds of people feel unwelcome in your space, it’s a hard sell to get them onto your stage. (Or to put money across your bar.)
Does your audience/patron base tend to lack diversity?
Think about who feels comfortable in your venue, and why.
Then think about who feels uncomfortable in your venue… are there reasons for that?
Do you want to change it?
- Look into safer spaces measures for your staff and audience
- Diversify your own team from the very top to the very bottom
WHO FEELS COMFORTABLE IN YOUR VENUE?
Make your venue an inclusive space for the communities you’re trying to engage.
PRIORITISE SPACE IN YOUR CALENDAR
Look harder for more diverse talent to book, and commit to finding space for it.
TALK TO YOUR PROMOTERS
Start the conversation about what you want to see on your stage.
PUT IT IN THE CONTRACT
Put an inclusion rider component into your venue booking contract to encourage or require promoters to programme inclusively.
PUT IT IN YOUR VALUES
Make inclusivity and diversity part of your venue’s brand and core values.
SUPPORT NEW TALENT
See what you can do to help artist development initiatives in your area.