Volunteer Voices: Hanna

Attitude is Everything volunteer, Hanna (she/her), shares experiences of being a Mystery Shopper and peer mentor.

My name is Hanna, and I’ve recently become a Mystery Shopping Peer Mentor with Attitude is Everything. It has been fantastic to have the opportunity to support others and help raise the voices of disabled audience members.

Live music is an integral part of my life, and the cathartic nature of attending such events is absolutely priceless. Being in a room full of people who have gathered for the shared love of art is an incredibly moving experience, and that energy is able to transcend all that attempts to divide us. Music has also been my constant companion through the seasons of my life, through the challenges, the celebrations, to filling the quiet moments of everyday activities. It’s almost ethereal to be in a room full of people singing the same words, but with the knowledge that each person is connecting with it for various, personal reasons. By attending gigs, it feels as if I’m able to immerse my soul in the atmosphere and celebrate making it to that moment.

Incredible experiences such as these should be available to everyone. True accessibility is about having options, and seeing the potential of what’s possible in expanding the range of choice for people with disabilities at live music events is what drives me. I’ve had various experiences across many venues, and there is a lack of consistency. The drastically different arrangements and interactions only proves that this conversation is absolutely critical in not only maintaining, but evolving society’s understanding of what qualifies as “accessible.” I’ve had disheartening moments that makes me feel as if I just tick a metaphorical box for a venue, but I hold on to the immensely positive experiences that serve as proof that there is always hope for change.

As a disabled audience member, I have encountered a number of challenges and obstacles when attempting to attend and enjoy various gigs and concerts. Through Mystery Shopping, I’ve been able to be more proactive and turn these experiences into something beneficial for the community. With my disabilities, it can be easy to feel overlooked, unheard, and dismissed, but it’s been incredibly empowering to feel as if I have a voice through mystery shop reports. With my words, I am able to take a situation and help shed light on what can be improved for everyone going forward. Attitude is Everything has provided an incredible outlet for my energy that can be used to create direct, positive change in the world of live music.

A crowd in a venue in front of a stage with artists performing