Where Are D.C.’s Accessible Music Venues?

By Ally Schweitzer


In August, Bandwidth contributor Tori Kerr took a close look at the accessibility of D.C.’s music venues. She found that numerous DIY spaces were closed to music fans with mobility disabilities, even though federal law requires them to be accessible when possible.

Some operators of these small venues don’t realize they’re subject to the guidelines established by the Americans With Disabilities Act. (For more on this, check out Kerr’s piece.) On top of that, many of them don’t publicize whether or not they’re accessible.

Showgoer and record label owner Sean Gray has a partial solution to that problem: Make a list of D.C.’s accessible venues. He’s started a new Tumblr called “Is This Venue Accessible?”

“I have a disability and going to shows (DIY or otherwise) has been something I’ve been doing for half of my life now,” Gray writes on the blog. “But because of the lack of accessibility in some of these venues and/or the lack of information, I have been unable to experience many shows as well.” In an email, he points to two recent shows—last night’s Select DC-booked gig at Back Alley Theater and tonight’s Coke Bust show at The Pinch—as prime examples.

“Maybe if there’s actual data, people will care,” Gray writes.

Gray is asking the public to send information about venue accessibility to Contact.ITVA@gmail.com. Got a favorite venue you know is accessible? One that isn’t? Let him know.

Here’s the beginning of Gray’s D.C. venue list, including detailed information on accessibility for ground floors, upper floors and bathrooms. The nascent list includes big clubs like Rock & Roll Hotel and 9:30 Club. Gray hopes to eventually add information about underground music spaces, too, particularly because those are the ones most likely to be inaccessible.

Photo by Flickr user danielderrick used under a Creative Commons license.