Insomnia organisers make gaming festival more accessible

Insomnia Gaming Festival says it has improved its accessibility policy to make it easier for all visitors to attend the show.

Insomnia welcomes more than 45,000 players each year and organisers say it has ‘a diverse community hailing from all walks of life, ages and abilities’.

Because of this, organisers have made the four-day event more accessible.

They say that every aspect of accessibility has been taken into account: from removing physical barriers to making mental health provisions, ensuring there are wheelchair-accessible stages, so stairs don’t get in the way of those looking to participate in the festival’s competitions and more.

Staff have been trained in mental health first aid, so that they can offer support to those who might need it during the festival.

There are carer tickets available to buy too.

Phil Crawford, part of Player1 Events, the organising body behind Insomnia, said: “Making the event entirely unrestricted for everybody is incredibly important for us. Insomnia Gaming Festival has always been about creating a sense of community beyond the computer screen, but we know that we cannot do that if we don’t truly take into account the needs of everyone.

“We want to make sure that all gamers feel part of the action and can enjoy the unrivalled atmosphere, without worrying about whether they will be included. This is a space for everyone and we are so proud to be leading the way, setting a precedent for other festivals.”

Phil Crawford, Player1 Events

Insomnia has also partnered with Special Effect, a UK-based charity who use video games and technology to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. The charity is an advisory partner to the event, assisting with accessibility and inclusivity policies, as well as adding to the content of the show.

“Working with Special Effect has truly opened our eyes to just how alienating a festival environment can be for those with additional needs. From simple things, like accessibility issues into the venue, to the stress that queuing can can cause those with anxiety: there’s so much that can be taken for granted. That’s why we’re changing the way we run our festivals, looking at prevention as well as cure, and placing a focus on designing out the obstacles,” Phil added.

The next festival will see Insomnia return to Birmingham’s NEC in April.

You can see the full accessibility of the NEC here

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