Diversity, accessibility and inclusion at Vegan Camp Out
Vegan Camp Out is inclusive and celebrates the many different approaches and points of view that are all part of a truly diverse and welcoming vegan community. We believe that diversity drives innovation, conversation and growth in veganism. We create opportunities to be a part of the festival and different ways and offer them to as many people as possible.
We believe that racism, bigotry and all forms of oppression exist within a system that includes speciesism, and to stand up against one is to stand against them all. Working for inclusivity is part of our veganism and should be the norm for everyone.
We have and always will work to create events that are accessible to everyone. This includes, and is not limited to, the different social identities of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion, beliefs and political leanings. While we respect freedom of expression, we reject hatred and all forms of violence.
We believe in actions over words and so invite speakers from all backgrounds, with all gender expressions, sexualities, abilities and so on. We do not invite speakers, traders or partners based solely on their identity, but by the merit of their work in advocating for vegan principles, promoting self-care within the vegan community, or for their dedication to championing the rights of all animals both human and non-human.
We want our events to be open to everyone and are always looking at ways to improve the way we communicate our efforts in this regard. This diversity statement will detail the steps we currently take or have taken in the past, and will be updated as new measures come into place. Understanding and promoting diversity is a continuing process of education and discovery.
Our small team of organisers has stayed very much the same since we first started. We started as a small group of individuals who came together first and foremost with the shared belief that the community both needed and deserved its own weekend festival.
We don’t hire staff very often, and our teams of stewards and security are provided by an external partner chosen by our site manager based on past experience with other events and professional recommendations.
When in future we do recruit, we will use strategies to make sure job adverts reach and attract a diverse range of applicants, and avoid any language that might stop a potential candidate from applying.
Speakers, bands and festival partners
We have in the past received criticism for our choice of speakers and would like to acknowledge that feedback, and also give our assurances that those concerns are always on our mind when putting together our line-up each year. We are mindful to watch for any unconscious bias towards individuals of certain dominant social identities.
It is in our best interest and that of everyone who makes Vegan Camp Out what it is - from festival goers to food vendors - to create a line-up full of talent and inspiration that appeals to people from all backgrounds, representing as many people from the vegan community and wider society. If we truly want to grow the vegan community, we must reach beyond it and break through stereotypes.
Every festival line-up is a culmination of many different factors. While it may feel as if putting together a diverse line-up is as simple as sending out an invitation, unfortunately, it is rarely that straightforward. Reaching out via websites, social media, personal contacts or agents is just the first step, after which we are at the mercy of people’s schedules, their ability to travel, and circumstances that are often outside of our control such as health issues and in the case of 2020 and 2021, a global coronavirus pandemic.
We send out hundreds of invitations to speak or perform on one of our four stages - the main stage, activism stage, music stage and our mind and body area - or to work with us as stallholders, food vendors or other partners. These invitations go out across the identity spectrum. If you have yet to see someone on the line-up, it is likely we have already asked them but it could not be arranged. This is not to say that it wouldn’t happen in the future - we take seriously every request we receive from the community to invite someone to speak, perform or become a Vegan Camp Out partner and frequently send out new invites for following years.
One example of how we’re working to foster an environment of inclusivity in 2021 is to display speaker pronouns to normalise gender identity. We are trialling this on the activism stage in 2021 with the consent of our speakers. Not all wish for their pronouns to be displayed, and this of course is their choice and must be respected as much as it is someone’s choice to display their gender identity.
Accessibility at our events
We are always looking to improve accessibility at our events, and welcome feedback and requests from people who want to attend our festival and have access needs. If you would like to contact us about specific needs, please email info[at]vegancampout.co.uk or reach out to us via our social media.
In 2018 and onwards we have had British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters on-stage on both our main and activism stages. We have an excellent working relationship with our BSL partner and they prepare themselves for each talk, presentation and screening (where there are no subtitles available) ahead of each event. The BSL team reviews all our talk outlines and presentations to ensure they can interpret the language adequately.
There are also areas at the front of the audience seating or close to the stage for wheelchairs. All aisles and thoroughfares are kept wide enough for wheelchair access and evacuation in cases of emergencies.
We have a camping area for people with disabilities, which is next to our quiet camping area for those who need a less noisy environment. We also have entrances to the campsite for families and those with disabilities.
For families we have a family camping area far from the noise of the main stage. This has been a feature of the Vegan Camp Out since 2018. Families can have a calmer, quieter place to return to in-between enjoying the festival and to sleep at night, far from the music and main stages where music goes on until 2am.
Health & Safety and Safeguarding
For our Health & Safety procedures and safeguardian policy, please refer to www.vegancampout.co.uk/safeguarding-policy-and-procedure.