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Music lovers enjoy full accessibility at first “deaf-friendly” festival

Deaf people from far and wide joined together earlier this month, to celebrate the first deaf accessible music festival.

If you’ve been following along, you know I attended the Good Vibrations Music Festival on May 20, in Texas….

and it was amazing!

Being profoundly deaf myself, for the first time in my life I finally felt included at a music event. It just goes to show that even though it was an enjoyable event, it’s about why it was enjoyable: the fact that we felt like we belonged for once.

Additionally, I was able to meet other members of the “hearing loss community” who I knew online, as well as connect with new friends. It really demonstrates how important it is to make events like this accessible to the deaf community.  

The festival was hosted by Aid The Silent, and included musical acts by Ben Rector, along with Matt Wertz, Penny & Sparrow, Ryan Proudfoot, Emma Rudkin and Brad Blackburn, who lined the stage to perform to an enthusiastic and excited audience.

 

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American Sign Language interpreters were also at hand throughout the festival, and on stage alongside the bands, which brought real vibrancy and expression to the bands’ performances.

“I enjoyed the fact I could read everything on the big screen, through the live captioning,” said Tracey Banda, the mother of deaf model Gabriella. “Most of the time at events like this, I can’t understand much of what is being said, due to being hard of hearing myself and I rely on others to clarify what’s being said.”

Vibrating backpacks, provided by Subpac were another element of accessibility, which enabled deaf people to feel the vibrations and the bass of the music on their back.

“It was truly the best day of my life and it was awesome to see the deaf community experiencing music through vibrations with the backpacks” said Jhonelle, an event volunteer.

“It was truly the best day of my life and it was awesome to see the deaf community experiencing music through vibrations with the backpacks”

The festival also offered a wide variety of booths, attended by local hearing services and organisations relating to hearing loss. Craft stalls and games provided entertainment for all and food trucks were on hand to feed the hungry festival-goers, featuring deaf businesses who were showcasing their culinary entrepreneurial talents.

Let’s hope this will be the start of many more to come!

If you’d like to see more impressions from my time at the festival, please connect with me on Instagram

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Ellie Parfitt

Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn’t prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, working as a Marketing Executive for a Spa & Health Club, Events and Promotions Staff for a local newspaper as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.


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