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Accessible Festivals

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Austin Whitney was in a car accident in 2007 that paralyzed him from the waist down. Six months after his accident, he attended his first music festival. This was a watershed moment in his recovery because it was the first time since his spinal cord injury that he was able to smile and simply enjoy life. Thanks to the accommodations provided at the festival, he could enjoy the music experience like everyone else. • • With his legal education from UC Berkeley School of Law, Austin began working in ADA Compliance departments at some of the nation’s largest festivals so that he could help others have access to live music as well. During the course of his work, he realized that personal interaction with patrons is the single most important component of a successful Accessibility program. Understanding the true nature of disabilities, and the corresponding needs that arise in a festival environment is essential for providing the ability to experience live music, regardless of the situation. Utilizing this “human element” philosophy as the core of Accessible Festivals' mission, Austin applies his legal knowledge and personal experience with a disability, toward developing a better way of creating practical accessible environments at music festivals. • • Whether it's an ambulatory disability, hearing or vision impairment, we provide the accommodations necessary so that everyone can fully experience the beauty of music festivals. With simple and relatively inexpensive modifications, any temporary event can be made accessible to anyone, in any situation. • • Our vision is to provide the tools necessary for understanding disability on a societal level, so that no one feels stigmatized based on something that cannot be controlled, and we begin this journey at music festivals.

Keywords: music affordable


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