Inclusive Summer Festivals And Events: Celebrate With Accessibility In Mind

Posted on July 20, 2023

Summer festivals and events bring people together in joyous celebrations of culture, music, art, and community. For brain injury survivors, disabled individuals, and their caregivers, inclusive summer festivals are an opportunity to participate fully in the festivities. Here's how organizers and participants can ensure accessibility and inclusivity for all attendees:

  1. Venue Selection: Choose festival venues that are wheelchair accessible and have designated accessible parking spaces. Ensure that pathways are smooth and free from obstacles to accommodate individuals with mobility challenges. Clearly mark accessible entrances and exits, restrooms, and seating areas.
  2. Communication Accessibility: Provide clear and accessible information about the festival schedule, performances, and amenities. Use large print, high-contrast signage, and Braille materials to ensure that individuals with visual impairments can access vital information. Utilize sign language interpreters for stage performances and important announcements.
  3. Quiet Zones: Designate quiet zones or relaxation areas for individuals who need a break from sensory stimulation. These areas can be beneficial for those with sensory processing difficulties, allowing them to recharge and enjoy the festival at their own pace. Provide seating and shade in these zones for added comfort.
  4. Sensory-friendly Performances: Consider hosting sensory-friendly performances with reduced volume and lighting, making them more comfortable for individuals with sensory sensitivities. Offer designated areas near the stage for attendees who prefer a quieter, less crowded experience.
  5. Assistive Listening Devices: Provide assistive listening devices for attendees with hearing impairments. These devices can enhance sound quality and help individuals fully engage with performances and announcements. Train festival staff on how to assist with the proper use of these devices.
  6. Accessible Seating Options: Offer accessible seating options throughout the festival grounds, ensuring that everyone can enjoy performances and activities from a comfortable vantage point. Reserve spaces for wheelchair users and their companions in prominent locations.
  7. Access to Food and Beverages: Ensure that food vendors provide accessible menus and offer options for various dietary needs. Create allergy-friendly food areas and clearly label allergens in food offerings. Offer designated lines for individuals who may need extra time or assistance in placing orders.
  8. Quiet Time for Fireworks: If fireworks are part of the festival, consider offering quiet fireworks displays with reduced noise levels. This allows individuals with sensory sensitivities to enjoy the visual spectacle without overwhelming auditory stimulation.
  9. Accessible Restrooms: Provide accessible restrooms with ample space for wheelchair users and changing tables for individuals with disabilities. Keep these restrooms clean and well-maintained throughout the event.
  10. Inclusive Activities: Offer a diverse range of activities that cater to various abilities and interests. Include hands-on workshops, inclusive sports, and art stations that accommodate different cognitive and physical needs. Encourage active participation and foster a sense of community among festival attendees.
  11. Volunteer Training: Train festival volunteers on disability awareness, etiquette, and best practices for assisting individuals with different abilities. Encourage volunteers to proactively offer assistance while respecting attendees' autonomy and independence.
  12. Feedback and Evaluation: Seek feedback from attendees about the festival's accessibility and inclusivity. Use this feedback to make improvements for future events and ensure that the festival evolves to meet the needs of diverse audiences.

By prioritizing accessibility and inclusivity, summer festivals can become vibrant and enriching experiences for all attendees. Celebrate with accessibility in mind, fostering a spirit of community, acceptance, and joy for brain injury survivors, disabled individuals, caregivers, and everyone else who revels in the festivities. Together, let's create a summer full of shared moments and cherished memories for all abilities.