Music Festival ADA Accessibility: 2016 Guide

Do you consider yourself a music lover? Then consider a music festival!

Whether you’re into indie, electronic, pop, hip hop, or rock, there is likely a music festival out there that hosts several of your favorite bands. Seeing them play live over the course of a day (or several days) can be quite an exhilarating experience.

Every year, festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella are continuing to grow, announcing massive, can’t-miss lineups.

However, if you are disabled, you might find yourself getting frustrated quickly. Getting your wheelchair stuck in the mud, being unable to find accessible viewing areas and parking, or being crammed between able-bodied festival-goers doesn’t normally equate to a “good time.”

People on concert

“Ummm… Can I get a little elbow room?”

101 Mobility® believes that people of all abilities should be able to enjoy the show together in harmony. That’s why we decided to provide you with the ultimate 2016 festival accessibility guide to some of the largest music festivals in the nation.

Here are a few helpful tips on how to get the most out of your music festival experience this year:

SXSW – March 11-20, 2016

Taking place in Austin, Texas, SXSW (South By Southwest) is an annual festival for film, interactive media, as well as music. This year’s lineup even includes President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as keynote speakers!

When it comes to matters of accessibility, SXSW encourages all guests with a disability to contact access@sxsw.com as soon as possible to handle any questions or accommodation requests. Although the festival doesn’t provide mobility devices (such as wheelchairs) or personal services (such as assistance eating or pushing of wheelchairs), they do offer:

  • Accessible bathroom facilities
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Accommodations for wheelchairs and 3- or 4-wheel electric scooters
  • Accessible parking and transportation

To see a full list of SXSW’s accessibility accommodations, visit http://www.sxsw.com/accessibility.

Bonnaroo – June 9-12, 2016

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day music festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. This year’s massive lineup includes Pearl Jam, Dead & Company, and the return of LCD Soundsystem.

Bonnaroo encourages guests with a disability to contact access@bannaroo.com for accommodations before the deadline of May 22. What kind of accommodations does the music festival offer? Bonnaroo offers its disabled attendees:

  • Disabled viewing areas
  • Shuttle service from the airport (email samcomerchero@yahoo.com for more information)
  • Vehicle pass for accessible camping
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Motorized wheelchair and scooter rentals (email gjarrell@respathome.net for more information)
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Guided tours for attendees who are blind

To see a full list of Bonnaroo’s accessibility accommodations, visit https://www.bonnaroo.com/information.

Firefly Music Festival – July 16-19, 2016

Held in Dover, Delaware, Firefly Music Festival is a premier music festival that brings together renowned headliners and emerging artists alike. This year’s lineup includes Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, and Florence & The Machine.

Firefly Music Festival has an entire accessibility guide for their festival, including tips on transportation, camping, the festival grounds, services, service animals, and medical considerations. The festival encourages guests with a disability to contact accessibility@redfrogevents.com to send specific inquiries or requests. Firefly Music Festival offers:

  • Raised viewing platform access
  • Accessible parking for anyone with a verified ADA placard or license plate
  • Accessible shuttles
  • Preferred camping to meet the needs of disabilities
  • Ability to recharge motorized scooter at Access Center
  • Assisted listening devices

To see a full list of Firefly’s accessibility accommodations, visit https://fireflyfestival.com/info/accessibility/.

Coachella – April 15-17, April 22-24, 2016

Held every year in Indio, California, The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival brings visitors from near and far to enjoy two full weekends of music. The 2016 lineup includes LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, and Calvin Harris.

When it comes to accessibility, Coachella claims to be fully accessible and dedicated to continually improve its efforts to ensure guests have access to all of the festival amenities. For any special requests or questions, Coachella asks guests to email ada@coachella.com. The festival offers:

  • Fully-navigable pathways throughout the venue for wheelchair access
  • A separate ADA parking lot
  • Preferred camping locations for those with accessibility needs
  • An Access Center located at the entrance for all accessibility-related inquiries
  • Accessible viewing areas
  • Assisted listening devices

To see a full list of Coachella’s accessibility accommodations, visit https://www.coachella.com/ada/.

Lollapalooza – July 28-31, 2016

Taking place at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, Lollapalooza is a popular music festival that (for the first time) spans four days. Headlining this year’s lineup are acts from Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Sam Smith.

For special disability-related requests, be sure to email access@lollapalooza.com. Although Lollapalooza does not have ADA parking, the festival does offer those with a disability:

  • Wheelchair accessible grounds
  • Specially designated festival entrance for disabled patrons
  • An Access Center to provide relevant information, charge power wheelchairs
  • ADA wristband program for mobility impairments or deaf/hard of hearing
  • Sign language interpreters

To see a full list of Lollapalooza’s accessibility accommodations, visit http://www.lollapalooza.com/information/.

Which festival are you going to this year? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!