Accessibility Series – When Accessibility is Music to our Ears

You can’t stop the music – but sometimes a lack of access can stop us getting to the music, especially if it is outdoors. Thankfully a host of music festivals now cater to people living with all sorts of disabilities. If you love your music, here are some events to check out.

Ability Fest

Easily the top of the list is this one-day music festival designed for people (age 18+) living with disability.

Ability Fest aims to promote diversity and inclusion and raise money to empower young people with disabilities to achieve their ambitions.

It was launched by the Dylan Alcott Foundation and the Untitled Group. Wheelchair sports star and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott is a big music fan who has even been known to crowd surf in his wheelchair.

The festival features specifically designed infrastructure for all levels of ability – including elevated viewing platforms and accessible pathways, ramps, and bathroom facilities – plus Auslan translators on stage, quiet zones for sensory sensitive patrons, support dog accessibility and free tickets for carers. All event staff are provided with disability inclusion training.

The 2021 event at Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens featured high-profile artists Alex The Astronaut, Ebony Boadu, Inkrewsive and Peking Duk who all donated their time – along with the venue and organisers – to raise $400,000.

Another festival is planned for Melbourne in 2023. 

Check out Ability Fest’s Website.  

Falls Festival

The annual Falls Music Festival is held in various locations around New Year and caters to people living with a disability. It recognises Companion Cards and provides disability amenities along with accessible parking and wheelchair access in some parts of the venue. Specific access arrangements can be made with organisers.

Falls Festival will be held in Melbourne on December 29, 30 and 31; in Byron Bay on December 31 and January 1 and 2; and in Fremantle on January 7 and 8.

It features headline acts including Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X, Chvrches, Ocean Alley, Spacey Jane, G Flip, Pink Pantheress and Amyl And The Sniffers. 

Learn more at Falls Festival’s Website.

Tamworth Country Music Festival

A regular fixture on the calendar for any country music fan, TCMF is running from January 13 to 22, 2023 with plenty of access for people living with a disability.

The event features an accessibility map on its main program, with disability transport and parking facilities and accessible toilets throughout the Festival precinct.

Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre, Tamworth Town Hall and Capitol Theatre have designated accessible viewing areas for patrons, while Toyota Park main stage features two large screens.

Find out all information on CMF’s website

Mitchell Creek Rock ‘N’ Blues Festival

Over three days from 15-17 September 2023, this blues festival features more than 120 artists on a private property at Mary Valley in the Noosa Hinterland.

It is a disability friendly event with designated access and viewing areas in performance venues, along with camping areas with disability access hot showers and toilet facilities.

All you need to know can be discovered on there website.

We can help

At LiveBig, we are all about helping people with a disability live their best life. Find out more about the many ways in which we can help and support you to do whatever you want to do.

Accessibility Series – Let’s Go to the Snow!

Disabled Wintersport Australia makes holidaying with a disability easier than ever, as signing up to their services means that you can access concession pricing but also their equipment, pathways, programs and other benefits. Memberships last for the year, which you can find out more about here: https://www.disabledwintersport.com.au/membership/

 

Where to?

Here are a few of our picks based on accessibility and exciting activities to take part in.

Perisher Ski Resort

Perisher Ski Resort, also known as Perisher Blue, is the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. Located in the Snowy Mountains, this ski resort boasts fantastic ski fields and wonderful facilities for everyone to enjoy. Perisher Ski Resort partners with Disabled Wintersport Australia to help guests of all abilities have an experience of a lifetime in the mountains. 

 

Thredbo

In the heart of Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains, the award-winning Thredbo ski resort is one of Australia’s best. With a picturesque village and fantastic slopes, Thredbo packs in the outdoor adventure. Partnering with Disabled Wintersport Australia, Thredbo has a DWA Resort Services coordinator who is a point on contact for information relating to disability services, including hiring adaptive equipment.

 

Mt Hotham

A lesser known alpine village, Mt Hotham has breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges with just a 4.5 hours drive from the heart of Melbourne. Also know as the ‘powder capital’, this resort is the only in the Southern Hemisphere to be located on top of the mountain. Mt Hotham welcomes visitors of all abilities, and supports Disabled Wintersport Australia‘s resort services program.

 

For a full list of accessible ski resorts, check out the trip planning section of the Disabled Wintersport website.

 

What to do?

Skiing the Slopes

Skiing is on the bucket list for many, and having a disability doesn’t stop you from joining in on the fun. By reaching out to Disabled Wintersport before your visit, you can organise private lessons at the Snowsports school. They are able to provide adaptive equipment, as well as being taught by an experienced guide.

 

Shop Till You Drop

Who doesn’t love a good shopping trip? Within the villages at all of the ski resorts, there are plenty of retail outlets that you can visit. After all, some call it shopping, but we call it retail therapy.

 

Wine and Dine

There are excellent restaurants and café’s in all of the Alpine Villages. Whether it’s chowing down on a burger at Thredbo Burger Bar, snuggling up with a hot choccy at the First Run Café in Mt Hotham, or enjoying something sweet at Lil Orbits Doughnuts at the Perisher Skitube Terminal, you’re in for a treat when you dine out at the Snow.

 

Local Festivities

With everyone flocking to the snow, the local resorts know it’s a great time to put on the festivities. At Thredbo, you can enjoy the Kids Snow Festival on from the 1-17th July, with a huge line up of free activities for all to enjoy. If you’re interested in sitting back and relaxing, watch the professionals master the slops at the Perisher Cup from the 17th September. For those staying in Mt Hotham in September, the Victorian Backcountry Festival takes place, which is a welcoming and inclusive event that teaches audiences more about the slopes while enjoying ski activities.

 

Next month, we’ll be taking a look at what Sporting events are taking place and how people with disability can take part in them.

Accessibility for VIVID Sydney 2022

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music, and ideas. For 23 days, the festival will connect our city to light artists, music makers, brilliant thinkers and all creatives.

Vivid includes outdoor immersive light installations and projections, performances by local and international musicians, and an ideas exchange forum featuring public talks and debates with leading creative thinkers.

This year Vivid Sydney is committed to reducing barriers and delivering an event that is accessible, diverse and inclusive. The program prides itself on a diverse representation of artists, identities, and communities – recognising and celebrating diversity and inclusion through art.

For the first time, the Light Walk will stretch for 8km – linking the Sydney Opera House to Central Station with 50 installations and projections from more than 100 artists.

Destination NSW promises the festival will feature “mesmerising art displays, 3D light projections, uplifting live music performances and deep-dive discussions from the world’s brightest minds”.

Plan your trip to Vivid Sydney here, where you can find up-to-date information on accessible services and facilities such as; viewing areas, toilets & adult change facilities, pre-booked minibus parking, drop-off & pick-up zones and more.

Download the Accessibility Map Here.  

For more information visit Vivid Sydney’ accessibility webpage .

Vivid Sydney commences on the 27th May and will conclude June 18, 2022.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day – Digital Design for Disability

The purpose of GAAD is to get people thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access and inclusion for people with disability. The digital experience should be as easy as possible for every user, including those living with disability.

Initiated by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon, and Toronto-based accessibility professional, Jennison Asuncion, the event was launched with the intention of raising awareness among the professional communities responsible for building and influencing technology.

Designers, developers, usability professionals and the general community are encouraged to take an hour on Thursday 21 May to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack of). This could include:

  • Going mouseless
  • Enlarging your fonts
  • Trying adaptive software tools
  • Surfing the web with a screen reader

Hot tip: Post an Instagram photo with Alt Text (This allows for visually impaired users to hear the description of the photo) – when posting photo, go into advanced settings and add a description into the alt text section. This supports users who rely on Alt Text to interpret and interact with the content.

While the internet offers the possibility of unprecedented access to information and connection for many people with disability, accessibility barriers can significantly limit the usability of certain technologies if a user can’t perceive, understand, navigate or interact with a product or platform. And while COVID-19 has created added challenges for many people with disability, it’s also opened up some wonderful new experiences, including access to live entertainment.

Our therapists may be able to work together with you and/or your family to explore how we can utilise digital accessibility or improve your digital accessibility (also known as assistive technology). Happy GAAD.

Areas that can be supported by assistive technology include:

  • Communication (though a Speech Therapist)
  • Mobility (through an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist)
  • Leisure and hobbies (through an Occupational Therapist or Psychologist)
  • Education/work (through an Occupational Therapist)
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