There’s no better way to jam to your favorite artists than going to a music festival. But partying with a rowdy crowd for a weekend can take a toll on you and your wheelchair. The long distance between the stages and restrooms may not be ideal for your cath routine. Dirt, mud and sand may wreak havoc on your chair.
Don’t let those potential pitfalls ruin your fun. With proper planning, you can enjoy nonstop live music with thousands of other music lovers. Since summer is around the corner, we decided to put together this list of music festivals and their accessibility accommodations so you can find the one that’s right for you.
April 15-17, 2016 & April 22-24, 2016; Indio, CA
Held in Indio, California, Coachella is one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Patrons can camp out for the weekend while enjoying artists like Sia, Guns N’ Roses, and Calvin Harris.
According to its website, Coachella is a fully accessible event, with accessible pathways connecting parking, vendors, and performance stages. They will also offer preferred campsites with close access to restrooms and showers, pathways, and shuttles. ADA-compliant parking, accessible viewing areas, and charging stations for power wheelchairs will also be available.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 22-May 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA
In its 46th year, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has a lineup with something for everyone. It’s 7 days of great music, handmade crafts and delicious Cajun food.
The Jazz Fest Express service is a wheelchair-accessible shuttle that travels between the festival location and parking lots. The festival will be hosted on a horse racetrack with paved and reinforced paths for those in wheelchairs. It will also have accessible restrooms that are reserved just for attendees with disabilities, which helps ensure availability and cleanliness.
Phone: (504) 410-6104
Bonaroo Music & Arts Festival
June 9-10; Manchester, TN
Bonaroo started as a folk rock festival and has grown to include a wide variety of artists, as well as comedy acts. The festival also features arts and crafts vendors, and a Christmas Barn, where festival goers can get a taste of the holidays in the middle of the summer.
Bonaroo has partnered with Everyone’s Invited, an accessibility consultant firm, and they have extensive information about accommodations for various disabilities on their website. They ask that any requests for accommodations be sent in by May 22 at the latest, but they recommend sending them in sooner than that to avoid last-minute scrambling. There will be accessible campsites, restrooms and showers, along with raised platforms for seeing the shows.
Hangout Music Fest
May 20-22; Gulf Shores, AL
Some of music’s biggest names, like The Weeknd and Alabama Shakes will be performing at this festival by the beach. This year, they’re introducing Camp Hangout, where attendees can relive some of the fun of summer camp.
As for accessibility, it claims to be a fully accessible event. The boardwalks and main roads will be accessible and they’ll offer an ADA Access team to help with navigation. They also will have accessible parking, restrooms and viewing areas.
June 10-13; Bethel Woods, New York
Billed as the world’s longest-running electronic dance music festival, Mysteryland USA also features camping, like Coachella and Bonaroo. This is the third year it’s being held on the same site as Woodstock.
They offer a pdf with information on accommodations for those with disabilities. Attendees will find accessible campsites, parking and viewing areas. The campsites are first-come, first-serve, so it’s recommended that you reserve one in advance.
Whether you’re a festival newbie or an experienced attendee, planning ahead will make your experience as stress-free as possible. Check in with the Access Center at the venue early, so you can focus on enjoying the music, hanging out with your friends and making awesome memories.
Have you ever had a great experience at a music festival? Tell us about it in the comments!