Bonnaroo and More: Making Music Festivals Accessible
Tips for the Wheelchair User Festival-Goer
Bonnaroo music festival is June 13-16 in Manchester, Tennessee. Do you have your accessible accommodations secured?
In 2018, the popular music festival Bonnaroo was awarded the International Festivals and Events Association/Haas & Wilkerson Best Accessibility Program. Bonnaroo employees have worked hard to ensure an accessible music festival experience for all festival-goers, including music-aficionados who use wheelchairs.
Many of the deadlines for Bonnaroo's accessible accommodations are long past, but if you thought you could never visit a music festival like Bonnaroo, think again. Everything from interpreters to listening devices are available for festival attendees who need them to make music festivals accessible. Here are our tips for making the most of your accessible Bonnaroo experience on “The Farm."
At Bonnaroo, as with most large festivals, you can now register your wristband to act as a debit card. Simply load the amount of money you want on the band to cover things like food, drinks, merchandise…basically, anything that you would normally use a card for. It’s easy, it’s safe, and even for people with limited mobility, it makes paying for what you need quick and easy so you can get back to get your prime position near the stage.
Visit Adaptive Yoga Sessions
Another way to make music festivals accessible are break out activities that are tailored for people with disabilities. Bonnaroo is offering a wheelchair-accessible yoga session open to all festival yogis and will have guidance for blind attendees and will provide a sign language interpreter. The 2019 adaptive yoga session will be Friday, June 14 @ 10 am.
Rent an Accessible Scooter, Motorized Wheelchair, or Manual Wheelchair
Anyone with a mobility disability can rent a scooter, an electric wheelchair or a manual wheelchair for the duration of the event. However, there are a limited number of assistive devices available, so a reservation is required. For people who don’t want to rent a chair, golf carts are rentable to visitors with mobility disabilities and one companion. This cart works like a shuttle and drops at three main stops, so you will still need to travel around the festival grounds and camping area on your own.
Overnight Camping and Other Amenities
One of the great things about music festivals is overnight camping. One of the worst things about music festivals for the wheelchair user is overnight camping. Depending on your chair type and preferences, some camping options may not be suitable for your needs.
According to the Bonnaroo site, there are several options available to festival-goers.
Car camping is a great option if you have an accessible vehicle. You can pack your valuables in your car and access them at any time thanks to a fold-out or infloor ramp. For groups of 4, you’ll get a car camping pass for free. With this pass, you can pitch your own tent or canopy next to your vehicle to catch the breeze while enjoying the shade and energy of your fellow campers. You can even rent an accessible vehicle for the weekend through your local dealer or the local dealer in Tennessee.
Day parking is probably not ideal for a typical wheelchair user. In this scenario, you can park your car, but you will need to rely on friends for camping accommodations because tent camping next to your vehicle isn’t allowed. Unless your new-found friends have the comfortable space you need, day parking may be too risky to attempt.
RV camping could also be a great option for a wheelchair user for Bonnaroo. Some RV’s can have accessible wheelchair lifts installed on them. See this blog for more information on accessible RV’s.
Le Bon Tents
Le Bon tents are a large, standard issue tent that comes with two sleeping bags and two air mattresses. There are several packages ranging in amenities, including one with electricity to help charge your phone, your laptop, your wheelchair, whatever is needed.
Group Camping or Community Camps
One of the greatest things about music festivals are the friends you meet along the way. You could create or join your own “groop” of 24 people or try a themed camp for solo campers or non-drinkers to find like-minded friends in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
Lucky for many Bonnaroovians, the festival has teamed up with local hotels and shuttles to take you to and from the festival in comfort. Reserving an accessible room here may be the best option in order to ensure your wheelchair battery can charge, you have access to accessible bathroom amenities, and comfort for a caregiver if you travel with one.
Accessible Bathrooms and More
Bonnaroo has an Access Center where patrons needing the music festival's accessible accommodations can visit during the duration of the festival. Visit the station for access codes to thinks like the accessible portable toilets and showers or passes to the accessible viewing stations during the festival.
Feel inspired to visit a music festival?
Check out the accessibility pages of some of the top music festivals in the world below: