One of the best pieces of news emerging from the impressive schedule of festivals happening in Romania this summer is that Electric Castle has become the first music festival to be accessible to hearing-impaired people, giving them support to enjoy a fully-fledged experience of the event, from the gates to the main stage.
By Oana Vasiliu
According to Electric Castle officials, more than 23,000 Romanians are living with some sort of hearing impediment, and restrictive access to cultural events is just one of the forms of discrimination that they face each day. That’s why the organizers of Electric Castle Festival want to disprove the myth that a hearing-impaired person cannot appreciate music or connect to this type of art. “For the Romanian public, it is time to remove the barrier between people with healthy hearing and those with a hearing impairment, and Electric Castle hopes that its example will be followed by as many musical events as possible,” say the organizers.
From the entrance to the main stage shows, the festival will provide assistance to any hearing-impaired attendee. The teams at the access gates will include a sign language interpreter, with sign language also being accessible at the info point area and the main stage. Amber Galloway Gallego, the world’s best known sign interpreter, will translate all the songs of the artists performing on the main stage. Gallego caused a stir in 2013 when she made one of the first performances in her field at Kendrick Lamar’s concert at Lollapalooza, sending a powerful message to the world about a new way for everyone to enjoy live music. She not only interprets song lyrics but has developed a language that visually describes the “density” of the sounds, outlining different bass rhythms at the highest frequencies.
“It is a big step forward that we are taking in our relationship with people with disabilities and yet another way we want to convey that everyone is welcome to join the Electric Castle community. Until now, we have had this kind of audience with us only during the day when we created areas dedicated to activities and the arts. Now we can offer such visitors the full experience of what Electric Castle means and enjoy with them the power of music to unite, regardless of our identity,” says Andi Vanca, the festival’s director of communication.
People with hearing impediments, like all visitors with disabilities, have enjoyed free access from the first Electric Castle. The festival has dedicated areas for them and continues to invest, each year, to make the entire area a safe and accessible area for all types of audiences.
What not to miss
Highlights include conceptually innovative stages, lighting, technology, and arts to help break down the boundaries between electronic music, reggae, pop, and rock, as artists ignite the spectacular and unique surroundings for five days. Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Bring Me The Horizon headline this year. Last year over 212,000 people flocked to the festival. The event takes place at Bontida Castle, Cluj county, from July 17-22.