Events Are For Everyone – Including the Disabled

Tejano Gold Radio the Magazine - May 2013
Tejano Gold Radio the Magazine – May 2013
Tejano Gold Radio the Magazine
May 2013
Recently a listener wrote to us and mentioned how she is disabled and is unable to attend most of the great Tejano and Conjunto events where her favorite artists are scheduled to perform.
She’s not alone, and numbers and demographics don’t lie.
Tejano fans are by and large Hispanic, and if I were to guess, the average age of our audience is somewhere around 45 years old and getting older with each passing year. On top of that, the prevalence of diabetes has gotten so high among Latinos that the National Institutes of Health actually refer to it as an epidemic. According to their website, nearly 12% of all Latinos over age 20 are diagnosed with the disease.
Chronic diseases like diabetes can cause a variety of disabilities and conditions that can prevent people from enjoying the activities they love, like going to live music events. It’s not uncommon for music to be one of the only things that someone with a disability can still enjoy. Many times, they are often the first ones to purchase new CD’s and are always listening to and supporting their favorite stations and artists.
Promoters, venues, and artists can truly make a difference in someone’s life if they take this into consideration when planning events. Planning for accessibility can actually make the event better for everyone attending, regardless of whether they are disabled or not.
Disabilities come in many forms, and here are a few ideas to accommodate those who need assistance:
  • Space for wheelchairs near the stage
  • Ramps
  • Handicapped parking spaces
  • Clean, handicapped-accessible restrooms
  • Staff or volunteers with flashlights available to make sure paths are clear to restrooms and exits
  • For outside events, plenty of shade and fans
  • Adequate seating, with additional folding chairs available as needed
Fans with disabilities should also contact the promoter before the event to find out what kind of accommodations are in place.
For those who are homebound and in seriously poor health, the show can be streamed live over the internet using Ustream (the same service that Tejano Gold Radio uses). Or the shows can be recorded and uploaded to YouTube or shown on television afterwards. In Austin, Tommy “The Lion” De Leon began recording live Tejano music shows for his father, who loved Tejano music but was too sick to go them himself. Even after his father’s passing, Tommy continues to record events as a service for people with similar conditions. The videos are then broadcast on Austin’s local public access television show, Fiesta Musical.
Music is for everyone, regardless of how many legs, arms, or eyes they have. Live music events, in particular, have a special kind of magic that everyone should be able to enjoy.
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