Lollapalooza in sign language

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Lolla Had a great weekend with my family at Lollapalooza in early August. We saw a bunch of bands, including Arcade Fire, Jimmy Cliff, Balkan Beat Box, Drive-By-Truckers, Devo, Gogol Bordello, Spoon, Green Day, Blitzen Trapper, Freightened Rabbit, and The National (to name a few).

I was absolutely fascinated with the live sign language interpreters who were rocking to some of the more popular bands. They were stage right on a platform so that the people in a special section on the left side of the audience way up front could see both the interpreters and the band. And the section was right in front of a set of massive sub-woofers so those in the special section could feel the music.

Sign a
This photo shows Barbie Parker interpreting Yeasayer. Parker is with LotuSIGN, an Austin company of sign language interpreters specializing in live music and performance.

Interpreters like Barbie are artists in their own right. They need to be familiar with the music so they can facilitate an experience for the deaf and hard of hearing members of the audience, providing them access to the content, message, spirit, and artistic quality of live performance.

An important buyer persona for live performance

Sign b With the rise of MTV, music has become increasingly visual. Providing an experience for the hearing impaired to boogie too is a great way for festivals like Lollapalooza to sell more tickets.

Here is the special section. Dozens of people were having a blast!

I've been to hundreds of live shows and except for Lollapalooza last year and this year, I had never seen a promoter or band focus on the hearing impaired.

Good on you, Lolla. And congratulations to LotuSIGN for finding an unserved market niche and making so many people's lives better.

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