THE ASL TRANSLATORS: THE REAL HERO OF THE MUSIC FESTIVAL
There are the artists, the promoters, the security, the fans, the clean-up crew, the lightning technicians, the sound engineers… but they’ve all been given their due in the past. This is for someone more important than all of that. This one goes out to the true unheralded hero of the music festival: the ASL Translators.
If you’ve never been close enough to the stage to notice the people dance-singing the American Sign Language versions of songs as the bands on stage play them, you’re seriously missing out. This is one of the most touching aspects of music festival culture, and most are starting to get on the train in making their event accessible to the hearing impaired. This is what it’s all about. This is honest, hard-working, decent people giving back to fans, sharing with those who can’t, and making the music festival community a bit more INCLUSIVE in the process.
Now everybody can get a little bit of that magic that has so many enraptured. In a world full of horribleness, here’s a bit of bright for your day.
One of our favorite moments comes from this year’s Lollapalooza with Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers straight up jamming out with the interpreter.
There is a treasured interaction, with The Peppers giving up the spotlight for the briefest of moments and truly sharing the stage, with both kinds of singers (vocal and ASL) front and center during a performance of “Under The Bridge.” It’s incredibly endearing, for an already endearing tune, making this for sure a top moment for those hard of hearing at this year's festival. While the deaf can feel the music, they likely are unable to decipher what Kiedis is saying up there if not for this hero to the side of the stage interpreting for him. So grateful to have this moment captured from the 2018 livestream and easily shareable with the rest of the world. This is something that has to be seen by everyone. Share this clip with your Grandma.
There are so many other clips worth sharing, but none give as much hope for humanity as the one above. In the next video Waka Flocka Flame seems to have absolutely no clue what’s going on and decides to try and get down with a sign-language interpreter instead of letting her do her job.
Watch, she’s amazing. She crushes it and takes a moment to get down with Flocka, barely missing a beat in signing along with the rapper. This is a professional, doing professional work. Even when thrown by the many distractions of the music festival, she keeps on signing for the people out there who need it.
While not doing it in an official capacity, here’s a video of two friends sharing an absolutely amazing sign-language moment at TomorrowWorld. What a beautiful viral clip that brings a tear to my little raver eye just thinking about it. Talk about PLUR. I don’t know anything about these two women. Who they are, what’s their backstory or ARE THEY EVEN FRIENDS? But a picture says a thousand (or a thousand x 24 fps) words, doesn’t it? This is true friendship.
Next time you’re at a show, make sure to take a look either near the ADA section, or to the front right of the stage. I’m sure there’s someone grooving along with the tune, signing the words for those who can’t hear. This is an amazing thing that the community does and I hope that you take a moment to take note next time you’re out partying. Music really IS for everybody. Treasure that.
[Images labelled for reuse with modification from wikimedia]
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.