InTents August/September 2022 - 22

QA&
ACCESS FOR ALL
ased in Clearwater, Fla., Direct Access, a disability and inclusion
consulting fi rm, works with organizations in various industries to
help them become more inclusive. Clients include parks and recreation
spaces, world expositions, festivals, major sporting events and others.
Direct Access comes at this from a unique perspective-its team is made
up entirely of those with disabilities, says Steve Dering, operations director.
Now that festivals are returning, it's important that everyone is
able to fully-and comfortably-enjoy them. InTents asked Dering
what festivals should do to deliver the best possible experience
for all attendees.
B
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes
festivals make that negatively affect accessibility?
A: Probably the biggest is not providing information. People with
disabilities want to go and experience festivals and events but cannot
fi nd information on the level of access or what to expect when they visit.
Providing this in an accessible format enables people to make their own
judgment about going. It's not just about how many ramps there are.
People need to know about parking, how long is the event, if there are
strobe lights people may fi nd disorientating. If there's a sign language
interpreter, are deaf people aware of this? If not, they're unlikely to want
to attend. I'm deaf myself and would think nothing of crossing a state to
see an accessible performance.
Q: What are the consequences of this failure?
A: People with disabilities (by themselves) in the U.S. alone control
approximately $645 billion in disposable income. Add in non-disposable
income, funds belonging to friends and family that people with
disabilities can infl uence and globalize, and you get $8 trillion total
global purchasing power.
It's not just fi nancial; there's a moral and ethical justifi cation for being
inclusive. Everyone benefi ts from access. [For example] wheelchair
access to a venue will also enable families with pushchairs or young
children to access the site.
People with disabilities are very quick on social media to highlight not
just failings but successes. Get accessibility right and large numbers of
disabled people will be part of the event.
Q: How can festivals become more inclusive and do a better job
of meeting ADA requirements?
To fi nd out, see Dering's article on page 40.
22 intents aug-sept 2022
structures. In addition to festivals,
Edge Elite services weddings, military
ops, disaster relief, corporate events
and industrial clients. Pre-COVID,
about 30% of its business came
from music and seasonal festivals.
" The structures we build for a
festival generally depends on the size
of the event, " Edge explains. " For larger
ones we build a lot of high-peaks,
10-by-10s and clearspans. At smaller
events, we tend to see more pop-ups,
West Coast frame-style, custom highpeaks
and small Century tents. "
Now that festival activity is climbing,
Edge Elite is looking at opening
new ield operation ofices around
the country. This will enable the
company to still train technicians
in-house while lowering costs, since
currently, technicians come from the
headquarters and travel nationwide.
Still, festivals haven't yet returned to prepandemic
levels, particularly for smaller
ones. For example, before COVID, Rusty
Parr, president of A V Party Rental-a
full-service rental company in Newhall,
Calif., serving homeowner, corporate,
education and nonproit clients-says
the company would have several dozen
festival-type event on the books, ranging
in size from 100 to 4,000 people.
" We've got a few on the books now,
but they're deinitely not as big as in
the past, " he says. " I'd say compared
to 2019, only about 60% of the public
events have returned so far. Some
will never come back; some have
moved to other rental companies;
and quite a few are still very cautious
and afraid to pull the trigger. "
The nearly two-year hiatus in festivals
and fund-raisers, and the changes in
the company's costs and resources,
sparked a reevaluation of rental fees to
these customers. Although concerned
about client retention, A V Party Rental
brought its pricing " back in line, "
rather than trying to drag in business

InTents August/September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents August/September 2022

InTents August/September 2022 - Cover1
InTents August/September 2022 - Cover2
InTents August/September 2022 - 1
InTents August/September 2022 - 2
InTents August/September 2022 - 3
InTents August/September 2022 - 4
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InTents August/September 2022 - Cover3
InTents August/September 2022 - Cover4
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