I first saw SignKid perform at the Mayor of London’s Liberty festival in September 2018. His performance was unlike anything I had experienced before. SignKid is deaf, and writes and performs his music through British Sign Language (BSL). His songs feature a heavy bass, which allows him and us to feel the music.

My most memorable moment came when a little girl was following his performance, copying his moves, and so learning BSL as she did. She turned to her mother and told her she wanted to become a BSL interpreter.

SignKid joined us at Africa on the Square on the 27th October 2018 to perform on stage at Trafalgar Square. The BBC documentary, shared below, features his inspiring performance. It was an incredible moment to watch an audience of thousands perform BSL to his music with him.

A Powerful Message

As an event organiser, his lyrics hit home for me, with one song in particular ‘Who is going to stop the festival’.

But on the whole live shows don’t make it accessible
They should put more time into the set up of festivals
Because at the moment they are not doing well
And for deaf people, there should always be BSL”

While there can be physical challenges to accessibility at events such as festivals due to the nature of a greenfield site, for example, it is no excuse not to ensure we do the best we can within our ability to make events more accessible. There are measures we, as event organisers, can take which need not be expensive or complicated.

Within the UK there are organisations that provide support and advice on making events more accessible. Shape Arts share a helpful checklist for making events accessible; Attitude is Everything have detailed guides from improving campsites to event guides.

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t need to be expensive to improve accessibility in events, for attendees, performers and staff. Thanks to artists like SignKid and institutions like Deaf Rave, through raising awareness, sharing information, advice and training, we can all work together to ensure everyone can attend and enjoy events.

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