Good Vibrations, The First Fully Deaf-Accessible Music Festival Happens This Weekend

A combination of vibrating backpacks, a light show, and sign language interpretation will bring the music alive for all.

By Casey CheekMay 19, 2017 2:17 pm

Texas has more than its fair share of music festivals, and it can seem like there is something for everyone. But there wasn’t – at least that’s what Emma Faye Rudkin discovered.

She’s a public speaker, a two-time holder of the Miss San Antonio title, and founder of the nonprofit Aid the Silent. She’s also deaf, and saw a big opportunity to widen the outreach of music festivals to the deaf and hearing-impaired.

This Saturday Aid the Silent will host the Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival in San Antonio. the nation’s first known fully deaf and hard of hearing-accessible music festival.

Rudkin’s background in music inspired her to create this festival. She started playing music as a child and has learned to play the piano and guitar, among other instruments.

“I play the vibrations so I learned early on that music is not limited to what we can hear,” she says. “It’s something that we experience through interpreting and captioning and just the beats of the music.”

The festival will feature live captioning and ASL interpretation, in addition to vibrating backpacks and a visual light show that all sync to the performances.

Combined, these things “fill in the missing pieces that we wouldn’t be able to hear otherwise,” Rudkin says.

The goal of the festival is to create a shared music experience for both hearing and non-hearing festival-goers.

“It’s to teach the hearing community that the deaf community is very much there and no longer to be ignored,” Rudkin says. “It’s showing the business communities here in San Antonio, and all around the world hopefully, that you can throw a deaf accessible event and it’s really not that difficult.”


Written by Molly Smith.