San Antonio stages deaf accessible music festival

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Aid The Silent Founder Emma Faye Rudkin introduced Good Vibrations Music Arts & Festival, a first of its kind event that will be accessible to those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. (Photo, Christina Acosta)

Nonprofit company Aid The Silent has recently announced that a first known full deaf/hard-of-hearing (HOH) accessible festival will be available in San Antonio.

Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, May 20 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the 1850 Settlement in San Antonio featuring headliner singer/songwriter Ben Rector. The festival will also feature live captioning, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, T coiling, front row seating, vibrating backpacks and a visual light show that will sync to performance for a true sensory experience.

The inaugural event will set the standards to give the opportunity to equal experiences to those who have a hearing disability. As a musician that plays four instruments, Aid the Silent Founder Emma Faye Rudkin decided to create a festival to bring awareness about her mission to assist the deaf/HOH community.

“When I started thinking about how to help others who fall into similar circumstances as I do, I recalled all my struggles growing up as a deaf person,” recollected Rudkin. “I wanted to be treated and experience the world as any of my friends and family members did. It was then when Aid The Silent came into fruition.”

About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears; and more than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, stated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Texas is the second largest population in the United States with 15 million Texans who are deaf/HOH, stated Aid The Silent.

In the United States, only 21 states require health insurance cover the costs of hearing aids. In Texas, there is no coverage, and hearing aids cost anywhere from $4,500 to $6,500 per pair. Those who need aids go without it because of lack of funds.

All proceeds collected from this event will go towards the four branches of Aid The Silent including:

  • Deaf Resources: fund hearing aids, speech therapy, assertive hearing devices for those who do not qualify for assistance and fund lessons for ASL.
  • Deaf Education: Programs that assist teachers to make learning assessable to the deaf/HOH individual.
  • Deaf Ministry: Sponsorship of a child and interpreter/captionist to attend a week-long stay to camp.
  • Deaf Research: fund research that benefits the deaf/HOH.

Since its launch in 2015, the organization has collected and donated more than 2,450 books for deaf/HOH children in the Philippines.

This year, the organization has accomplished the creation of Good Vibrations where festival goers will enjoy a full music experience. It is also going to be a festival where people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances can enjoy crafts, food and popular music together.

“Music, in particular, was something I’ve always loved. I want others who are deaf and hard-of-hearing to experience the passion in a way unknown— to feel with their entire body,” continued Rudkin. “Through what Aid The Silent is doing, I want to be able to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.”

For more information about the Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival, visit www.goodvibrationsmusicfest.com

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