Promoting Tweed Tourism Through Arts and Entertainment


Tweed Music Festivals Inc

Festivals and Outdoor Events Protocol

Accessibility in Ontario: The Tweed Music Festivals Inc. has adopted The Accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities Act (AODA) to makes it possible for people of all abilities to be part of our community every day. Our vision is to ensure that all our Festivals and Events are accessible to all involved e.g. Audience, Volunteers, Vendors, and Artists, just to name a few.

This guide has been designed to help increase attendance and make our Festivals more enjoyable for everyone by improving event accessibility. It can help us with planning our Festivals, running the events, gathering feedback and improving the festival experience.

A person with a disability can be someone who:

• Has low or no hearing
• Has low or no vision
• Lives with a mental health issue
• Uses a cane, wheelchair or other mobility device to get around

Requirements as a Volunteer Organization, we are not required to comply with the AODA however, we chose to draft this guide to help us improve the accessibility of our Festivals so that the people who come back year after year can do so regardless of their ability and we can attract new festival-goers with disabilities to our Festivals.

Accessible Parking Spaces: Many people will use a car or van to come to our event. Picking a venue with accessible parking or creating a sufficient number of accessible parking spaces will make it easier for people with disabilities to attend our events.

When planning event parking, we will create accessible spaces as close as possible to:

Paths to the nearest accessible venue entries and exits
Any lifts and ramps for people using mobility devices
Accessible washrooms and toilets
Pay stations e.g. ticket pickup site

Tip – it is helpful to use arrival, exit and directional signs that are clear and can be read in all light conditions. The signs should start outside the parking area, so festival-goers can easily find accessible parking.

Public Transportation: Currently our festival participants do not arrive or leave by public transportation but should this change we need to provide accessible public transportation information wherever we post general transportation. We do provide shuttle service around the site and throughout the downtown area so the information needed should include:

• Schedules of accessible buses, trains and shuttles
• Information on whether the buses on the route are accessible
• Whether shelter is provided at each stop along the way

Paths of Travel: As we plan our events we need to think about the routes people will take throughout the venue and plan for accessible paths across the site that link all attractions and services.

Tip – electrical wires are a tripping hazard for everyone. Keep electrical wires out of the paths of travel or use cable protectors that are wheelchair accessible and are in bright/contrasting colours to alert people with low vision.

Stage and Seating: A ramp can used to provide stage access for people who may use mobility devices. Create or reserve areas with enough room for mobility devices with a view of the stage from a seated position. Ensure there are added seats and space for friends, family support persons or service animals. Some seats can be positioned to allow service animals to accompany their owner and rest in front of or under the seat.

Food Services and Public Eating Areas: Event participants should be able to easily reach food services using an accessible route and food service booths should allow a person in a wheelchair to reach them. Vendors should consider the use of large print copies of menus for people with low vision.

Washrooms and Temporary Toilets: Accessible toilets can make or break a festival enjoyment for a person with a disability. Accessible washrooms and temporary toilets should be at ground level and away from crowds and sound systems but not so far that they are inconvenient to reach.

Rest Area/Quiet Spaces: Consider designating a quiet space for rest, especially if our event attracts large crowds and is longer than a couple of hours. This can be helpful for individuals with different types of disabilities or needs such as mental health issues, sensory issues, fatigue issues and nursing mothers.

Rain, Wind, Sun Shelters: Prolonged exposure to rain, wind and sun can be an unpleasant experience. Some people with disabilities are at particular risk from the elements. Consider providing open or closed side tents or canopies to provide weather protection. Also if festival-goers are at risk of becoming overheated, provide cool mist canopies or fans to cool people (and service animals) in extreme temperatures.

Signs: Signs should be in large, easy to read font with good colour contrast. Clear signs at drop off zones and parking areas should help direct people to specific areas across the site. Signs should indicate the accessibility features located along the path of travel and event areas. Signs at different heights can also help assist people moving through crowds and help them see when they are at specific locations.

Support Persons: Support persons may be helping some people with disabilities at our Festivals. A support person must be allowed to go wherever the person they support goes. Post admission price for support personnel wherever you have information about entry fees or ticket prices. Consideration should be given to reduce or waive an entry fee for support personnel.

A support person can help with:

• Mobility
• Personal care
• Medical needs and more

Service Animals: Guide dogs are one type of service animal but other kinds of animals are trained to help people with disabilities. A person with a disability and their service animal can go to all areas that the public would normally be allowed to go.

Designate a suitable area as a rest area for service animals ensuring Volunteers know how to direct people to this area and post appropriate signs.

Tip – provide water for service animals although the care of service animals remains the owner’s responsibility. By making care of service animals easier, we’ll create a welcoming festival for people who are assisted by service animals.

Training staff and Volunteers: Training should be made available for all Volunteers on,

How to communicate with people with different types of disabilities:

• Our accessibility features
• Our evacuation procedures for people with disabilities
• How to give feedback to festival organizers about the event’s accessibility

Tip – use considerate language when talking about disabilities e.g. use “people with disabilities” instead of “disabled people or the disabled”.

Note: One in seven Ontarians has a disability so there’s a good chance that at least one of our festival volunteers has a disability. By taking into account volunteers with disabilities, we can show that accessibility for all participants is important for our events.

Communication Supports, There are many ways to ensure the music, performances, speakers or exhibits at our Festivals are accessible by:

• Booking a person to provide captions for live events.
• Booking an Interpreter who is qualified in American Sign Language or in Langes des signes Quebecois.
• Providing volunteers to describe performances to persons with low or no vision.

To ensure people with disabilities make an informed decision about attending our Festivals, we will post information about communication support provided in places where we provide general festival information.

Remind Speakers, Performers, Master of Ceremonies and other Presenters to:

• Speak at a normal pace
• Stay within the allotted time
• Make sure there is a clear view of their face and mouth
• Use the microphone at all times
• Use language that is considerate of persons with disabilities

Maps and Information: We can help people make informed decisions about whether our events are accessible by providing detailed information about our accessibility features before our events. Brochures, websites, ads, and maps can include information about accessible toilets, viewing areas, and the location of accessible parking spaces.

Tip – give people access to our emergency and safety information, like maps, evacuation plans, brochures or signs ensuring these are easy to read, see, hear or understand for someone with a disability.

Other Accessibility Considerations: when planning our Festivals we should think about including:

Dedicated accessibility volunteers- making accessibility concerns the responsibility of our Accessibility Coordinator.

Mobility device charging stations – providing outlets for people with power wheelchairs, scooters and other electronic mobility devices and medical equipment.

Mobility equipment –
proving access to wheelchairs, walkers or canes as needed free of charge.

Accessibility information areas – providing spots where people with disabilities can get information on the festival’s accessibility features e.g. Site Headquarters near the entrance. Relevant information should be placed on signs or available in pamphlets throughout the venue. Site Headquarters should have a level pathway and at a height that someone using a wheelchair could access; brochures should be in large print and high contrast formats for people with low vision.

Municipality Accessibility Advisory Committee –
consider consulting with the Municipality during the planning phase of our Festivals.