Bluesfest platforms add to site's accessibility: advocates
Published Sunday, July 11, 2010 5:15PM EDT
It can be a frustrating task, trying to see the stage when everyone else is a few feet taller. This year, though, Bluesfest has made it easier for patrons in a wheelchair to see their favourite artists, thanks to accessibility advisor Ryan Lythall.
The festival has installed two platforms at the comedy and main stages.
"The last few years, I have been telling them my ideas, but this year there have been a lot of changes," says Lythall.
He's had to be patient, fighting through Bluesfest crowds with his wheelchair for the past 10 years. His persistence, though, has led to a new team of disabled volunteers that will report on the festival's accessibility.
"I've gone to Bluesfest for like, six years now, and it's getting better," says Chris Binkowski, a Bluesfest volunteer on the team. "Ryan has certainly has been giving his input."
Bump-up in platforms next year
An aspiring comedian, Lythall says the new comedy venue is the only one he can access in Ottawa.
"Every year it is getting better, but they still have a lot of work to do."
One festival spokesperson says baby steps are needed, but that Bluesfest will boost the number of platforms next year.
"We don't try to take on too much," says Mike Rouleau, operations director of the festival. "We fix little things every year and we get better as we move forward."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Jamie Long