Movement Might Be 10 Years Old; But 10 Years Behind With Accessibility

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Movement Festival

Movement Might Be 10 Years Old; But 10 Years Behind With Accessibility. There are easy steps to take for ADA accommodations.

During Memorial Day Weekend, Movement Festival has shaken Detroit, MI. Movement is a music festival that captures the hearts of music lovers from around the world. There are pre-parties and after-parties to access arsptists that you may normally see on stage at the festival. I took Movement by storm by planning ahead on what venues I wanted to see and scheduled in advance. I had easy access to a hotel across the street to recharge, regroup and take naps. That’s the best way to rock a festival.

I enjoy attending Movement because it is in the heart of downtown Detroit. I feel like an odd ball because everyone around me is from different parts of the world. I met new friends from Romania, Hong Kong, Berlin, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and more. It is one of my favorite times of the year because I have access to these wonderful people who I can learn from and grow with. On the first night, I passed out 100 business cards; social butterfly = I call it!

Quick Facts:

  • I’ve been attending Movement Festival for 6 years; back when it was called DEMF and free admission.
  • In the past, I personally worked  for Paxahau on the social media street team managing individuals who passed flyers at night clubs and tagged cars.
  • My friends from all over the world meet me at Movement Festival each year.
  • This is one of my top 3 favorite music festivals of all  time.

This year, I purchased a VIP pass for $317 in hopes of taking advantage of better seating, upgraded bathrooms and access to artists and music talent. Ehh. It didn’t turn out to be that way.

By the way, I am 100% accepting any comments or feedback that come from this blog post. I hope that my blog post can put you at eye level of the challenges faced during the music festival. This is the only festival that I’ve ever attended that did not have ADA accommodations (and I live here). Let;s make a change so we can all enjoy.

Where is the ADA accessibility?

I am a physically disabled person that is permanently affected by a disease from birth. I’ve grown from a wheelchair to a walker to mobility aids. It is half the battle to walk.. let alone stand in one place for more than 15 minutes without my hands started to turn red.
melissa divietri

I had to plan far ahead this year to avoid a 5h our wait in line (like last year). You remember that crazy line that wrapped down the river because the general admission and VIP area were in the same line.. but what about the ADA line for physical challenged patrons? Where do people go who use wheelchairs, scooters and walking aids to enjoy the music? I could ask the same question. Actually I did. I sent an email to Paxahau on Friday, before the music festival, asking for such accommodations. None were available because the line was supposed to be “bigger and better” this year. How about the inside of the festival? Just wait.. it get’s better

I made way to Movement Festival on Friday to scope out the stages and best locations to stand. I could not find one, single, disability ramp throughout the entire festival. In fact, when I went to the VIP stages; there were no rails to help me get up & get down. I had to ask random individuals to assist me up and down the platform which I could not see anyway. I’m thinking.. I purchased VIP in hopes of better views but I cannot get to the stages because I can’t walk up the stairs.

Upgraded Bathrooms?

Yes, the VIP bathrooms are supposed to be nicer because they are located in air conditioned trailers. I couldn’t even hop into the trailer because there were 3 steps blocking my way to the door.
Simple fix: add a few handicap bathrooms to the VIP section. I was not going to use the GA bathrooms to access a handicap bathroom. I have to use medical supplies to use the restroom; I need clean sinks which is what I hoped to gather from the upgraded bathroom but my hopes were crushed.

Add Reserved Areas for ADA

We are short.
We are in wheelchairs.
We are physically challenged.
There were fences along the VIP area that had banners pinned up. I had to slide in between the two fences where they latched; just to see. Add a few areas throughout the festival for individuals who are in wheelchairs, scooters and need seating.

Separate line for disabled

Clearly, we cannot stand in line as long as other abled body individuals. Add a few ADA lines in the VIP and general admission so we can access the festival without having to strain our bodies.

Add benches & special seating

Put different seating arrangements for disabled to sit and rest. It can be a challenge to keep up with the dancing but not having an area to regroup. My hands were on fire every 30 minutes… it was unbearable.
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Golf carts

If you feel like youre going to faint and need to get to an access point – golf carts would be wise to have readily available. I asked Paxahau and TriCon for a ride — non compliant.

VIP did get a few things right — a bit of artistic touch. I am constantly inspired by art installations – even though, they were made of styrofoam? so confusing.

I throughly enjoy Movement festival but there are measures that need to be taken to meet the requirements of the ADA of Michigan. There are codes to follow so ADA patrons can participate in venues and concerts.

How I made the most of my experience:

I am an extremely approachable person – people can come up to me and I would smile and ask how they are doing. There are certain times of the festival where the crowds are unbearable – shoulder to shoulder. These people are so in tune with the music that they are not looking where they are going. I’ve mastered the art of being aware of where people walk.. I mastered this intuition.

Experience 1 – VIP

I really wanted to see Kraftwerk – it was on my list of experiences. During the performance, I was in the VIP section.. the crowd was so busy that I couldn’t even cross the footpath to get to the fence. Two officers noticed my hesitation to cross and asked if they could assist. Absolutely. These two officers were so kind to push a pathway to the fence .. “Make a hole” – they shouted.. That was the fastest that I’ve ever seen anyone move LOL I planted myself next to two new friends from Chicago. After getting to know them, they told me that they drove in just for the day! And they were going to drive back that night — you crazy cats.

Experience 2 – Mainstage

This was one of the most epic performances that I would ever experience.. I had to get a frontal view so my Kraftwerk glasses would work. The graphics behind the stage hosted an experience that you can view while wearing these glasses. I was on a mission.. to get a better view. I left the fence, my hands were starting to harden.. and moved to the general area. I crutched my way over the Main Stage VIP area.. absolutely PACKED! I hustled my way to the back of the stage and just stood there. I started to sway from side to side getting into the groove.. the festival was getting ready for it’s final moments. Out of nowhere, the crowd pressed me to the front of the stairs.. it was beautiful. They put the glassed on me and we raged together! I fell in love with the moment.. I don;t even have any photos because I was so in tune with the dancing and the lights. It was bliss!

Experience 3 – RedBull Stage

I like to venture out and catch my favorite DJs. I did not see a VIP platform at the Red Bull Stage but I did see a familiar food truck “Heroes vs Villains” who participated in my block party at the Russell Industrial Center. Oh it pays to know people 😀 I politely asked if I could take a seat on their cooler during the performance so I could enjoy while sitting. They were totally cool with it – huge shout out to the team. You guys / gals were fantastic for letting me sit on your cooler while enjoying.

Experience 4 – Beat Port stage

— most likely my favorite type of music. I was depressed when I saw Richie Hawtin’s tweet about not coming to Movement because of his VISA. I could have crawled near the river and just sat there.. no but really… I met Richie last year; he is the coolest DJ in the game.. so down to earth. Back to my experience… This was one of those platforms that did not have the rails (ugh). So I asked for help from two security guards, one in the front and one in the back. They helped me up the stairs on to the platform and into the corner. I wanted to get away from the dancing but still involved in the festival. The festival started to get more packed.. I mean, people everywhere. I was getting pushed off the platform onto the ground but still behind the fence. I couldn’t see anything. However, people started to notice and moved from standing in front of me to allow me a view! How nice! I was really happy that people could that I was having an issue. It was so bliss.

There were plenty more experiences that I gained from the festival — many from pre party and after party but not enough to share with everyone. I made the most of my experience but I was physically exhausted from non accommodations.

I will continue to support Movement because it generates money, drives people and sets a positive impact on our city. I hope that this blog post will open the eyes of the event planners for the festival to think of the disabled who also enjoy the love of music.