Ever since American Sign Language interpreter Amber Galloway Gallego went viral after signing Kendrick Lamar’s Lollapalooza set in 2013, more attention has been paid to ASL interpreters at festivals. But Brooke Chambers, the ASL program manager for C3 Presents (the promoter behind Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival), asserts, “Really, we’ve been there all along.” Ahead of Lolla in August, Chambers -- who graduated with a degree in deaf studies from the University of Texas at Austin -- offers insight on the training and research her team does and how the popularity of hip-hop headliners has posed a new challenge.
Assembling the team: “Signing music is a niche skill. There’s an application to submit details about work experience and a video submission. I take that video and send it to a panel of evaluators that is typically made up of six to eight people -- deaf people, working interpreters and also interpreter-training professors -- for feedback. I decide who and how the team will work. There’s everything from an intern level that works only a couple of shows to maximum nationally certified, highly experienced veterans who can handle potentially four shows a day.”