Non-profit organization Accessible Festivals has launched the Dan Grover Memorial Ticket Grant Program to provide a limited number of free tickets to major music festivals for disabled music fans and their loved ones.
The program, launched by accessibility consultant and non-profit founder Austin Whitney, marks a major step forward towards accessibility for the U.S. festival industry with dozens of festivals participating in the grant program including Austin City Limits Music Festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, Electric Daisy Carnival, Lollapalooza, Rolling Loud NY, Stagecoach and more.
The idea for Accessible Festivals’ Dan Grover Memorial Ticket Grant Program was born out of Whitney’s, own personal experience. In 2007, Whitney was injured in a car accident that severed his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the waist down. He was consumed with depression and anxiety about his new life living with a disability. Eight months later, he attended Coachella, his first music festival. For the first time since his spinal cord injury, he was able to smile and simply enjoy life. Music festivals like this one got him through the most difficult challenge of his life. With the realization of the importance of festival accessibility, he decided to devote his life to ensuring people of all abilities can have an equal opportunity to experience live music and recreational activities to the fullest extent possible. Today he runs ADA compliance consulting company Ten Fifty Entertainment and operates the Accessible Festivals non-profit.
“Ultimately my business life is all about working to improve festivals for people with disabilities and working promoters to reduce their liabilities and improve their businesses for all things ADA,” Whitney tells Billboard. “At the end of the day, the mission of the company is very tied to a social purpose which is making helping people with disabilities find and attend music festivals which can be transformative events.”
The program also aims to keep the legacy of Dan Grover alive, who turned his passion for music into a profession by becoming one of the first accessibility consultants in the live music industry. He led ADA compliance operations on many of the nation’s largest shows including Electric Forest, Lockn’, Life is Beautiful, Outside Lands, and many more. Grover assisted thousands of disabled guests in enjoying music and was a fierce advocate for greater inclusion and accessibility.
Dan dealt with a lot of adversity in his life,” Whitney explained, noting that Dan was in a wheelchair in the 1980s due to illness and had experienced dozens of Grateful Deal and jam festivals before the Americans with disabilities act was signed.
“One of his colleagues sent me a Excel sheet that he had, where he basically took notes on every concert he went to in his life. He would write down where it was, who the band was and what the venue was. And then his accessibility notes on it, going back to 1979. He absolutely fell in love with it and became an advocate for accessibility within the industry.”
Individuals impacted by newly acquired, temporary, or lifelong disabilities are encouraged to apply for free access to their favorite events. Accessible Festival’s Ticket Grant Program currently has two dozen events this Fall which are currently accepting applications for complimentary admission. Upcoming events includeElectric Daisy Carnival Orlando, Firefly Festival, Made in America Festival, Rolling Loud NY, and many others.
All the festivals participating in the program have made a commitment to all their disabled fans and have well-established ADA Compliance programs. With many friends and partners in the industry, Accessible Festivals plans to add many more festivals and other recreational events to their list. With support from live music tastemaker Live for Live Music, Accessible Festivals aims to expand live event access for all across the U.S. for years to come.
To donate, learn more about or apply for Accessible Festivals’ Dan Grover Memorial Ticket Grant Program, visit accessiblefestivals.org/ticketing.