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Accessibility News Round-Up: April 2024

There is so much exciting news at the moment – music festivals, Vivid Sydney, public transport access programs, and more – that it’s easy to miss something amazing. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s caught my attention lately. If you have any hot tips, please share them in the comments or over on our Facebook page!

Accessibility News Round-Up April 2024 - text overlaid on image of Braeden in a beach wheelchair on a calm beach on a sunny day

Boogie the blues away at Blues on Broadbeach

Blues On Broadbeach returns from 16-19 May 2024, with an electrifying line-up. Melissa Etheridge, Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton, Ana Popovic, Eric Bibb, and Lloyd Speigel are going to rock the stage with rhythm and blues for four days of live music you won’t want to miss.

Festival organisers have placed accessible viewing areas throughout the festival, indicated by signage near each of the outdoor stages. The Broadbeach precinct terrain is predominantly flat grass, paved areas, and gravel, so accessibility is generally good for getting around. Keep an eye on the weather, though – with heavy rainfall, and lots of foot traffic, the area can get quite muddy, so off-road/large stability wheels might be required.

Accessible parking is available in several areas close to the festival site, indicated on the Broadbeach Mobility Map, and there are accessible public transport options, too. Find out more and book your tickets via Blues On Broadbeach.

A crowd gathered watching performers on the Victoria Park Stage at Blues on Broadbeach
Victoria Park Stage at Blues on Broadbeach Credit: Lloyd Spiegel

Dark Spectrum is back for Vivid Sydney 2024

Every year, you can find us wheeling around Sydney taking in all that Vivid Sydney has to offer. This year’s program looks impressive, as always. We’re particularly keen to check out Dark Spectrum. When we attended last year, we had a great time, despite some of the steep areas that needed a bit of muscle power.

Dark Spectrum illuminates one kilometre of abandoned railway tunnels beneath Sydney’s Wynyard Station, with state-of-the-art lighting, laser and video effects. The trail has eight themed chambers, each with its own colour scheme and dance soundtrack. It’s an amazing way to re-purpose spaces that might otherwise sit empty, and exhibit fascinating art that we might not otherwise get to see at the same time.

Dark Spectrum is open to audiences aged six and up, and children aged 6-12 must be accompanied by an adult. The experience includes strobe lighting, flashing, flickering, and patterned lighting effects, smoke and haze effects, and high-volume noises. The tunnels can accommodate mobility scooters and wheelchairs, provided that their width does not exceed 1.1m. Also, as I mentioned above, some of the areas can be a little steep for navigating with limited mobility, but it’s doable. It’s a self-paced experience, but you should probably allow at least an hour to enjoy it to the fullest.

The exhibition runs from Friday 24 May – Saturday 15 June, with session times between 12:00PM-9:15PM. Tickets are $35 for adults, $24 for kids (6-12), and $98 for families (2 adults and 2 children), with complimentary tickets for Companion Card holders. It’s possible to buy tickets upon arrival if they’re not sold out, but given the popularity of Dark Spectrum, it’s best to book in advance if you can. Find out more – including detailed accessibility information – on the Dark Spectrum website.

Family walking through Dark Spectrum tunnels at Vivid Sydney 2024
Dark Spectrum returns this year for Vivid Sydney 2024. Credit: Sony Music Entertainment

Try Before You Ride in Melbourne

Public transport can be a wonderful way to get around, but it can also be challenging and anxiety-inducing for people with disabilities. Finally, the Victorian Government has recognised these concerns and they’ve introduced a Try Before You Ride program, to help people of all abilities feel more confident using the public transport system.

The session will run from Southern Cross Station on 9 May 2024, from 10:30AM-2:00PM. Attendees can practice getting on and off trains, trams, busses, and accessible taxis, learn about accessibility features of the public transport system, speak with public transport staff, and familiarise themselves with Southern Cross Station. Our friends from Travellers Aid (did you see them on the back cover of the latest issue of Travel Without Limits?) will be available on the day to provide mobility assistance, personal care, and quiet space.

Head to the registration desk at Southern Cross Station between the two yellow pods near the Network Bar, opposite platform 2A. There will be event signage and staff in white vests on site to help you find your way around.

People attending the Try Before You Ride information desk in a busy public transport station
Try Before You Ride is a great way to reduce the anxiety about navigating public transport. Credit: PTV

A new interactive exhibit at ACMI

You might remember the last time I visited Melbourne, I enthused about the wonderful inclusivity of ACMI (formerly Australian Centre for the Moving Image). I’ve just heard that they’re launching a new interactive exhibition and it looks amazing!

Beings is an invitation to move, dance, and play this winter, bringing together 13 artworks by the art and design collective Universal Everything. These include digital projections, interactive displays, VFX, and a series of sketches that show the creative process at work. No two visits will be the same, as some of the artworks evolve in real-time and respond to visitors, so it’s the kind of exhibit you’ll be able to visit again and again if you wish. Allow at least an hour for each visit.

ACMI is holding a special family-oriented opening weekend (25-26 May), where kids can examine the cute and colourful exhibition first. They’ll love the colouring-in sheets, scavenger hunt, and the chance to take photos with their favourite characters.

The exhibit will run from 22 May-29 September, from 10:00AM-5:00PM each day. Tickets are very affordable, $20 at full price with discounts and concessions available (including free tickets for Companion Card holders and kids under 5). ACMI is located in Fed Square, with a ramp entry and single-level accessibility throughout. There’s a visual story available on the ACMI website, along with additional information on hearing loops, mobility equipment hire, accessible bathrooms, etc.

Silhouette of a child standing in front of one of the Beings displays, with brightly coloured shapes
Beings by Universal Everything is sure to be a hit with ACMI visitors of all ages and abilities. Credit: Eugene Hyland

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