Hearing Festivals With No Hearing

Keelin Lambert interpreting Gareth Emery's song "U"(Bryan Kearney remix) using sign language to Monica Frederick Source: Nathan C. Kerr
Keelin Lambert interpreting Gareth Emery’s song “U”(Bryan Kearney remix) using sign language to Monica Frederick Source: Nathan C. Kerr

Imagine walking into your favorite music festival and it being completely quiet. You look at the people around you smiling, having fun, moving to the beat of the music. You feel more connected to them, picking up on their vibes and feeling the positivity from all. The bass vibrates on your skin and through your body, but yet you can’t hear any music. This is how 20 year old Angela Evatt experiences festivals and concerts.

Angela is a music fanatic who was born deaf in both ears. For the most part, she requires a hearing aid to hear anything. We wanted to get some insight as to how music events are different for those who are deaf, so we sat down with Angela and asked her some questions:

Q: First, tell me a little bit about yourself?

A: Well, I was born deaf. I’m the only one in my family that’s deaf, but it never stopped me from loving music, dancing, or playing music. I’ve been going to raves and shows for the past year and a half-ish, and Electric Forest was my first. I absolutely love everything about it. I’m from Napoleon, MO (the Kansas City, MO area).

Q: Are you completely deaf?

A: Medically, I am considered to be severely to profoundly deaf in both ears, however I have gone to concerts without my hearing aids, I can tell you that I think it’s more magical.

Q: How is going to concerts without your hearing aids different?

A: I see the littlest things that others may not see. I think I notice the happiness on others more. I mean, it’s just really different. That’s for sure. I do remember one of the times, when I was at the forest, I was dancing with random people and I was just able to see different people being on their own, in their own world of happiness. And that made me so happy, being able to acknowledge everyone’s happiness. The music would flow through me. It’s feel like I’m becoming the earth. Feeling every beat.

Q: Have you ever had someone sign lyrics to you?

A: No… That’s something I’d KILL to experience. But, I know it’ll happen this summer because I do have a hearing friend coming with to Electric Forest. She knows ASL and we know some of who’s coming this summer. So… I’M SO EXCITED!

Q: So do you think that being deaf makes it harder to meet people and converse with people?

A: Yes, because when people try to talk to me and I don’t know what they’re saying, sometimes they’d just ignore me and carry on. Other times, they’d actually take the time to try talking to me. If the situation we’re in is making it hard to converse, we’d go to another place where it’d be better for me.


Music festivals are about more than just the music. As Angela has showed us, the love between attendees leaves a much deeper impression than any of the sickest drops. The togetherness does not discriminate and all those present, deaf or not, become a part of something bigger than themselves. Not everyone experiences concerts in the same way, and when we celebrate our differences, it enhances the experience for everyone.

Last year, a video of a woman signing the song “U” by Gareth Emery to her friend at TomorrowWorld took the internet by storm. You can watch this heartwarming video here:

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Mark Reddington

Hi I'm Mark and I like music that makes your face melt off.

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