Jessica Minges is the director of ASLIS Undergraduate Studies at UofL. On occasion, she also turns into a rock star of sorts.
Minges is an American Sign Language interpreter who performs at a variety of concerts and music festivals, including Waterfront Wednesday, Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. She has also worked with Tom Petty, Phish, The Avett Brothers and other musicians.
Earlier this week, the Courier Journal included Minges in a story about these interpreters and how they bring songs to life for deaf fans.
The article states that ASL interpreters are more common at music festivals and concerts than they were in the past, which has drawn more deaf and heard-of-hearing music fans to the events.
There was a turning point in 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, requiring venues to provide interpreters if they were requested. Now, however, many venues add interpreters on their own.
There will be two such interpreters at this weekend’s Forecastle Festival downtown. They will be focused on the main stage, but will accept requests from deaf patrons to work the smaller stages as well.
Minges told the publication that such work requires a lot of studying — of set lists, of lyrics, of previous performances and so on.
“Songs are like poetry and have different meanings than maybe the words say,” she told the CJ.