Vests given to deaf Coldplay fans set to be trialled at Tamworth Country Music Festival

People with hearing impairments will be feeling the beat at the Tamworth Country Music Festival next year thanks to a vest-like device designed to be worn on the chest or back.

Department of Regional New South Wales director of infrastructure Paul Nunnari said the technology responded to sound via bluetooth-like system that generated vibrations based on the music.

“There’s different components on the vest that respond to different types of music so the wearer can feel the beat,” he said.

Earlier this year the band Coldplay began offering the technology to deaf and hearing-impaired fans to use at concerts.

Now two of the vests will be available for people to trial at the Tamworth festival in January.

Mr Nunnari said it would change the whole experience.

“Traditionally someone with a hearing impairment might literally put their hand on a speaker to feel the vibrations, but now they can actually wear the vest through a whole concert and feel that tactile experience,” he said.

Lucas Filby is profoundly deaf, but today he was dancing in his wheelchair while he wore the vest.

“These vests allow him to feel the music, so he’s able to feel the beats and the different tracks going on in a song so that he can dance,” his mum Veronica Filby said.

Alan Edwards has a cochlear implant that allows him to hear speech more clearly, but he says he struggles to hear music.

In the vest, however, the sensation was remarkable.

“What I really liked was, when we’re getting guitar strumming, it was a beautiful ripple down through the vest, so you could really get a sense of the fine tones,” Mr Edwards said.

The Department of Regional NSW said another eight vests were on their way and should be in Australia by March next year for trials at musical events.