ASL at Bonnaroo: A performance in and of itself |

As Girl in Red, the indie pop band led by Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven Ringheim, performed on Bonnaroo’s Which Stage, there was a performance of another kind taking place. On an elevated platform to the right of the stage, American Sign Language interpreter Trevor Shannon was in his groove. Wearing a backwards snapback and a plain black shirt, he exuded confidence as he looked out at the crowd.

This is Shannon’s second time at Bonnaroo, but the first time he has worked at the festival. Professionally, he has been involved in the interpreting industry for about seven years. Personally, he has been interpreting all his life. Shannon is a CODA (child of deaf adults) and grew up using ASL as a second language.

Like any industry, interpreting can be a difficult field to break into. Starting out as an unpaid intern, Shannon often paid for his own gas and lodging to shadow others. As he gained more and more experience, he was able to rise above intern status. Now, he gets paid to do what he loves.

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