Attending a music festival might be something you’ve always dreamed of doing but due to a disability have never thought is possible. A Different World Festival is changing that perception.
Created in 2016 by parents Simon and Louise Turner, it is a rock festival for those with additional needs: “We have a teenage son with autism who loves rock music. He would love to go to Reading Festival, as we live in Reading, but he would never cope with such a mainstream festival.
“We decided to set up our own that would allow people such as our son to attend a music festival and have that festival experience.”
This year’s completely accessible festival will take place on 4 August in Reading, complete with sensory tent and chill out space, British Sign Language signers who will sign the music, and a Mobiloo with toilet hoist and changing unit.
There will be one stage with soft lighting and quieter music than at a regular festival. This year’s line up includes Veglio, Shardlake, Strange Folk and loads more.
Simon and Louise believe that the festival gives people a feeling of inclusion both during and after the event: “Being able to say you have experienced something that other people take for granted makes you feel more part of a society. At the actual event, everyone is on a level playing field. Everyone is just themselves.”
Alongside the main stage punters can enjoy arts and crafts, circus and signing workshops, retail stalls, bouncy castle and more. There’s even a massage tent for those who want some extra relaxation.
The needs of festival-goers are carefully considered in the planning process: “We know from experience with our son that he can sometimes have a short attention span so the more different activities you have the better! It also gives people the chance to try something they haven’t done before.”
The site is wheelchair friendly and assistance dogs are welcome. Festival Friends will be on site to give assistance if needed. The main aim of the event is to give those with a disability the fun festival experience: “If we manage to make a difference to at least one person’s life, then we have achieved what we set out to do.
“We can’t promise you The Foo Fighters, but we can promise you ten fantastic acts, loads of things to do, food, drink and a great day to create memories.”
To find out more about who’ll be rocking the main stage and how to get tickets, click here.