Disability-friendly music festival set to rock West Yorkshire

Singing hands performers take the stage at a previous Disability Rocks festival at the Nell Bank Centre, in Ilkley.

Singing hands performers take the stage at a previous Disability Rocks festival at the Nell Bank Centre, in Ilkley.

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Live music and arts events are set to rock West Yorkshire when an inclusive festival designed to support disabled fans returns.

Disability Rocks, which has become a leading music and arts festival for people living with disabilities, will feature performers, stalls and a special mobile changing unit at the Nell Bank Centre on May 30.

Caroline and Richard Sutton, with their son Max.

Caroline and Richard Sutton, with their son Max.

It is set to feature musicians, comedians and workshops including reggae and ska band The Paradimes, Blue Rose Code, Roundhay Ukelele Band, Anna Kennedy’s ‘Autism’s Got Talent’, the DMU Gospel Choir and songwriter Brooks Williams from 11.30am to 7.30pm.

Festival founders Richard and Caroline Sutton were inspired to set up Disability Rocks by their 11-year-old son Max, who has a rare chromosome disorder, after seeing the impact live music and arts had on his life while noticing few accessible events.

Dad Richard, who hosted the first festival in Ilkley in 2012, said: “The events have been carefully curated with inclusivity and accessibility in mind.

“We’re incredibly proud of the line-up which offers something for everyone, regardless of age or ability.”

This year there will be a multi-sensory theatre, storytelling, an arts tent and an open mic stage as well as changing facilities such as a hoist, height adjustable bench and peninsular toilet to meet all ranges of disability.

The festival, which has received backing from the Nominet Trust and Arts Council England, will visit four different UK locations as part of the Disability Rocks Big Tour this year, having started off in West Yorkshire.

Mr Sutton, who is from Apperley Bridge, added: “Nell Bank was the site of the first festival back in 2012 and we’re delighted to be coming back with our best line-up yet.”

Entry to the festival is free to under fives, £10 for under 12s and £15 for adults and the first carer goes free.

For further information visit www.disabilityrocks.org.

Raymond Manners.

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