New Forest Spectrum Fest
Something for your long range diaries if you are not aware already. Two New Forest-based charities have joined together to set up the country’s first not for profit national music festival exclusively for people of all ages with learning disabilities their families and members of the care industry.
With over forty bands playing the line-up already includes: ABBA Revival, Kosheen (unplugged), Fleetwood Bac, Wille and the bandits, The Egg, Dubheart, Tony as Robbie (Williams tribute), The Godfathers, Teenage Welsh-Harpist Hero Melia, Record Producer Mark Tinley (Duran Duran, ADAMSKI ect..) who is putting together a Dr Who themed DJ set, the big noise community samba band and a number of bands from the Isle of Wight forming the “Rock the cowes bar bullet stage.” plus very special guests to be announced. There are also many activities and side events including a circus school, 1920’s swing dance classes and electro swing from Decadent times even a zip wire.
Set in 65 acres of woodland, with camping and a number of bookable rooms available in the main house, the Festival will be an opportunity for people with learning disabilities and on the autistic spectrum to enjoy three days of activities and music. New Forest Spectrum will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 July in the heart of the New Forest and tickets are exclusively available now to people with learning disabilities their families and people who work in the care sector through the web site
Advance tickets are £120.00 for three days including camping; if you need to bring a carer with you they are free! Children under 12 are also free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. Young adults between 12 and 18 are half price. New Forest Spectrum is 100% wheelchair friendly, with raised decking in front of the main stage, wheelchair friendly toilets, a hoist and flatbed for changing and some track way. Please note that the festival is mostly in a grass field. Yes Camper vans are welcome!
Working with a number of focus groups of people with learning disabilities, the festival has plans for two stages, a dance tent, a sensory area, circus school, lots of activities and of course, the obligatory camping, and much more…. Hal Kennard, (who has been a carer for a young man with Down Syndrome for the last two and a half years) the festival’s Co-Producer said:
“New Forest Spectrum’s music policy will be broad, eclectic and fun with a twist of pop a dab of disco and a sprinkle of reggae. The concept behind the festival this year is –audience interaction! The hardest part is letting everyone around the country with learning disabilities know about the festival –please help us spread the word” Hugh Calder; music tour manager for over twenty years, ten of which was with The Stone Roses and Ian brown, and father of two disabled children; the Festival’s other Co-Producer said: “We have tried to ensure there is something for everyone –from an Autism Friendly chill out zone, massage and pampering tent, CODA Music jamming tent, to zip wires and circus acts. We are really excited about this unique offer and hope as many people as possible will come and make it a successful annual event. Find us on Facebook!”
The Minstead Training Trust and Stables Family Home Trust between them provide care and support to over 250 adults with learning disabilities. The idea came about from an informal chat between the two Chief Executives about how many mainstream music festivals are inaccessible to many of the people they support despite many people having a love of music and dance. From those humble beginnings, New Forest Spectrum was born.