Sunday, 11 March 2012

Disability Rocks

In June 2011 , Richard was made redundant form his job as a manager in the NHS. Shortly after this during a holiday in Ibiza the concept of Disability Rocks was born. During our stay in Ibiza we became very aware of all the club and party scenes and began to wonder just how accessible these events were for individuals with disabilities. Some friends took their children along to Ibiza Rocks and we realised that it would be impossible to take Max along to an event like this . On our return several sets of friends with children were talking about their experiences of attending festivals again we realised that attending a festival with Max would be very difficult if not impossible. These realisations triggered Richards dream of a concept of creating a festival that could be accessible to everyone.

Richard knew Bruce Fowler the Manager of the fabulous Nell Bank centre in Ilkley. It became clear that this would be the perfect accessible venue for the first festival to be held. He approached Bruce with his idea and to our delight was met with enthusiasm and positivity. Bruce is a truly inspirational person who has created a fully accessible out door centre which provides a significant inclusive environment and modern purpose built facilities.As is clear from the website Nell Bank is set in beautiful woodlands in a wonderful part of the Yorkshire Countryside.

 Having secured the venue, the next task was to organise some bands and performers. Richard began to tentatively put the feelers out and was amazed at the enthusiasm and generosity of people who were willing to give their time, energy and unique skills to make this event a success. We are extremely grateful to all those people who given their time and expertise to help make this event happen. 

It has been a steep learning curve for both of us, Richard in organising bands, photo shoots and submitting grant applications. I have taken on the Social Media side of the organisation and have recently had to familiarise myself with the art of tweeting!

We are both so excited about this event, what started as a holiday dream is fast turning into a reality. It will be a very emotional day for us probably requiring the wearing of dark glasses all day, whatever the weather! We intend to have a team of volunteers " helping hands" providing assistance to anyone who requires it. Emily has already ordered her festival wear and will be wearing wellies, denim shorts and a flower in her hair, just hope Richard doesn't decide to follow suit!

It will be wonderful to see people of all abilities enjoying the music, arts and comedy that will be on offer. We both feel passionately about improving societies' view of disability, we hope that our event will help to in some way send out the message that disabled people are talented, creative and resourceful and have a right to enjoy themselves just like everyone else. By showcasing the talents of disabled artists alongside providing an accessible venue we hope to create a wonderful experience with something for everyone irrespective of their abilities or limitations.

The finale will be sung by Inspiration-a vibrant  Community Choir .The resulting sound floating down across this part of the Wharfe Valley will be amazing.
For more details and to purchase tickets go to 


  1. wow that looks cool....hmmm maybe we should plan a trip up north...

  2. That would be great Natasha, would love to see you again. Esther Edwards is coming as well ....