A celebration of music and fun that leaves no one out is coming to Melbourne.

Posted 1 year ago by Emma Clark
Music fans are set to enjoy an impressive line up of Australian artists at this year’s AbilityFest.
Music fans are set to enjoy an impressive line up of Australian artists at this year’s AbilityFest.

AbilityFest is hitting Melbourne this Saturday March 25th, and promises to deliver a “day of friendship, sunshine and outstanding music performances” that everyone can enjoy.

The festival, created by disability advocate, champion sportsman and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, is the first in Australia to champion accessibility and inclusion for people of all abilities.

Bringing together a line-up of incredible Australian artists, including Hilltop Hoods, Broods, Meg Mac, Sampa The Great, DZ Deathrays and Alex Lahey, it is a not-for-profit event supporting The Dylan Alcott Foundation whose mission is “to help enrich the lives of young people with disabilities by eliminating the barriers of entry to get involved in sport and study through mentoring, grants and scholarships”.

The festival features extensive accommodations for people with disabilities, including “elevated platforms, pathways, a dedicated sensory area, quiet zones, companion ticketing, ramps, friendly volunteers, Auslan interpreters, accessible toilets and more” to “help make Ability an inclusive and enjoyable environment for all music lovers”.

AbilityFest was created in response to the dozens of music festivals nationally that were targeted at music fans of all ages, but did not cater to all abilities. The 4.3million young people living with a disability in Australia were largely excluded due to locations and facilities that did not consider their needs.

“I’m so proud to see the path Ability Fest has already paved for inclusive events across the country. First and foremost, our main priority is to create a kick-ass festival that happens to be accessible. And that’s something I think we’ve achieved since launching in 2018,” said Alcott.

Young Australian DJ, DJ Cooper is excited to be taking the next step in his career by performing at AbilityFest this year. “I’m a bit nervous about performing in front of so many thousands of people,” Cooper says. “But I’m excited and looking forward to getting people up and dancing and having fun.”

The 18 year old, who lives with cerebral palsy, developed his DJ skills during COVID and flourished at school thanks to supportive teachers. Cooper now continues to pursue his passion with the assistance of support workers funded through the NDIS.

DJ Cooper’s performance will no doubt entertain the crowd, but also inspire other young people to pursue their passion for music no matter the barriers. Melbourne (and beyond!) needs to get ready, because the music scene is about to get an influx of artists and music fans who will demand AbilityFest’s level of inclusion and accessibility as the new normal.

Are you heading to AbilityFest this weekend? We’d love to hear from you, comment below and we’ll be in touch!