Free music festival provides a perfect day out

A bustling atmosphere at a free music festival provided a perfect day out for children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs and their families.

This is Me Festival, organised by our Nidderdale and Morton Children’s Resource Centres, took place at Ripon Rugby Club, which sponsored it, on Sunday, 25 June. The popular event brought colour and excitement in a relaxed setting for North Yorkshire’s young people with special educational needs.

Although held in Ripon, the free event was open to families across the county, with some attending through the Children’s Resource Centre in Scarborough, for example, and invitations going to all special schools.

Attractions included live music, a silent disco, sensory storytelling, theatre groups, an animal petting area, arts and crafts and a marketplace, among other attractions.

Entertainers included Lily Worth, Freddie Cleary, Rock Choir, Rory Hoy and The Baked Bean Theatre Company and The Doubtful Bottle.

This is Me was first held in 2018 and despite a break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has gone from strength to strength.

Nidderdale Children’s Resource Centre manager Jane Clarke said: “It has just got bigger and bigger and this time we had more organisations and charities coming to share information. It is a place where children can run around safely and no-one is going to judge anyone. The kids can just be themselves, that is the joy of it. But families can also get information and meet people who might be able to help them.”

Plans for next year’s festival are already in motion, with the aim of making it bigger and better than ever.

The festival’s Facebook page has been inundated with praise following the event, with comments including:

  • “The atmosphere was wonderful and the acts were so well thought out.”
  • “I enjoyed the music and the bands and also the sensory room and silent disco. I’m looking forward to next year.”
  • “Blown away by the fantastic efforts everyone went to to make this day fully accessible and inclusive.”
  • “First of all, congratulations on pulling off a spectacular festival on Sunday. It was so much fun and it means the world to us parents seeing our children have the time of their lives and being fully celebrated like this.”