Beloved West Sussex festival to return for its tenth year
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Apulstock Festival, which is tailored towards people with learning disabilities and their families, began in 2011 and, excluding two years during the pandemic, has created a safe and inclusive space for people of all ages to rave and rock-out at.
This year’s event will be held at the Ferring Country Centre in an exciting Apulstock first.
Organiser Alex Fryer, from Aldwick, told this newspaper: “Apulstock is a simple idea, done for the right reasons. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that it’s a fundraiser, when it’s not. The entire purpose of the event is just to give people a day to enjoy themselves and celebrate being together. It’s a place where they can just be themselves and disability doesn’t matter.
"The event is designed to be small, with less than 500 people attending, but the positive thing about that is that we can go the extra mile and create an incredibly intimate, community spirited music event. Plus, we’re not trying to make money, just cover our costs.
“Back in 2011 when we started Apulstock, I could never have imagined what it would become. I think we’ve brought a lot of joy to people. When I take a moment to think about it, I get quite emotional.
"If you’d have told me in 2011 that Norman Cook [Fatboy Slim] would be sending us prizes for our raffle, or that we’d have the original TARDIS from Dr Who, I wouldn’t have believed it for a second.
“People from all walks of life come together to make Apulstock happen, and that’s where the tingles happen. Its kindness for the sake of kindness. I am incredibly blessed to be part of it, but it belongs to the people that come every year and that is what makes it special.”
Festival favourites Iron Tyger are set to return this year, with 14 other acts set to perform at the event including newcomers Petrol Money and the first ever theatrical performance as The Big Eyed Ears perform a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Alex added: “The festival has always been about breaking down barriers, and this year, we have 14 performances in total, half of which include performers with disabilities. This is a really positive thing. It is what we are all about.
“The theme for 2023 is ‘all things magical’ and we’ve got a performance of a Midsummer Night's Dream by The Big Eyed Ears. This will be the first time we’ve ever had a theatrical performance, and it is going to be fantastic. Also BABA are returning, but that is another story entirely.
“However, all this being said, I think the biggest, most obvious upgrade to expect this year will be the staging, light and sound from Showmen Events. Aside from the quality production value that they bring, there will be a huge video wall at the side of the stage, and another one behind the bands. I honestly think we are giving Glastonbury a run for their money this year.”
For more information about this year’s event, visit: www.apulstock.co.uk