Since 2017, co-founders Leah Barron and Amy Pinder have been orchestrating the Inclusion Festival as a means to promote awareness about accessibility at festivals and other live music events, as well as to support the non-profit organization, Accessible Festivals, founded by Austin Whitney and Oren Shani in 2014. And while the Inclusion team had hoped to make a return to Mountain Sky for their third annual festival this summer, it was decided near the end of May that the festival would need to be a virtual event. Despite this turn of events, the co-founders have worked tirelessly for the past few months in order to bring accessibility to the livestream format.
Which is why Inclusion has partnered with AccessiBe, a leader in web compliance, which offers features that are currently available on the Inclusion Festival website. Visitors to the site have the ability to view content based on their specific needs; utilizing features such as a screen-reader and highlighting tool. The site also features an Access Center where viewers can ask and answer questions on the message board throughout the livestream. The Access Center also features a Social Story, which according to Amy Pinder, is, “traditionally used as a learning tool for students with autism and other differences”, and one she believes will help give viewers a better understanding of what to expect from a livestream or festival experience.
Start Making Sense at the 2019 Inclusion fest:
This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy to discuss all of the exciting changes that have been made to Inclusion for its virtual debut:
AF: Do you think because the festival will now be online, that it is even more inclusive for artists fans?
AP: I think that in a way, it is because people can tune in from a lot more places and they can experience all of the wonderful things that a festival and a live concert has to offer. Of course, you can’t replicate the live festival experience, but I’m a speech-language therapist; I work with individuals with autism and other developmental differences and sometimes there’s a lot of anxiety around trying something new. So, as it turns out, this is a way to be exposed to something new in a really comfortable place-your own home; and perhaps like dipping a toe in the water of trying it in real life.
AF: Did you guys end up adding any artists to the original lineup for Inclusion Fest?
AP: Yeah, it’s a mix of both. We have a mix of artists who were going to participate in-person, and artists that became new targets and new considerations once we made the pivot to virtual.
AF: Was there anybody in particular who reached out to you?
AP: Artist-wise we had a lot of applications, yes, a lot of people have reached out to us. In particular, Everyone Orchestra was someone we were targeting before and after the pivot to online, and we’re really excited about that partnership. Matt Butler has been a pleasure to work with. Leah one who organizes the music and has begun to develop a relationship with him. [Matt’s] project, in general, is in the spirit of inclusion by including artists from many different bands and bringing them together for something new. So, we’re excited that Matt was excited about it too!
AF: What are some of your expectations for Inclusion Online?
AP: Going into our first year, we don’t have very specific expectations. We expect to bring a joyful experience to those who choose tune in, we expect to model best practices in online accessibility so that other promotors and producers can see what’s possible when you think about accessibility in the core of your planning for an event, and we hope that people learn about what we’re doing and follow us and look for opportunities online and in-person, when it’s safe to return. We also hope they’ll learn more about our non-profit organization, Accessible Festivals, which is dedicated to making music and recreation accessible in many different ways. This festival’s donations will support the growth of the non-profit organization, Accessible Festivals.
AF: Well I’m pumped, and I’ll definitely be tuning in myself!
AP: Me too! That’s another big difference for us. Normally we’re running around Inclusion Festival Weekend orchestrating a festival, and so we’re really excited to have a watch party outside with a few close friends that have really supported us, so we’re gonna be tuning in too.
Inclusion Festival Online begins at 5 p.m. [EST] on Friday, August 21 and will continue through the weekend. The livestream will be available on various platforms including CashorTrade Streams, Facebook, and InclusionFestival.com. All of the donations from the festival will go toward the non-profit organization, Accessible Festivals.
5:00pm-5:30p Opening Ceremony Flame the Band Storytime with Hayley Jane: The Boy with Big Feelings 5:30pm-6:00p Be Patient, Be Present, Be Joyful with Ryan Stanley Anna Oh 6:00pm-6:30pm Bollywood Dance for EVERYONE with Gaitrie Devi Miss Cantaloupe 6:30pm-7:00pm A Conversation with EmiSunshine PanSong 7:00pm-7:30pm A Conversation about The Power of Music with Matt Butler (Everyone Orchestra), Pete Kozak & Macheis Wind 7:30pm-8:00pm “Stand by Me” Performed by True Colors Magic for ALL with Captain Swirly 8:00pm-8:30pm Mother Nature’s Child Juggling for ALL with Benjamin Berry 8:30pm-9:00pm Tash Neal (The London Souls) Enjoy Every Moment 9:00pm-9:30pm Hayley Jane The Story of Accessible Festivals Zach Gill (ALO) 9:30pm-10:00pm TIKYRA Blake Mobley 10:00pm-10:30pm Matt Bartlett (Skunkmello) The Ace of Cups 10:30pm-11:00pm Expansion Project Swift Technique- Inclusion Festival 2019 Archives
5:00pm-5:30pm Improvisational Yoga Flow with Taraleigh Weathers Music with Corey Feldman (Cousin Earth) 5:30pm-6:00pm “Stand by Me” Performed by True Colors The Ben and J Show: A Conversation about Inclusion 6:00pm-6:30pm Michael Korins The Movement of Joy with Naila Ansari How to Hang a Hammock with ENO 6:30pm-7:00pm The Merry Rockers- Inclusion Festival 2018 Archives A Tour of Special Skoolie Autism is LOVE Workshop with Sam Huber 7:00pm-7:30pm Storytime with Hayley Jane: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures A Conversation with Temple Grandin Playing for Change 7:30pm-8:00pm Hoop Yoga Stretch with Benjamin Berry 8:00pm-8:30pm Mike Miz A Conversation with Sam Huber 8:30pm-9:00pm Grateful Drumming Workshop with Joe Ciarvella Reef the Lost Cauze 9:00pm-9:30pm Everyone Orchestra with Al Schnier (moe.), Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits), James Casey & Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Bridget Law, Weedie Braimah, and Kai Eckhardt (Garaj Mahal) The Story of Accessible Festivals Paul Hoffman with Holly Bowling, Lindsay Lou and Jay Cobb Anderson 9:30pm-10:00pm Karina Rykman Jammin’ in Mr. Jim’s Studio A.J. Croix 10:00pm-10:30pm Cousin Earth John the Martyr 10:30pm-11:00pm Start Making Sense- Inclusion Festival 2019 Archives OJAS
4:00pm-4:30pm Macheis Wind A Conversation with Austin Whitney 4:30pm-5:00pm Brainwave Education with OJAS “Stand by Me” Performed by True Colors Storytime with Julia Cook: Uniquely Wired 5:00pm-5:30pm Chair Yoga with Tatiana Santa Lucia Found Poetry Workshop with Donnie Welch 5:30pm-6:00pm A Tour of Kathy Jeanne Millinery Madison Gerish and The Schooley Mountain Band The Inclusion Alphabet with Kathryn Jenkins Fun with Mandalas with Brink Ross 6:00pm-6:30pm A Conversation with Sabeerah Najee Dylan Garcia The Beauty of Diversity- Contributions from Bosnia 6:30pm-7:00pm Faye Adinda Sound Healing with Katie Emmitt 7:00pm-7:30pm A Conversation with Lauren Melissa Songs about Inclusion with Brady Rymer 7:30pm-8:00pm Russel James Dee Maple Band- Inclusion Festival 2018 Archives 8:00pm-8:30pm James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band) Peck and Penn (Elliott Peck of Midnight North) 8:30pm-9:00pm “Lean on Me” Performed by Playing for Change Especially Everyone Ensemble Closing Ceremony
Be sure to check out Inclusion Fest online this weekend!
Also be sure to check out the search feature in the upper right hand corner- search for your favorite band, venue, festival, event, or genre. You’ll be surprised what you find.