Music festival for those with disabilities returning to Falkirk park

Awakening Festival organisers Neil Kilgour, Maureen Kilgour and David Irvine
Awakening Festival organisers Neil Kilgour, Maureen Kilgour and David Irvine

Organisers of a Falkirk music festival for people with physical and learning disabilities are eager to improve on last year’s highly successful opening event.

The Awakening Festival was the first of its kind when it launched in the town’s Elgin Park and now the team behind the project are determined to develop Awakening into a truly one of a kind event.

Elgin Park will again host all of the fun on Saturday, August 17.

Held in a safe and family-friendly environment, guests can expect entertainment from two live bands, a disco and headline act Leona Rae.

On top of the musical talent on offer, there’ll also be a bouncy castle, a children’s disco and guest appearances from Magic Pete and ZooLab.

While fun and enjoyment are the key focuses of the day, organisers from the ENABLE Falkirk charity also want to ensure visitors have access to information on services for young people and adults with disabilities. With that in mind, a number of wellbeing and information stalls will be set up within the park.

Guests had great fun at last year's Awakening Festival. Pictures: Michael Gillen

Guests had great fun at last year's Awakening Festival. Pictures: Michael Gillen

The event will run from 3pm until 10pm, with the live acts taking to the stage from 6pm onwards, and 300 tickets are up for grabs.

Maureen Kilgour, who is one of the trio of Awakening team members leading the event alongside husband Neil and David Irvine, is hopeful the festival will grow in size.

The Polmont woman knows just how important such events are for those with disabilities as her sons Jordan (22) and Aaron (19) have learning disabilities.

She said: “It’s going to be the same but hopefully it’ll be bigger.

“I want it to be bigger and better and open it up to the whole of the Forth Valley disabilities community.

“The main feedback was, why shouldn’t these people have a festival experience?

“Yes, you can take them to festivals but, as a parent, you get stares because they can make a noise, they can run about, they can spoil everybody else’s enjoyment. So why not bring it to them in a safe environment they all know?

“We’ve made contact with other groups and, because we do club nights as well now, we’ve got a bigger clientele.

“We want to make it a family event because these people come with other siblings and we want to bring them into the fold as well.”

Following on from the success of the first Awakening Festival, Maureen and her team started up a run of club nights at City Nightclub in Falkirk for those with disabilities. The idea came into fruition in February and the concept has proved so popular that Kitty’s in Kirkcaldy and Fubar in Stirling have since approached the group to set up similar events.

Outlining how the nights run, David said: “We’re all PVG-checked and we’re all first aid-trained to watch out for specific things like epilepsy.

“We want to have a safe, non-judgemental environment for these people to go and enjoy and that’s what they do.

“They run from 7-10pm. The most we’ve had for a club night is 160 people paying, plus the support workers so it’s going from strength to strength.”

All-day access tickets for the Awakening Festival are on sale for £17. Support workers can attend for free.

To purchase tickets, visit the Forth Valley Disabilities Club Nights page on Facebook or contact Maureen on 07970 835564. Organisers would like to thank all volunteers for their ongoing support.