Sweet Relief: Innovative Accessibility Solutions Transform Hamilton Music Event for Disability Community

Sweet Relief Northshore Hamilton

Queensland’s music scene is set to take a giant leap towards inclusivity and accessibility as Spinal Life Australia joins forces with the Queensland Music Festival (QMF) to present a groundbreaking event, “Sweet Relief,” in Hamilton.

Despite the thriving cultural landscape in Queensland, accessibility and inclusivity often remain overlooked aspects of event planning, leading to social isolation for individuals with physical, sensory, and emotional disabilities. A recent survey revealed that people with disabilities aged 15–64 are twice as likely to experience social isolation (17%) compared to those without disabilities (8.7%). Additionally, a significant portion (39%) of people with disabilities feel a sense of unbelonging and dissatisfaction in their local communities due to the lack of accessibility.

Sweet Relief, a flagship event of the Queensland Music Festival and part of the Qld Music Trails, is set to change this narrative by pioneering innovative accessibility solutions in the music scene. Spinal Life Australia, a disability services and support organization, is collaborating with QMF to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities to enjoy cultural events as everyone else. 

The historic event will take place on Saturday, 16 Sept 2023, at the Maritime Green in Northshore Hamilton. The festivities kick off at 12:00 p.m. and continue until 10:00 p.m. 

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Some of the groundbreaking accessibility inclusions at Sweet Relief include:

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  • Tactile Sensory Silent Disco: A Queensland-first experience designed to cater to neurodiverse and audio-sensitive audiences.
  • ConcertCare: On-ground support staff, including social workers, counsellors, nurses, and mental health peers, will be available to address attendees’ diverse needs.
  • Accessible Viewing Platform: A front-and-centre platform providing prime vision for individuals with disabilities.
  • Auslan Interpreters: Interpreters on-stage with fixed cameras to ensure that both the music and its lyrical essence are accessible to all.

Dane Cross, Spinal Life Australia’s Access and Advocacy Consultant, who himself lives with quadriplegia, expressed his enthusiasm for these pioneering accessibility measures. 

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“Arts, music, and events are a huge and important part of our culture, so it can be frustrating for the disability community to have limitations on what they can attend. These innovations and inclusions that Sweet Relief are championing aren’t about ticking a box; it’s about creating a sense of belonging and ensuring Brisbane, and the wider community, is welcoming of all,” Dane said. 

When Dane was 21 years old, he experienced an injury that resulted in him living with quadriplegia. Instead of allowing this accident to define the end of his world, it propelled him onto a journey of advocacy and enhancing accessibility. This journey has culminated in a transformation of the music and event landscape in Queensland.

“We’re very proud and excited for Sweet Relief to represent a major step forward in creating exceptional audience experiences for everybody,” said Daryl Raven, QMF Chief Operating Officer. “QMF has a strategic focus towards diversifying our audience mix, and we hope to extend these initiatives across all Qld Music Trails events.”

For more information about Spinal Life Australia’s work in the accessibility space, please visit Spinal Life Australia’s Website

Published 14-Sept-2023