First of all, what the heck does ‘sensory inclusive’ mean?
‘Sensory inclusive’ is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, and for good reason. It means that the environment (arena/theater/festival, etc.) it is describing has been modified with – or those working there have been educated on – methods that are helpful to those attending who have autism, anxiety, or anything else that would cause them to be uncomfortable in situations with loud music, lots of people, flashing lights and more. Professional sports stadiums are becoming sensory inclusive, but it was about time that a music festival join in.
Enter: Sloss Fest.
Sloss Fest, in collaboration with Bham-based non-profit KultureCity, has worked hard to educate Sloss Fest employees about the needs of those with special needs or may feel overwhelmed at the festival. There is also a dedicated sensory room on-site for the festival-goers who desire a quieter and more secure environment.
KultureCity has not only worked to make Sloss Fest sensory inclusive, they have worked with the NFL Pro-Bowl and Superbowl, more than 15 NBA arenas, NFL and NHL stadiums, zoos and countless others. You can learn more about KultureCity here and watch the video below about how they got started in Birmingham.
Sloss Fest employees worked with a team of medical professionals in preparation for the event. They have learned how to identify guests with sensory needs and have been educated on how to assist them.
Sensory bags are available for any festival guest who may need them – these bags include noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads. The bags will be available to anyone attending the festival that may need one.
Though many of the disabilities noted are invisible, those individuals can feel seen by Sloss Fest, as it is the first music festival in the country to be sensory inclusive. Pretty awesome, right? You can read more about this year’s Sloss Fest here.
Sloss Fest will not be Birmingham’s only sensory-inclusive experience — check out our post about the Butler Snow Sensory trail at Red Mountain Park.
We’ll leave you with this quote, courtesy of KultureCity Executive Director, Traci Johnson:
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a major music festival like Sloss Fest, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Sloss Fest team is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
See you guys at Sloss Fest!