Information for families to assist in planning to attend SouthFest
SouthFest are excited to provide an inclusive event for our whole community to attend and enjoy.
As we want this event to be enjoyed by everyone, this year we are aiming to deliver SouthFest with sensory sensitivity.
Some of us in our community face challenges in managing our sensory needs when out and about at places like festivals and busy environments, so we've introduced a few options to SouthFest this year to help everyone enjoy what the SouthFest has to offer.
A big part of this is being able to provide information below to help families to plan their time at SouthFest.
Our event map can be found here and printed before you attend. This provides useful information for attendees about accessible parking, sensory spaces and chill out zones, toilets, water and changing facilities. It will also give you some information about what sort of things to expect in each area of the event.
We have developed a social story about SouthFest. This can assist with providing people with information about the event and support them with knowing what to expect at SouthFest.
You can download our social story here.
For anyone who may require a bit of extra support, or who is a risk of running away from their carers at our event we have VIP lanyards available which can be marked with the person's name and phone number.
The VIP lanyards also give volunteers and stallholders an indication of if a person perhaps requires extra support during their interaction.
Lanyards are available at the VIP Desk beside the First Aid tent at the front of the Tuggeranong Community Centre.
We have hearing protection/headphones available for loan for the event for anyone who finds the noise overwhelming. These are available at the VIP Desk beside the First Aid tent at the front of the Tuggeranong Community Centre.
To loan a pair, simply leave some photo ID or $15 as security, and this will be returned to you on return of the headphones.
There are accessible bathrooms at all toilet locations marked on the SouthFest map.
Bathroom facilities are also available at the Family and Community Centre (just next to location 6) which can provide a safe and clean space to support a range of people's toileting needs, including facilities for all ages using continence aids. This is in addition to the regular baby change facilities the Centre and other locations provide.
There are a few places across the event site where anyone who is feeling a bit overwhelmed, or just needing a place to hang for a bit can go.
These have been marked with a symbol on our event map.
Chill Out Spot - in the Tuggeranong Community Centre (location 10). We've got beanbags to flop in, some sensory items, and generally a space to escape and chill. The room has a kitchenette and close access to the bathrooms.
Library Chill Out - head here for a bit of a break from the festival, with an Art Exhibition and the usual library services and facilities. Toilets are located here also.
Enclosed playground - our Child and Family will provide full access to their enclosed play space directly from the event site at location 6. This can be the perfect place for children to run off some energy in a gated play space that is removed from the festival.
SouthFest organisers have supplemented already designated disabled parking in the event precinct with additional parking areas shown on the event map in two areas.
Both these locations provide quick and easy access to the event footprint.
We operate SouthFest in a public realm and within public buildings. These areas are all fully accessible for people with mobility difficulties including those using mobility aids. Our event set intends to maintain full access across the site. We would love to hear your feedback following the event if you encounter any barriers or think we can improve on this aspect.
Every care has been taken in the planning of this community festival to make it a safe and inclusive event, and your safety is of utmost importance to us. There is, however, no perimeter fencing at SouthFest. There is a fully-gated play space at the Child and Family Centre (location 6) which is a little removed from the main festival events, if you need to race around a burn off some energy if an enclosed area.
SouthFest is run by committed volunteers and community members. If you need assistance at any time during the event, please ask one of our friendly volunteers in the pink hivis vests.
Please be advised that SouthFest is being held in a public space and people may bring their pets along to the event. We discourage people from doing so for the safety of all members of the public.
Balloons are likely to be present at the festival.
No clowns are scheduled to be present at SouthFest, and are not included in any of the organised activities.
You may find some of our volunteers blowing bubbles across the event site. Feel free to borrow their stick and blow some for yourself!
We know we can always do more to make events more accessible. SouthFest is evolving and we are striving to improve our own event and hopefully many others!
After attending, if you have any suggestions that would help us make this event more inclusive and sensory-friendly next time, please contact us.
We thank the ACT Government for their support with a Disability Inclusion Grant to help us create our sensory friendly event.
Thank you also to the families that have helped inform our plans for SouthFest 2019 and making some adjustments to improve accessibility.