For one day, the sleepy town of Wanstead on the eastern outskirts of London became a colourful and diverse hub of activity, as editor of Able Magazine, Tom Jamison, found when he attended the Festival in the Park.

It was great to be official media partners with the Festival in the Park’s first Disability Awareness Day event, celebrating local disabled residents and organisations involved in disability, all with a positive focus, mirroring our own approach at Able Magazine.

It was a hot, dry July day. The fact that it hadn’t rained properly in Wanstead for around six weeks meant that the Green was not only flat as usual, but baked hard – ideal not only for people with mobility impairments and wheelchairs to traverse but also, perfect for the many that came along with picnic rugs to find a spot from which to watch the action taking place on stage.

Elsewhere disabled people, groups and their carers were able to gather information from organisations supporting the event, including charities involved in health, respite care and sport in the Redbridge area – as well as visiting the Able Magazine stall to pick up a complimentary copy of the latest edition. Stage Outside, the Main Stage acts were getting going. From African drums to Motown,
the music kept up all day, with every act drawing a large crowd in front of the stage – and on stage as it happens – as there were seemingly few rules as to who could join in!

Escaping from the sun, under the forgiving shade of the trees at the edge of the Green was a smaller area where people could watch or take part in music and dance. Often, the audience can be a little shy about who’s going to put themselves out there first but today was all about celebrating difference – and there were plenty of enthusiastic people raring to go.

It was also great to see people who are not usually connected with a disability just happening upon the festival and learning more about the issues facing disabled people – as well as sharing the fun of the event too.

It was easy to enjoy a day at the Festival in the Park. The weather was glorious, the smiles were beaming and the vibes were positive. This is what all festivals should be like.