Apulstock 2015The annual Apulstock music festival for people with learning disabilities has declared 2016 the ‘Year of The Butterfly’, ahead of the event in July.

Now in its sixth year, Apulstock, a celebration of music, community and equality, will take place at the Apuldram Centre in Chichester on Saturday, July 23, running from 11am to 11pm.

This year’s Apulstock line-up includes Iron Tyger, FOCs, Britonica, Guava Jelly and Slim Jim and the Wildcards among others. There will also be circus performers, donkey rides and a variety of stalls and activities to enjoy.

Apulstock is purposely kept relatively small, so that it doesn’t get too crowded – some of the festival-goers find large crowds intimidating.

Alex Fryer from the Apuldram Centre, who founded Apulstock in 2011 with a committee of volunteers, explained the rationale behind the ‘Year of The Butterfly’: “We’ve chosen this theme because we have some guests who are on the autistic spectrum, and they don’t always deal well with masks and costumes. The butterfly theme is designed to be non-threatening, light hearted and gentle. It means that people can have their face painted, wear butterfly wings and rock out without others finding it scary.

"The theme also represents positive change. Since last year’s event, the Apuldram Centre has appointed a new general manager, Rachel Aslet-Clark, who is really getting behind Apulstock. It’s certainly an exciting time for the organisation. There is a tangible feeling of renewed creativity and focus.”

Fryer added that Apulstock will have a licensed bar this year for the first time ever, and that other organisations are invited to be involved by having a stall.

“Apulstock is a small event aimed at people with learning disabilities, but anyone is welcome to come. There is still a huge gap in the market for accessible music festivals. What really makes Apulstock unique is the sense of community it inspires. We have guests who travel from as far away as Bristol, Bournemouth and Hastings every year and it’s their festival as much as anyone else’s. It’s about giving people the opportunity to come along and have a real festival experience, a little bit of joy once a year that we can all get behind. The greatest motivation for doing it is simply seeing people so happy.”

Tickets for the event are currently available from the Apuldram Centre and online (via www.apuldram.org/cart/shop). Guests intending to come are advised to purchase them in advance as tickets are limited and may not be available to purchase on the day.

Adult tickets are £15, children’s tickets (aged 9-17) are £10, and family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are £40. Support staff, carers and children aged 8 and under all get in for free, alongside a paying adult.

To find out more, please visit the festival website and 'like' the Facebook page. Videos of previous years can be found online by searching for “Apulstock” on YouTube.