A professional skateboarder, a wheelchair motocross world champion, a martial arts expert, a comedian and the founder of a critically-acclaimed rock band will all take part in the first World Independent Living Day (WILD) festival on Saturday.
Organisers of the WILD Day In have this week released the line-up of disabled talent for the online festival.
The running time for the festival had to be extended after more disabled musicians, artists and speakers added their names to the original line-up.
As well as demonstrations, comedy, discussions and music, the festival will feature animations that provide information and some of the history behind the independent living movement.
The most high-profile disabled performers on Saturday are Jon McClure (pictured, top left), founder of Reverend and the Makers, who will end the festival with a set, and comedian Rosie Jones (top right).
The festival will begin with tutorial sessions from blind skateboarder Dan Mancina and wheelchair motocross world champion Lily Rice (pictured, bottom right, in a BBC documentary last month), and a martial arts demonstration from black belt Martin Ridley.
There will also be interviews with punk poet and author Penny Pepper (bottom left), and the creators of accessible sex toy company Hot Octopus, as well as Alex Walls, who runs an online computer game streaming channel.
The free festival will begin at 3pm on Saturday on the WILD website, and will include British Sign Language interpreters and simultaneous subtitles.
The festival had originally been planned to take place in central London on 5 May but had to be reimagined as an online event because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hope is that it will demonstrate solidarity within the disability community, while also “highlighting some of the best talent out there”.
Broadcaster and campaigner Mik Scarlet, who will compere the festival, said: “I had to get involved with WILD because an event marking World Independent Living Day with a cross-section of disabled people performing and showing off their skills couldn’t be missed.
“Being able to live as you wish, choosing who supports you and what they do and having the ability to build your own future path is something we all deserve, and the list of disabled people appearing at WILD proves what disabled people can do given the chance.”
Festival founder and disabled activist Andy Greene said: “Anything that brings us together and gets us talking to each other is positive.
“This festival will act as a springboard to having a bigger conversation about how we can build new organisations to bring our ideas to life.
“We are trying to be as inclusive and accessible as possible and our festival will connect with the independent living movement’s history and try to build on that going forwards.”
The festival also marks the launch of WILD CIC, a new organisation which will promote independent living as “a tool to transform society into something that is far more inclusive than it is today”.
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