Festival of smiles! Apulstock founder Alex and team gear up for seventh annual musical jamboree


Apulstock founder Alex Fryer could never have imagined that an idea he had for a music event for people with learning disabilities would evolve in to such an important and much-loved festival. Yet seven years later Alex and his team of volunteers are gearing up for this year’s festival; and seem to be doing so with as much enthusiasm as was shown back in 2011 for the inaugural show.

Apulstock is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit annual event which up until this year has taken place at the Apuldram Centre, a charity that supports people with learning disabilities in Chichester. This time of asking, on July 23, the festivities are taking place at the Fishbourne Centre.

Alex, a social care professional, explains: “The festival is aimed at people with learning disabilities, but anyone is welcome to attend. Apulstock is a highly inclusive festival and we actively encourage community groups and charities to get involved and work in partnership with us in whichever way they can.

“The event features a wide variety of performances from professional and semi-professional musicians, people with learning disabilities and community groups. Out of 14 acts this year I think there are five who feature people with learning difficulties. The value is in the event; seeing people feel accepted, enjoying the music and having a beer. It’s a joyous thing to be part of.

“If we do have any money left over then we will donate it to to St Wilfrid’s. But it isn’t about money, although we could do with some more sponsorship. That’d be nice. One year we decided to sell some merchandise and I ended up being £200 out of pocket but I put it down to being perhaps over enthusiastic but it’s not a problem.

“It’s not about fund-raising it’s about seeing a smile on the face of a profoundly disabled person enjoying perhaps the only live music they will experience all year. There are also a number of other attractions, such as Dr Who’s Tardis, classic cars, activity stalls, face painting and much more.”

The festival also offers camping to some of its guests as part of the festival experience, an activity that can be difficult for people with disabilities to access under normal circumstances.

If your company would like to help through sponsorship, call Alex on 07572 293977.

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.