A space for everyone at Inner West festivals

Thursday 11 May 2023

Inner West Council has completed a successful pilot program providing dedicated Sensory Spaces to ensure everyone can enjoy our festivals.

Council has delivered the spaces, also known as quiet spaces, at Summer Fest, Bairro Portuguese – Petersham Festival, and Jazz in the Park.

The sensory space pilot is an initiative of Inner West to build Council’s capacity to plan and host more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible events for the community.

This includes information sessions for Council staff on how to make events, festivals, live music, and small businesses more accessible for people with a disability, accompanying guides, and an equipment library with an access fund.

The library includes a triangle tent, weighted stuffed pillows, cushions, noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools, timers and books including colouring books.

There is also access to wheelchair mobility matting to assist with access to the main event area, and Auslan interpreters for on-stage speeches and songs.

The spaces are designed for public events to provide a safe and supportive area for people to retreat to when they need some time away from the noise and busyness of events.

Quote: Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne - “Patrons wanting to take a break from the sounds and surroundings without leaving Jazz in the Park were offered an accessible and inclusive space to take some time out.”

“We want to make sure our events and festivals are truly inclusive and we’re developing best-practice approaches that cater for all sections of the community.”

Quote - Events Manager Michael Daly – “Reducing input for a time by escaping it allows a person to regulate their mood and avoid sensory overloads or mental distress which could shorten their stay and capacity to feel welcome.”

“Statistics show that 18 percent of the community live with a disability and this figure is believed to be under-reported.”

Sensory Spaces offer a sanctuary for children, young people and adults who live with a disability or might become overwhelmed by noise, smells, lights, crowds and other sensory input at festivals and events.

Council’s commitment to the program was reinforced by a parent who attended Summer Fest:

“It was so good to have that at the festival. This allowed my child to relax, chill out and participate in the activities rather than have to go home as it was too loud.

“I hope you can do it again and consider it for other festivals that Inner West Council supports.”


For media enquiries and please contact Brett Clancy on 02 9335 2193 or 0416155949 – brett.clancy@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

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Page last updated: 11 May 2023