The host with the most (gold medals) got on the blower to give us an update on what’ll be one of Melbourne’s first large-scale music events following lockdown.
After being forced to COVID-cancel, the all-ability-friendly festival (that really shows the way forward for other festivals when it comes to making sure everyone can get involved) is back by popular demand. The one-dayer will be at Alexandra Gardens on Saturday 27 November, 2021.
Dylan Alcott, who's had an epic year of tennis getting the Golden Slam of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open AND Olympic gold says it always means so much to put it on but even more so this year.
"So obviously we thought we were cooked,” he tells triple j. After launching a few months ago, the team didn't think it was going to go ahead. But waddya ya know! It's going to be the first major music festival back in Victoria after two years.
As always, the line-up is massive and the whole event will be raising money to help people with a disability right across the country.
“It's been a crap year for all of us, but especially for some people with a disability, who have been in lockdown for 18 months since it started,” says Dyl.
With the change of dates, there’s had to be a couple of changes to the line-up; with Eves Karydas and JK-47 replaced with Lastlings and Ninajirachi.
"I can safely say, after having a year off, I'm not piss-fit anymore. And normally I'm pretty good. So luckily, there’ll be heaps of people with disability there because we'll all be getting more para than normal. So I feel like I can just fit into the crew, which will be nice."
For anyone who hasn’t been before: "First and foremost, it's just a sick party like every other festival, like Beyond the Valley, Falls, Splendour. The only difference is we have some added accessibility features, so people with disabilities can come with their able-bodied mates and have a good time.”
"We have pathways, platforms, Auslan sign language interpreters doing every single lyric on stage. We've got our Sensory Chill Zone for people with non-physical and sensory disabilities, like autism and that, if they're getting sensory overload they can go in there, chill out, come back. We've tried to think of everything.”
Aside from that, it’s got a truly unbeatable vibe.
"A mate of mine is a doctor and one night he was in the ICU and had a young kid come in,” remembers Dyl. “His name was Mark and he was really sick. Mark had an ABILITY FEST bracelet on so my mate James asked him if he’d been to the festival and told him we went to school together. Mark said that it was the best day of his life.”
“He passed away not long after that. This year we’re dedicating the dance stage to Mark.”
"Even if you can't make it, buy a ticket because it goes to such a great cause. With The Dylan Alcott Foundation we help young Aussies with their startup dreams, businesses, university degrees, wheelchairs to become Paralympians, whatever it is ...
“Look, I get a bit choked up thinking about it, but also I just wanna cut sick. We deserve this. Melbourne is due for a GOOD TIME."