An accessible music festival run by Hft, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, attracted record crowds last weekend as many hundreds of people gathered to enjoy two days of live music and entertainment in the sun.


Staged in the grounds of Hft Sussex Orchards in Walberton, CoreFest is a free two-day inclusive music festival for all. People with learning disabilities, their families and carers came together with hundreds of other people from the local community to enjoy a weekend of live music, camping and fun.

This year’s sell-out festival line-up included a range of highly popular bands to appeal to all tastes, from Michael Jackson and Kylie tribute acts to local favourites Murdoch’s Crazy Eyes, Iron Tyger and Delta 7. Other entertainment included magic shows, circus skills workshops, aerial acrobatics, bouncy castles and animals from RepTylers Mobile Zoo.

Special provisions for people with learning disabilities included an accessible campsite, fully accessible facilities and access to designated chill-out areas away from the main crowds.

Hilary Harris, a guest from Brighton, said

“It has been the best weekend. It’s been brilliant to see people of all ages and abilities enjoying themselves together in the sunshine. We’ll definitely be back next year.”

Hft Sussex supports around 100 people locally, offering person-centred services ranging from residential care to supported living at home – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. The festival helped raise more than £5,500 to support their work.

Hft’s Divisional Fundraising Manager Jodi Harford said

“CoreFest is really important to Hft Sussex; not just because it helps us raise valuable funds and awareness for the charity, but because so few festivals like this exist. We feel strongly that people with learning disabilities should be able to enjoy live music and the festival experience alongside everyone else; and CoreFest enables them to do just that. Thanks to everyone who came along this year – we look forward to seeing you again in 2019.”

Next on the agenda for Hft Sussex is the return of their popular We’re Going on a Bear Hunt family fundraising event on 8-9 September 2018 at Hft Sussex Orchards, Eastergate Lane, Walberton BN18 0AE. Visit the Bear Hunt page for information and tickets.

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance