This week we are honoured to have Gig Buddies royalty in the house – just in time for our massive Sy
Over from the UK, Paul and Madeline – founder and project manager respectively for the befriending scheme that pairs people with and without disabilities, along with Andrew - an active gig buddies participant - are in town to help promote the project ‘Down Under’.
Having left a baltic Brighton behind, the trio have landed in sunnier climes to not only spot kangaroos and check out the Sydney Opera House (two of Andrew’s wishes during his weeklong stop over), but also pass on their knowledge on what it takes to successfully run such a concept.
After forming punk band Heavy Load – a group made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities, Paul was inspired to start the Gig Buddies movement as the bands fans’ were deprived from requesting a late night encore post 9pm. People in West Sussex would come and watch them play, but would often call it a night long before the night itself got going due to their support workers effectively ‘knocking off’.
From its inception in 2013, Gig Buddies currently has 60 volunteers and participants within the Brighton area (with an ever increasing demand to boot, both in terms of other towns wanting to replicate the Gig Buddies initiative and of those wanting to partake). Open to all ages and tastes, participant wishes’ vary from checking out up-and-coming rock and pop acts to watching soccer matches or attending church together.
So far in Sydney we’ve received 50 applications from people wanting to attend more gigs or shows, along with over a dozen volunteer applications. Of those participants who have applied, interests vary from funk and hip-hop to orchestral music events.
For those of you who want to sample what Gig Buddies is all about, and meet the guys from the UK, tickets are still available to our launch party, this Friday at the UNSW Roundhouse.
For those interested in volunteering or wanting to attend more gigs, hit up our website.
We look forward to seeing you on the dance floor this Friday.