By Amy Pinder
Streaming on inclusionfestival.com April 11, 2021
Inclusion Dining & Jams is a dinner and show experience for all ages and abilities featuring Ryan Montbleau on Sunday, April 11, 2021. In addition to Montbleau’s performance, Inclusion Dining & Jams will also feature sensory-friendly music, yoga-inspired dance for all, opportunities for play, flow arts, sing-alongs, inspiring lyrics, mindfulness, collaborative art, and so much more to provide an all inclusive event. While tickets are being sold for an in-person experience at MusikFest Café, those outside of Bethlehem can join in on the evening via a donation-based livestream.
Music is universal and has the ability to connect people from every walk of life. It provides an outlet for everyone to put aside their struggles in life, and feel embraced by the lyrics and rhythm. Artist Ryan Montbleu has a variety of songs that offer uplifting and positive messages, providing hope and inspiration for people who may be experiencing moments of darkness or doubt. Montbleu’s songs provide an outlet for anyone, particularly helping those with disabilities feel uplifted and included. The show and livestream will be presented with accessibility features to support a diverse audience including visual, auditory, cognitive, physical, and sensory. Live ASL interpreters, captions, and audio and image descriptions will all be available to help promote a positive, inclusive experience. Opening for Montbleau is 19 year old Jewels Harrison, an autistic piano player who has been honing his craft since the age of 3 and is currently studying piano and voice at the Langond Music School.
Presented by Accessible Festivals, a non-profit focused on providing resources within the live entertainment and recreational field, and ArtsQuest, a nonprofit organization providing access to art, culture and educational programs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Taking a page from the band Phish’s Dinner & A Movie series, Accessible Festival has designed Inclusion Dining & Jams to include a sensory-friendly dining experience designed for people of all disabilities. An inclusion dining experience includes: special menu for items for special diets, modified picture menus, social stories to support ordering and waiting, table-top activities, and therapists onsite.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, Inclusion Dining & Jams will be following various health and safety procedures that include: event capacity guidelines, practicing safe social distancing, requiring masks in all indoor and outdoor areas except when eating and drinking while seated, requiring temperature check prior to entry, improved air ventilation systems inside the building, and enhancing cleaning and disinfecting procedures before, during, and after events.
By bringing together like-minded organizations and individuals, sharing knowledge and resources, and aligning our vision with one another, we can take the next step in ensuring people of abilities are able to have the quality of life they dream of. This event is something exciting to be a part of and provides a passionate cause for many.
All donations received from the livestream event will directly benefit the non-profit organization Accessible Festivals, dedicated to making communities stronger by ensuring music and recreation is accessible to all abilities. Accessible Festivals mission is to foster connection and understanding through the universal language of music, to provide a platform where people of all abilities and identities can connect and build relationships, and to inspire the creation of safe, inclusive, and equitable communities.