Landermeads care home in Beeston recently held a special music festival and it was a roaring success.
The care village is built entirely around the wishes and needs of the people who live there, who are called family members not residents.
When it came to staging a music festival they needed something special and bespoke to fit their family members perfectly, so they created ‘All Together Now’ – a fully interactive music festival where the audience members – made up of all ages and dogs – are far more important than the acts on stage.
Despite the dismal weather the sun shone on every face as people enjoyed the debut of funk rock from Groovezilla, the beautiful choir One Voice, singer songwriter Emma Bladen-Jones, Just Ben & Cannon.
Throughout the activity-laden afternoon there were drum workshops led by Biant Singh with over 20 djembas making palms throb creating infectious rhythms and live graffiti art created on site by Paul Humphries.
Pianist Kieran White threw down the gauntlet to challenge him… “you want it, I’ll play it”.
He was tested but delved deep into his repertoire to deliver on all requests as diverse as songs from West Side Story and the Sound of Music to Chopin, Beethoven and even Lionel Richie.
The event was hosted by Big Ian Donaghy who involved everyone in the audience by getting everyone to grab a dance partner be they on foot or in wheelchairs. This wasn’t a day to be a spectator.
Ian led a conga of The Jungle Book’s king of the swingers that saw everyone join in no matter what the need.
“Today nobody can see dementia or learning disabilities, all we can see is joy and togetherness,” said organiser Kate Poole.
Michelle Parker, 55, who lives in Catherine Tam House was so enthused she drove her motorised chair to the stage to join Big Ian and the band to sing the Human League’s 80s classic ‘Don’t You Want Me?’
Later, Jean Mortimer of Lander House was spotted singing every word from the dressy up tent by Big Ian, so he stopped the band, walked over to her and pushed her wheelchair to the front of the stage where she made her live soul singing debut at 79 to perform Bill Withers ‘Lean on Me’ to the delight of the crowd.
Landermeads owner, Rob Heath, said: “Everyone was blown away. We wanted everyone to be involved and enjoy the day but never envisaged our family members would be centre stage.
“Jean’s singing was so beautiful a few of us may have got some dust in our eyes.”
If anyone expected a sedate afternoon of Vera Lynn and Glenn Miller they will have been shocked as all generations zoomed around hay bales in the car park to the Kaiserchiefs ‘I predict a Riot’ and the Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’.
“All Together Now sums up the whole family ethos of Landermeads,” said Dear Dementia author and host Big Ian Donaghy.
“Landermeads has special people working here and special people living here. It is a unique community where there is no them and us there is only us.”
Ros Heath added: We wanted to give everybody something special but to see all of our team, children, grandparents and family members together dancing arm in arm made my heart sing.”
By Ros Heath