For nearly 20 years, people experiencing disabilities, as well as their carers, family members and friends have been gathering at The Gov, an iconic pub in Adelaide, for Club Cool. It’s a free, monthly event featuring live bands, dancing and jamming.
“It gets people out of their homes, mixing with the community and doing something they wouldn’t normally do,” says Andrew Kyprianou, a member of the voluntary team that runs Club Cool and former president of Disabled Peoples’ International Australia. “The audience averages around 200 and the dance floor is packed, every time.”
Usually, two bands, provided by Weekend Warriors Music Club (SA), play a set each. “There’s a range of acts, mostly playing ’60s-’80s rock, as well as a bit of country now and then, and sometimes, originals … If they can, they invite audience members to get involved – sometimes there’s as many as eight or ten people, up on stage, playing tambourines and other instruments,” says Mr Kyprianou.
The event is open to anyone, with participants’ ages ranging from 16 to 60. “We also see a huge range of disabilities – from people who are sight impaired and people with brain injuries to those experiencing Aspergers and mental health issues,” says Mr Kyprianou.
On top of the music, there are lucky door prizes and the team is currently seeking funding to add a social media element. The hope is to project two messaging platforms onto big screens, which would enable audience members to communicate with one another in real time.
Club Cool is a non-profit initiative. The acts play for free and The Gov provides its band room, including a PA and sound engineer, at no cost. The event takes place on the third Sunday of every month, from 11am till 3pm.