The Let Me Shine music festival made a magnificent return to Prior’s Court on Bank Holiday Monday after two years of Covid-related cancellations.

The annual festival held on-site at Prior’s Court was enjoyed by young people and their families, as well as staff members and their families.

The day was opened by a procession from the Reading Scottish Pipe Band, followed by performances on-stage from Watership Brass Band, Prior’s Court Band (made up of young people and staff members), Adomania, Los Tempos and Limpopo Groove.

Prior's Court Band, featuring young people Toby, Felix, Kayleigh, James, Shaun, Jamie, Brandon, Ricardo and Ben and staff members Tomson Chauke, Tim Gilks, Ben Fieldhouse and Steph Wilson performing, had the crowd near in tears with their rendition of our 'anthem for autism' Let Me Shine.

A bouncy castle and giant inflatable slide were also on offer, with performers from Fandangoes, who support with the organisation of this event, roaming the festival site.

Elsewhere at the event, there were relaxing therapy activities put on our team of on-site therapists, while our Healthy You programme had a tent featuring chair massage, a smoothie bike, yoga, hand massage and clay-making for young people, staff and guests.

Items made by young people on our vocational learning programmes were on-sale, alongside a tombola.

A round-up of the event can be seen below:

There was also one major achievement for young adult Rowan who took to the stage to sing on his own. Rowan went onstage with Senior Autism Practitioner Sarah Kinsella but then she stepped away to give Rowan centre stage.

Rowan loves to sing but finds unusual situations anxiety-inducing, so this was a great achievement for him. Watch the video below:

Rowan's mum Sharon said about the achievement: "We were absolutely blown away by Rowan's performance and immensely proud to see him find the confidence to branch off from Sarah, come out of his comfort zone and really own the stage, he was amazing and in front of so many! an incredible achievement! Well done Rowan!"

Sarah added: "Seeing Rowan up there singing on his own with Tomson playing the drums made me feel very proud of the hard work that not just myself has done with Rowan but the whole team in Dove Cottage.

"Rowan can be very nervous/ anxious in situation he is unsure, so for him to singing without out myself being next to him is amazing.

"The last two years has been very hard for us all and Rowan so seeing him so happy up there and seeing people smile was amazing! 

"Rowan also seemed to enjoy the whole day - he was calling it 'the fair'!

"Music has a massive part to play in Rowan's and his family's life so him being able to enjoy the festival with his family was lovely."