Stimpunks Foundation and Vancerts hosted a Metal Health Fest at JNL Barbecue in Austin, TX on January 29th from 4:00 – 9:00PM. The theme of the event was bolstering mental health through the bodily survival knowledge of group stim dancing.
The event was a joyful face melting. Photos are here.
Here’s the lineup.
About Metal Health Fest
What is Stimpunks? Stimpunks is created by and for neurodivergent and disabled people. We provide mutual aid, learning opportunities, human-centered research, and living wages for our community. We presume competence, and we believe in self-determination.
What is the 2023 Metal Health Fest? Metal Health Fest started with what we in neurodiversity communities call a special interest, or SpIn. A young Stimpunk with a Heavy Metal SpIn asked if we could help host a metal event. We thought it was a great idea and also asked other disabled and neurodivergent young people to help. Thus 2023 Metal Health Fest was born.
Mosh pit dancing is an exultant way to group stim and pass along the bodily survival knowledge of stim dancing and deep pressure input.
Stim dancing “is in itself a ballistic activity with its own built-in reward system that can then bolster the brain against traumatic stress.”
…flamenco is in itself a ballistic activity with its own built-in reward system that can then bolster the brain against traumatic stress.
…not only can traumatic knowledge be passed down, so can bodily survival knowledge-knowledge about how to survive the debilitating effects and symptoms of PTSD.
If your “threat to life” responses are being re-associated on a regular basis with flamenco responses, slowly, like polishing stone, flamenco has the potential to be an asset for people who are working through PTSD.Because We Have To: Flamenco as Survival Strategy against Detrimental Effects of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Let’s bolster against stress and pass down bodily survival knowledge.
- Let’s get unapologetically, autistically, kinetically wild.
- Let’s get vestibular, safely, with some mosh etiquette.
- Let’s bliss.
- Stimming is beautiful.
- Pit Energy
- Making Spaces Safer: You can’t just open the door; you have to put out a welcome mat.
- Don’t Be TRAAAAASH
- Appropriate Space: Volunteer-Run Community Space
Time: 4:00PM – 9:00PM
Date: Sunday January 29th, 2023
Location: JNL Barbecue at 2027 E. Cesar Chavez St.
At our events, we use interaction badges.
Interaction badges were first developed in Autistic spaces and conferences. They help people tell everyone who can see their badge about their communication preferences.
The card that is currently visible is the active card. The other two are hidden behind the first one, accessible to the person if they should need them.
The default is green if no card is displayed.
If you see someone wearing a yellow or red card, please respect their wishes. If you are wearing a red or yellow card and someone is harassing you by not respecting your preference, find the nearest staff member.
Come Talk To Me
A person wearing a green badge is actively seeking interaction. They may have trouble initiating conversations, but it’s okay to come up and start a conversation with them.
A white circle on a green background with the word “GREEN” beneath.
Do I Know You?
A person wearing a yellow badge only wants to talk to people they recognize. Unless you’ve met this person face-to-face before, please don’t start a conversation with them. If they start talking to you, you’re welcome to talk back with them.
A white triangle on a yellow background with the word “YELLOW” beneath.
Not Right Now
A person wearing a red badge does not want anyone to talk to them. They may approach others to talk, in which case it’s okay to respond. Unless you have been told otherwise, please don’t start interacting with them.
A white square on a red background with the word “RED” beneath.
For background on the history and use of interaction badges, visit this piece.
Food and Drink
Food and drink provided by JNL Barbecue.
There will also be snacks at our care station.
Goals and Expectations
Goals for the event:
- Stimpunks Foundation and Vancerts will assist and bring to fruition the vision of these young people into a concert.
- During the event, there will be opportunities for the Stimpunks team to educate the audience about Stimpunks.
- Given the principles of our foundation, our goal is that at least half the audience be disabled or neurodivergent.
- Although this is not a traditional fundraiser, we would like to have several donation fundraising opportunities be open/available during the event. The exact activities/donations can be discussed and agreed to closer to the event.
- We would like this event to drive extra traffic to our website, social media channels, and newsletter.
- We would like to connect with potential volunteers.
- We would like to bring out and connect with neurodivergent and disabled people.
- We would like to roll out the welcome mat and make safer and more accessible spaces.
- This is a learning opportunity for the Stimpunks community and the young people working on this event. Therefore we would like all vendors to be available to help and advise them during this process.
- We would like to iterate our Events Field Guide and checklists in collaboration with everyone involved.
- Future mentorship opportunities that arise from these introductions are important positive outcomes from this event.
Concert and venue needs and expectations:
- The venue should have place for handicapped parking, doors wide enough for wheelchairs, no stairs in the public spaces, and bathrooms that can accommodate people who use mobility devices or need an assistant. We will survey the venue using our access survey.
- At Stimpunks, we believe in the concept of “caves, campfires, and watering holes.” Ensure there is quiet space and outdoor space that people can access at any time. The Stimpunks Foundation will work with Vancerts and the venue to facilitate these areas in the venue space.
- The information captured in this brief regarding Stimpunks, event background and expectations shall be provided to the venue, all performers, and support people. We are hoping it will help us all collaborate and create a unique event that focuses on the mission of Stimpunks and the essence of the 2023 Metal Health Fest.
Our covenants apply at our events.
Run of Show
|2:00PM||Stage Production Build Out/Check|
|3:00PM||Artist Load in|
|3:15-3:45PM||Sound Check Window|
|4:30PM||Bodymind Affirmation, Stimpunks Intro, Interaction Badges|
|5:45-6:00PM||Four Pillars of Stimpunks|
|8:30PM||Closing Mission Reminder|
Access is Punk AF
- There are 3 total doorways to access the inside of the store. On the left side (if you are facing the front of the building), there are two double doors that in total are 70” wide. There is no button for it to automatically open, but the doors weren’t heavy. There are no steps or bumps in front of this door.
- Then there is a single door in the front of the store that is 35” wide, but there are two 8” steps that you must go up to access this doorway. There is also a front porch area with chairs and tables, but you have to either go up the stairs or through the store to access this. (Could we use a foldable ramp here?)
- The last door is on the right side of the building, but it is broken and doesn’t open fully, and would also be in the way during the show, so we will keep that door locked for safety reasons.
- Both bathroom doorways are 35”
There are 6 parking spots in the lot attached to the store. 1 of them is handicap. The bands will be able to park/load in behind that store. There is a ton of street parking all around the venue, so that or rideshare will be people’s easiest options. We drove into the neighborhood a bit, and there were no signs indicating you can’t park there.
- There are two bathrooms total. One is gender neutral and has a toilet and urinal. This is also the handicap accessible bathroom.
- The other bathroom is labeled as “Womens” and has two separate stalls in it, but one of them (The handicap stall) is out of order.
Caves, Campfires, and Watering Holes: Access to Quiet Space and Outdoor Space
- For a sensory escape room, we can use the inside of the store. There is an area near the front, but out of the crowded areas that has tables and chairs. This would be a good space to go to escape sensory overload. There is also a porch in the front with tables and chairs if someone prefers to be outside. Lastly, there are 4-5 picnic tables in the parking lot were the 2 other food trucks are. This can also be a good space to go if someone needs a break.
- The event itself is outside. If inside the store, it takes one door to get to the outside. The side door by the parking lot, or the front door.
- There is covered outdoor space in the front porch area, and the area were the show will be has partial covering.
- There isn’t immediate access to greenspace. You can walk more towards the neighborhood to access greenspace if needed. The store is on a corner, and the neighborhood is right next to it.
- Yes, there will be areas that we can utilize as caves, campfires, and watering holes. We will have our own snack and water area set up, but there is an entire convenient store inside if people would like more options. Caves can be the indoor tables and chairs area, and campfires could be the front porch. We can also adjust this as needed.
- There is room to stim and pace on the left side of the store (outdoors) and also in the front on the sidewalk area (its super wide). You can also Stim and pace inside the store in the aisles or where there is room, but I also don’t want to be in the way of customers, so outside may be better.
Masks are not required, though we really should be masking. We are in a mass death and disabling event.
Regardless, please respect those who do mask. Masking is punk AF. Care is punk AF.
For further details on venue access including photos, visit the venue access page.
Thanks and Props
These folks made this possible.
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