This year’s Sign Circle camping festival will be held in Longridge, Lancashire from Friday 26th to Monday 29th July 2013. Here, organiser Heidi Koivisto tells us what to expect…
What is Sign Circle?
Sign Circle is the UK’s biggest BSL outdoor event! It is a camping festival for BSL people. It was first set up in 2007 by a bunch of enthusiastic deaf festival goers who experienced that most mainstream festivals are not accessible to deaf people, especially BSL users.
They wondered what it would it be like to go to a festival where you can attend all the activities and fun – all in beautiful BSL! Talk became action and Sign Circle was born. It has grown bigger and bigger year by year. We expect up to 800 campers this summer!
What can people expect at this year’s event?
We have lots of activities, workshops and performances lined up for this year’s festival!
We have miniature ponies that you can pamper and ride, a reptile show, bouncy castles and slides including ‘The Everest’ which is Europe’s biggest inflatable slide and ‘It’s a Knockout!’ obstacle course, climbing tower, mud wrestling, Arts & Crafts, a science show by Dr Brainy & Dr Brawny, historic village by Ye Olde Deafe Kents, Sign Circle Challenge where teams compete against each other, and workshops on drama, magic, BSL, VV, circus skills and drumming.
There will also be special guests such as solo round-the-world sailor Gerry Hughes with his wife Kay, and Ashley Kendall from CBeebies Magic Hands! Evening entertainment will be provided by the nation’s favourite British deaf comedy stars such as Johnny Fantastica, Adam Bassett and John Smith, with Reg Cobb as MC. Can you see why we are excited? Yoo hoo!
What is it like to organise it?
It’s fun! We do a lot of research to find the best performers, workshops, activities and caterers. Over the years we have built great relationships with some of our regular suppliers which means we will always have the best marquees, showers and toilets.
We also work with a huge pool of fantastic volunteers who give up their time to make sure that our campers will have a great festival experience throughout the weekend. We meet many talented people and often keep in touch with them after the festival. We enjoy networking and referring great people to other great people!
The best thing is when something really good comes out of Sign Circle. Many love stories started at the festival, including mine and my partner’s. We met at Sign Circle 2010 and now, three years later, we are getting married!
What are you most excited about?
To me, the most exciting part of the festival programme is Gerry Hughes – I can’t wait to hear all about his amazing journey around the world! There will be lots of other exciting things to do and see. All this in a BSL environment!
There are roughly 20 tickets left at the time of writing and they are going really fast!
Book your tickets or read more about this amazing festival here: www.signcircle.org.uk.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to turn on captions on your smartphone
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children