Inclusion Festival and our year-round inclusion programs are initiatives of Accessible Festivals, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making music and recreation accessible to all people.
Inclusion Festival was co-founded in 2017 by Amy Pinder and Leah Barron. After meeting one another at a music festival and sharing the same passion and vision of inclusion, they realized that their combined experiences in special education, speech-language therapy, yoga, and circus arts offered a unique perspective to can share with others.
Accessible Festivals was co-founded in 2014 by Austin Whitney and Oren Shani. Six months after Austin became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a serious car accident, he attended a music festival that left him smiling for the first time since his injury.
Our inclusion programs celebrate the value of all abilities through music, art, nature, movement, and more— with a goal of shifting culture at other community events and spaces so inclusiveness and accessibility become the norm.
Amy Pinder, MA, CCC-SLP is a co-founder of Inclusion Festival and the Executive Director of Accessible Festivals. She is a yogi, hula hooper, arts enthusiast, and speech-language therapist with over fifteen years of experience working with individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental differences. As a therapist, Amy incorporates joyful, regulatory, and play-based movement such as yoga, juggling, and hula hooping. These activities encourage clients to engage, explore, increase capacities, and effectively communicate through meaningful, experienced-based activities that promote mindfulness, encourage creativity, and improve overall wellbeing. She is also the Founder and Owner of Circles of Communication, a private practice that offers integrative speech-language therapy and alternative education programs in Central New Jersey.
Leah Barron, MAT, RYT 200 is a co-founder of Inclusion Festival and Associate Director of Accessible Festivals. She is a mother, music lover, special education teacher, and registered yoga teacher who has experience working in a variety of settings including schools, private studios, and home-based instruction. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga with individuals of all ages and abilities. She is creative, intuitive and able to easily connect with others by recognizing their individual talents, tuning into their passions and interests, and guiding them to increase their capacities using a warm, accessible person-centered approach. Previously, Leah co-founded My Best Fest, an online music festival guide, which led her to on-site festival consulting and program coordinating.
Max Papperman is the Director of Operations for Inclusion Festival. He is also an environmental consultant, soccer player, and music enthusiast. Previously, he was a special education teacher. Max excels at communicating with a variety of individuals and bringing them together to work towards a common goal. He is responsible for overseeing Inclusion Festival’s year-round initiatives, advising on budgets and financial plans, and managing staff and volunteers.
Oren is an entrepreneur on a mission to make live music and other recreational events accessible to people of all abilities through exceptional guest services programs. He currently manages ADA programs and staff trainings for over 90 events nationwide each year, ensuring events are ADA compliant while innovating new technologies to make the experience for disabled patrons truly unforgettable.
Combining his legal education from UC Berkeley School of Law and his own personal experience with disability, Austin assists some of the nation’s largest event promoters to ensure they are fully accessible to individuals of all abilities. He is committed to enabling all people to have an amazing, life-changing experience, regardless of the situation.
Sam was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 14. Rather than blame Aspergers for any difficulties that he has encountered, Sam made it his mission to use what he has learned to help others on the spectrum. Since graduating in 2012 with a degree in Psychology, Sam has worked with people on the Autism Spectrum in both a school setting as well as a crisis center. Currently, he is working on a book that is about autism, self-love, and romantic relationships.
With over a decade of experience and success in the music industry, Adam now fuses his passions for both music and wellness. He is currently the Production and Programming Manager for The Assemblage, NYC’s premier wellness and spirituality hub, and provides guidance and support to Inclusion Festival throughout the year. A musician himself, Adam believes in building a platform for other artists to support their cause and create community to effect positive change.