AUTISTIC young people from a local college got into the spirit of festival season by staging their own musical celebration.

Aalps College, in Hanley Castle, hosted the first ever Aalpstock Festival in an attempt to encourage students to express themselves musically.

Among the acts appearing were house-band The Aalpines, a newly-formed covers group made up entirely of staff from the college.

Band member and festival organiser Lorna Davies was delighted with the reaction from students.

“I loved the way that some of the young people responded to the music in such a natural way, dancing or even coming up on stage to sing with the band,” she said. “The idea behind Aalpstock was to give the young people at Aalps an opportunity to experience different kinds of live music in a safe and supportive environment, where they are free to react to the music however they want.”

Other acts that appeared included African-rythm group Drumlove, Worcester-based pop rock band The Harpers and classical-guitarist Ray Mytton.

“Everything worked out so well that we would love to organise more events and give the young people even more opportunities to get involved in whatever way they want,” added Miss Davies.

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