Chilling Out at Northam Street Festival

Published on 22 Aug 2023


photo of the sun setting over the Northam festival

The APM Communities team in Northam took part in the Northam Bilya (river) Festival on Friday 11 August 2023.

This annual event included a street parade through the main street of Northam’s Fitzgerald Street, with a sea of colour, music, street performers and floats.  

The Bilya Festival is traditionally celebrated on the eve of the Avon Descent – a two-day 124km adventure river challenge from Northam to Bayswater.

In 2023, the Avon Descent celebrates its 50th anniversary.

This is the second year that APM Communities have taken part in this street festival, which was a winter wonderland on the Village Green - with a "snow-pit" and ice sculpture, amusement rides and street food, which attracted thousands of people to the mid-west town streets.  

The Chill Out Zone allows people living with a disability, sensory processing sensitivities and autism, plus their families and carers a chance to engage with staff members from APM Communities.  

The space also offered a dedicated low sensory area to allow people who may be overwhelmed by the lights and sounds a chill-out zone to refresh and explore quiet activities or time out alone. 

Photo of the Chill out zone at Northam Festival

"2023 was huge for the festival with the 50-year celebration of the Avon Descent, and it was so exciting to be part of an event that went right past our offices on Fitzgerald Street" Mykala Nelson, team leader from APM Communities said.

"The APM Communities Chill Out Zone was an outstanding success as was the festival. We had more than 30 people of all ages utilising the space and we had so much positive feedback and families were relieved to have a space to come to." 

"An event like this can be very overwhelming with all the noise and so much activity, so the Shire was very thankful to have APM provide the dedicated space" a representative from the Shire of Northam said.

"To give anyone struggling with the all the action somewhere they could feel safe and decompress is so important and it allows everyone to be able to enjoy the different aspects of the festival, in their own way."


APM Communities delivers NDIS Partners in the Community services in parts of Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.