Festival FeverBy Stephanie White -
Glastonbury came to a very soggy yet spectacular end on Sunday evening marking the beginning of the festival season. With that, it’s time to look ahead to 2016’s line-up of festivals across the UK.
The iconic images of hordes of festival goers descending on Worthy Farm for the jewel in the festival crown flooded our news feeds.
Watching revellers braving the notoriously unpredictable British weather, as they trudged through the relentless mud and navigated the waterlogged site to Glastonbury, reinforced the importance of accessibility.
To ensure that, come rain or shine, each and every one of us can enjoy the splendour of the British Festival; this article highlights the provisions in place at many of the UK’s largest festivals.
Whether, arts, music or culture be your cup of tea, there is something for everyone. Comprehensive lists of all this season’s festivals can be found online but with the range of events on offer for young, old, the night owls, the culture vultures and everyone in between, you will be spoilt for choice.
The majority of British festivals offer viewing platforms for wheelchair users. Also, Reading and Leeds Festivals, V Festival and Bestival, amongst others, provide separate campsites which are fully accessible for disabled people. There, you will find accessible toilets, changing and shower facilities alongside fridges to store medicines.
Additionally, the larger festivals offer a free ticket to a disabled person’s carer or PA which reduces costs quite considerably.
What’s also great is that more and more sites offer charging points for electric wheelchair and scooter users. The UK festival circuit prides itself upon offering services such as wheelchair hire, access maps, interpreting services, Blue Badge parking and induction loops at many stages.
Ground conditions are something to bear in mind. Stone tracks and metal walkways allow for increased accessibility across the sites. Although terrain can be difficult to manoeuver whilst enduring all that the Great British weather can throw at us, festival organisers offer specific information in advance and suggest any punters get in touch before their arrival with any concerns they may have.
The establishment of various campaigns, most notably, Attitude is Everything, Stay Up Late and DeafRave has transformed the accessibility of festivals up and down the country. Attitude is Everything works in partnership with the music industry to improve deaf and disabled peoples’ access to live music. Their amazing work contributed to an incredible 70% increase in disabled access ticket sales at concerts and festivals across 106 venues in the UK between 2013 and 2014, and the numbers continue to rise.
By offering bespoke services and providing support to event organisers, they encourage that disabled people be as independent as they wish at festivals and so many organisations are already on board with the campaign.
As proven at Glastonbury, in true British fashion, the rain fails to dampen our spirits. With this guide, a pair of wellies, and perhaps even a pair of sunglasses (for the optimists amongst us), you are guaranteed a good time at one of the great festivals on our doorsteps.
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