Eileen’s Festival Tips
Eileen Hutchinson is an active NRAS member with a love of music! With the help of a charity called Attitude is Everything, Eileen has been able to live her festival dream.
Ok, so I'm 53, ok, so I'm fat, ok, so I'm disabled, but I have been going to music festivals since I was a teenager! So if you think, a) I am past it or b) I won't manage it, well I have just had one of the best summers ever at Glastonbury and Leeds/Reading festival.
Preparation is the key, of course. First, get tickets! Some venues do have a disabled hotline where you can apply away from the main ticket sale. But most sites are equal. If you get your tickets then you can apply for camping/caravanning on the disabled site.
This is where the wonderful "Attitude is Everything"www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk charity comes into its own. It has mystery shoppers and volunteers to check out music events and “Attitude is Everything” gives them advice on their facilities for disabled people with mobility, hearing or seeing problems. They are a great bunch of people. Tip: If you have any problems at all or need help in any way the Attitude volunteers are friendly, and as they are also disabled in some way, they have a good idea of any problems you may encounter.
Tip: For Glastonbury, get the “Green Coach"; saving fuel in the Glastonbury spirit, and a lot easier than driving. We chatted and talked about musicians and our previous Glastonbury festivals all the way there but I must admit we slept a lot on the way back! When we got to the amazingly huge site the sign-in tent for the festival was right beside the coach park and there was also a disabled car park. Tip: I was allowed a personal assistant too, who got a free place on their marvelous 2 for 1 scheme!
Then we got on the bus to the disabled site on the lovely festi bus. Tip; the drivers love sweets, and put your gear on the bus for you! We got to our site – wow the volunteers put our tent up for us!! How easy is that! There are disabled toilets, wheelchair friendly showers, a tent with a little cooker, kettle and electric air bed pump, and it’s a great place to meet and ‘chillax’! We spent many an early hour around the campsite with my little hot water bottle, a couple of drinks and amazing company!
There were also mobility scooters to hire for the weekend or day on the site and we had access to the disabled platforms. These are a wonderful idea as you can sit with your PA above the crowd and see the stage. We do have a party on the platforms and you get to know everyone so well over the weekend on the site and on the platforms. You can also use shortcuts through the stages.
Will we go back again? I hope so, but we didn't get tickets for 2014. Oh well, I will always have memories of a wonderful time in 2013.
By Eileen Hutchinson, NRAS member