The access facilities at Glastonbury

Before the mud set in at Glastonbury

Here’s the third installment of my Glastonbury blog. Apologies (again) for taking so long to write this; I’m currently on a working holiday in Thailand (more on that soon!)

We met some wonderful people we met at the festival who helped us in a few (literally!) sticky situations while we were out and about, who I walk about in the previous blog. This time, I’ll be focusing on the more “official” help the festival provides, and how we use it; as well as big up all the festival workers who made our visit to the farm that little bit easier!

To register for the facilities in the first place, you need to get an access pack via the Glastonbury Festival website and request the facilities you need, including use of the disabled campsite, a free personal assistant (if you definitely wouldn’t be able to get around the site on your own) to use of the viewing platforms, or all of the above.

The festival reviews applications on a case-by-case basis, not first come, first served. The the disability team there are, in my experience, quick and friendly when answering any questions I had.

Mud, mud, mud!

As everyone who went knew (and those watching the coverage of this year’s festival, no doubt!), the conditions were dismal on arrival this year. This made set-up pretty miserable.

Because I’m quite severely limited in terms of mobility, the festival kindly provides me with a drive-on pass, so my wife can take all our equipment to the site in the car instead of carrying it – something she tells me is an absolute godsend!

We only went to the entrance of the campsite and carried our gear the rest of the way this year. It was hard work, the awesome access volunteers made things much easier. They spent the whole day tirelessly hauling trollies full of equipment across the campsite for everyone.

Two volunteers even put up our tent while Alison took the car back to the car park. They had done so much already, so this was incredibly kind.

We bumped into them in Shangri La the following day and spent an hour or so sharing our rum to say thank you. Luckily their hard work the previous day didn’t dampen their spirits!

We used the cut-throughs a lot more this year, too, which are effectively quicker routes behind the stages to other parts of the festival. They’re usually roads as well, which are better for wheelchairs.

You can feel like you’re missing out on “bimbling around”, which is what can make the festival so unique. But often you get to know the stewards manning the gates and they’re always helpful. They’re happy to chat and always offer advice on the best routes to take.

It also meant we could use the backstage bar after LCD Soundsystem on Sunday night rather than trying to wade through the mud looking for somewhere to round off our festival.

Bussing around Glastonbury

Sunset at The Glade, Glastonbury

Sunset at The Glade, Glastonbury

One thing we hadn’t taken advantage of before until this year was the shuttle bus. They run throughout the day and night; from the disabled campsite to the Cabaret fields and the bottom of The Park, on the old railway track.

Saturday was so muddy and we knew we couldn’t feasibly wander around and see what took our fancy.

We both decided we most wanted to see Carl Cox in the Glade that day. So we got the bus to The Park and walked along the relatively mud-free track to the Glade.

We also had the advantage of being undercover in case the rain came again (which thankfully it didn’t!) We also enjoyed some music we’d never heard before the big man himself arrived.

This base was handy for when Alison popped back to the tent for evening supplies (read: booze!) or food.

We got the penultimate bus back from the same spot at 2am after a fantastic evening meeting new friends. But the campfire or bars nearer the campsite were there if we wanted to stay up, so this was plenty late enough.

This may not contain any particularly exciting stories. But, hopefully, it gives a flavour of the type of help you can expect as a disabled person at Glastonbury.

Everyone working or volunteering at the festival will help you in a heartbeat if you ask. Just use the facilities you’re given and learn as you go along; you’ll be golden!

Here’s my next blog, which kicks off my top 10 tips of attending Glastonbury with a disability.

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