Glastonbury: 10 top tips! (part one)

Muddy man at Glastonbury 2016

It’s nearly Glastonbury 2017 Ticket Day already – can you believe it! I hope you’ve found my blogs on the festival’s accessible side useful and/or enjoyable to read. I thought I’d sum up by offering you my 10 top tips for attending with a disability. Here’s part one:

Use shortcuts

If the weather’s bad or there’s somewhere specific you want to go, the shortcuts (or cut-throughs) at Glastonbury are great. When you arrive, you’ll get a map highlighting where they are. Once you orientate yourself, it’s often possible to carry on along the paths to turnoffs nearer your campsite. Just ask the stewards the best way to go.

Only the disabled person and PA can use them. Don’t try to take your whole festival crew with you!

As I think I mentioned before, you also get to go to the odd hospitality and backstage bar. But there’s really no need to make a beeline for those places, the main festival is much more fun!

Be polite

Goes without saying, of course! Glastonbury Festival is a much more fun place in general if we’re all nice to each other. You’ll be in contact with a lot more volunteers and stewards and you’ll also be see a lot of familiar faces. Some of whom may be coming towards the end of a long shift.

Saying a simple hello and asking how they are may well make their day and, in turn, make them more likely to help you out with extra tips and information.

My wife and I at Glastonbury 2016

My wife, Alison, and me at Glastonbury, before the mud set in!

Be courteous when using Glastonbury’s disabled facilities

Again, this should go without saying. People using the facilities will have a range of different, complex needs. The volunteers do a great job at organising everyone.

They ensure decent-sized gaps between tents and people with scooters are close to electricity points; all while trying to meet the individual needs of everyone else. So if someone else looks like they need to use something more than you do, ask them if they’d like to go first.

And PAs, should make sure they check the signs on the loos and showers, as some of these facilities are for disabled people only. Some may not notice this at first, but it’ll really help the queues in the morning!

Also, it’s of course easy to engross yourself in a band while they’re on stage (or even the prospect of their set). But, if you’re on the platforms, have a little cursory check occasionally to make sure you’re not blocking anyone’s view. There’s nothing worse than a huge group of people setting up right in front of you, or worse, an over-excited PA moving to the front once a band starts!

Use platforms, but don’t necessarily get stuck on them!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the platforms can be a great place to base yourself, especially if it’s raining or if you’re unable to stand for too long. But by making a beeline for the nearest one as soon as you get to a stage, or even your campsite, you risk missing out on some of the random beauty of the festival.

In 2013, we pitched ourselves on the viewing platform for the Rolling Stones, but it was rammed and, unfortunately there were a few “inconsiderate” people around! I couldn’t see much, so I asked my wife if she wanted to move to the back of the field.

About halfway through the set I soon discovered that’s where the magic happens, anyway! We had a great time, chatted to loads of people and everyone was careful when they passed by me.

We’ve barely used the platforms since and, if you’re able and the weather allows it, I’d recommend doing the same!

Take your time and pick your battles

…That said, if the weather is bad, a viewing platform might be the best place for you. Alternatively, somewhere undercover can work, like The Glade, which is where we went on Saturday this year.

Once you’ve decided where to go, just take your time getting there. Glastonbury isn’t a place to rush around, wheelchair or not! Check out part two here.

Inspirational tips

Choose your sector

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