Reading festival: Accessible info and reviewed through my rolling eyes…

What sort of idiot flies from Vancouver on a Monday, arrives back in Chorley on Tuesday, attempts to “pack” on Wednesday but finds themselves falling asleep and not moving all day. Wakes up on Thursday, still feels like a zombie, says to their Mum, “I can’t go today…i’ll die…”, the “Way i tend to be” comes on the radio, “American idiot” plays on Kerrang! and within 3 hours is bombing it 230 miles down the M6 to Reading…?
The sort of idiot who’s looking like this on Friday:

Rocking out to Frank with Nic and kathleen…awesome
fans from Australia! (Hardcore dude didn’t want me to
miss out on any of the set and gave me  a piggy back the
full 45 minutes!

Here’s my review of Reading festival from my usual rolling perspective…as well as a few others thrown in!


Sarah celebrating self

Don’t turn up at 9:35pm with a “white parking” permit. For some reason, i wasn’t given a “Disabled parking” permit and found myself 4 miles away on the completely wrong end of Reading. We made it back, got wristbanded up and found the parking was brilliant. Just like T in the park, right next to the campsite so there wasn’t too much of a roll to our pitch site. Being stubborn, tired and independent young females, we were pretty triumphant in carrying all our kit from the car to the site in one run…

independent living! 

Disabled campsite

It’s pretty huge! Arriving pretty late, in the dark meant that i didn’t really get to have a snoop and meet the campsite stewards straight away, but we made friends with our near by campers who helped us out! (We’d had enough of independent living for one day!) I’d heard that there’d been a crazy amount of applicants who had applied for Disabled tickets.There must have been between 50-100 disabled campers…maybe more! Watch out for guy ropes, they can be deadly for you, your chair and the poor people who’s tent you might accidentally pull down! The info tent appeared to be manned 24 hours with enough extension sockets to power a small village (and everyones’s phones!) as well as powered wheelchairs/motorised scooters! Fires were also allowed, which is pretty cool and a few people made use of this novelty. Jet lagged Miss May can only be bothered to be as outdoorsey as her stamina will let her…so we decided to pop into Reading itself, every morning (early afternoon!)and indulge in a healthy, balanced pub breakfast. As a whole, just like at any other festival, the campsite was chilled, less noisy and everyone was open to making friends, chatting and having fun. Great atmosphere and the stewards were awesome to chat to! 

Tent town! 

General campsite facilities    

  • Porta-loo accessible toilets: The usual, it’s a festival, no flush. Get on with it! Just because you’ve got a disability doesn’t mean you don’t have to experience what everyone else does! I survived!
  • Porta-loo showers: Confession!!…I didn’t use them. They looked totally fine, but the weather had began to turn slightly autumnal, i have long, thick hair that takes about 4-6 hours to dry and i didn’t want to be shivering and getting ill. Other people seemed to be pretty satisfied with them!
  • Water! Outdoor 
  •  sinks were available, which were pretty darn handy!

Getting around

Reading’s pretty flat compared to Vancouver and Chorley so i found it totally fine! Again, i was extremely lucky with the dry weather! (Good choice, not to go to Leeds!) I discovered my freewheel had a loose screw and wouldn’t attach to my chair by the second day, so i just gave myself a good workout navigating myself around. A few people did tell me that compared to Download, the access around the arena is terrible, as there’s apparently a lot of track put down to make navigating on muddy grass a lot easier.

We won’t talk about/mention
how i got here..;)

I’m not sure if this is a reflection on my character, or attitude…but if someone in a wheelchair wanted to buy a beer from the bar, they’d have to roll on to this tiny piece of metal, then once they have their beer in hand…roll off again. It’s pretty impossible to not do this without spilling your drink. So you have to ask someone else to pass you your drink, 9 times out of 10 they ordered for me and paid…so i can’t really complain, can i? 

I also spent 2 nights alone as my buddy, Sarah had to go to work. I was totally fine! This either proves i’m hardcore, or that Reading is a pretty damn accessible festival!

Stages and Platforms

radio 1/nma stage platform entrance
Yes, I sulked at Green Day! I was told the viewing platform was full, so i headed to the front where some woman was “guarding” her 12 year old at the barrier. I nearly burst into tears and said “when i was 12, i wasn’t being “guarded” at Green Day Concerts, i was lying in bed listening to them!” She just gave me a guilty, apologetic look as the security carried me over the barrier and told me to go to the disabled viewing platform…I told them it was full, as i had tried to get on it before…they then asked, some how made room and I watched Green Day from there. Can all venues/festivals please, please, pleeeeeaaaaseee employ a rule that you are only allowed onto the disabled viewing platform if you are after having a good time and are not going to sit, miserable in silence? Green Day were fantastic and amazing and played literally all of my favourite songs. But I didn’t “feel” it. Live music is about more than just having a “good view”, it’s about being part of something bigger than selfish desires to see or be near people you admire that play instruments and sing songs. Green Day are my all time, favourite heroes. I’ve seen them twice live this summer and both times they have been incredible but i’ve not been able to “feel” it due to being at the back or up high on platforms that i’m sharing with people who are just sat listening. One day i will get to a venue that won’t have security turfing me out of the mosh pit and i’ll be able to really feel it! One day…
If you’re 12, wait your turn to go to Green Day concerts and festivals…i did!!

Other than that though…I made fair use of the platforms from time to time. I managed to get to the front of the festival republic stage to see Kate Nash and have the most random conversation with her! I rocked out to Frank in my usual way and sat at the back with disgust, watching eminem rhyme (So glad i’ve never wasted any money in investing in his music). I rocked out in the crowd a little to Biffy…:)A lot of people said the viewing platforms were too small and need to be made bigger. I can vouch for that!
Additional stuff!
Attitude is Everything  are a great organisation that i discovered that weekend! Their aim is to improve disabled and deaf people’s access to live music! If you’re anything like me and love attending live gigs then take a look at these guys and see how you can get involved!

The arena wasn’t very good at selling gluten free stuff…T in the park was awesome for that sort of stuff! (SO ha! South of England stereotyping the scottish…you are 12 times more unhealthy that the scottish!)
ATM’s were sort of accessible! I could actually reach them to type my pin in, but couldn’t really see the screen…

Great fun! Great festival! Great way to finish off my summer…watch out for a “top tips for disabled festival goers” with a few more hints, tips and experiences from other people with disabilities!


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