Accessible Festivals: Reading 2014

Back in August our very own Disability Horizons co-founder, Martyn Sibley, went to check out the accessibility of Reading Festival. With the generous assistance of filmmaker Dan Higley and support from Gerald Simonds Healthcare, we commissioned a video for your viewing pleasure.

I love music. I always have. I remember singing lyrics to songs age 3. Music reminds me of past times, it’s part of my identity and it brings me close to other music lovers.

This year wasn’t my first music festival or my first time at Reading. However it was the first time I could really share the full festival experience and highlight how amazing these events are for everyone.

I hope you enjoy the video report we made for you:

As you can see, disabled people are provided with many facilities, services and support from amazing people. As a wheelchair user I benefited from the accessible toilets and raised viewing platforms. This meant I could see the bands, but still be a part of the electric atmosphere.

I was in awe of the ‘signers’ interpreting the lyrics from 12 of the main acts. A few times I caught myself watching them more than the bands.

Amongst my drinking and singing, I managed to get some additional bonus features for you. I grabbed interviews with Louise (the disability coordinator from Festival Republic), Jacob from Attitude is Everything, and Mohawk, a festival-goer.

Of course, there are still improvements Reading, and indeed other festivals need to implement. The bumpy/muddy ground is tricky and camping can be hard. Only by feeding back our ideas can these improvements be made.

So I’d recommend anyone to go to these types of events, enjoy them, show the world disabled people rock out too, and share your thoughts nicely to these open-minded organisers.

By Martyn Sibley

Check out…

• Download Festival: do accessibility and heavy metal mix?
Accessible festivals: bringing music to the masses
5 reasons why disabled people make awesome BFFs!

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