With summer approaching (soon we hope!) and the festival season now in full swing, there really is a festival for everyone depending on your music tastes. Whether you prefer the lure of the big iconic festivals such as Glastonbury, or smaller local music events, we’ve put together some information for disabled festival goers out there to help you get the most out of your festival experiences.
The general consensus is that there has been some significant steps forward from festivals to remove some of the barriers that disabled music lovers’ face. Much of this is down to organisations like Attitude is everything who campaign to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.
Their Access Starts Online campaign is there to enable venues and festivals to provide comprehensive and clear access information for potential Deaf and disabled customers. They also encourage and support venues and festivals to work towards a Charter of Best Practice aiming ultimately for the Gold award.
Whilst there can be the inevitable problems of outdoor terrain such as hilly and grass sites which can often be made worse by the typical British rain, many of the larger festivals such as Glastonbury (achieved their Gold award), Latitude and Parklife have made some really significant changes over the years. Some of the other festivals, particularly some of the smaller ones still have a way to go towards providing a more inclusive environment for everyone.
Improvements made at a number of larger festivals include: free Carer or Personal Assistant tickets (by application), accessible shuttle buses, disabled parking, accessible campsites, hearing loop systems, BSL support, accessible shower and toilet facilities, volunteer stewards, and wheelchair recharging and hire services. Please note that disabled facilities, particularly at the smaller festivals can be limited.
The key to making the best of your festival visit is in the preparation – do your research and plan it well! Festival websites should provide information for disabled people on the facilities that are available to them. Most facilities will need to be pre-booked. If you have a particular requirement, contact the Festival team directly.
We’ve updated our blog for 2017 and have picked a selection of music festivals in Scotland to highlight. You can search for a more comprehensive list of Music Festivals in Scotland or the UK Festival Calendar 2017.
Some of our larger festivals such as T-in the Park won’t go ahead this year, however this doesn’t take away from the fantastic mix of festivals running.
From the T in the Park organisers, (not replacing T in the Park), Glasgow Green.
Date: 7- 9 July
Lineup includes: Radiohead, Belle and Sebastian, Biffy Clyro, Kasabian
Day Tickets: From £65.00
Disabled Facilities: Blue Badge Parking. Accessible Viewing Platform. Unisex accessible toilets. PA/Carer Ticket. Power charging points. Welfare and Medical facilities. Drinks and food service to the accessible platform. Assistance dogs are permitted in all areas
If you require use of the disabled access facilities or wish to apply for a free PA/Carer ticket for the event you are attending, please contact Ticketmaster’s accessible phone-line on 0800 988 4440 and purchase from the following options:
Further information on disabled access and facilities.
Family orientated charity run festival promoting Kinship Day. Ethos is to bring all communities together by creating a festival atmosphere with top Artists. Rosyth.
Date: 15 July
Adult Day Ticket: £20
Line up: Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, S Club, A1, Owen Paul
People with disabilities who would like to attend with their carers please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Traditional Folk & Celtic music, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
Date: 19 – 22 July
Line up includes: The Waterboys, Imelda May, Lucy Spraggan, Dougie Maclean.
Disabled access: There are some paths, and trackway is used to give smoother access to the viewing area within the main stage. The site can be challenging to move around for wheelchairs or those with walking difficulties, especially in wet weather. Please take this into consideration when deciding on what equipment to bring with you. Assistants on hand at both viewing areas.
Facilities: Disabled toilets. Disabled parking. Platform viewing areas. Medical Services and Assistance. Warning that Flicker, laser, strobe and other lighting effects may be in use. Personal Assistant Ticket Scheme.
Further information on facilities and access for disabled people
Rewind Scotland – The 80’s Festival
Scone Palace, Perth
Date: July 21 -23 July
Lineup includes: Level 42, The Human League, Billy Ocean, Heather Small.
Adult Day Tickets: From £59.50
Disabled Access: It is accessible to visitors with mobility impairments as the site is mainly level access with a few slight inclines and short cut grass. There are some stone paths and metal trackways are used.
Facilities: Disabled Parking. Medical Facilities. Disabled Campsite Area. Viewing Platform. PA 2 for 1 Tickets.
Spaces on the viewing platform are limited so if you want to secure a place please apply sooner rather than later via the application form PA 2 for 1 Ticket Scheme.
For more information email email@example.com.
3 days of live music on the Isle of Bute (King George’s Field, Rothesay)
Date: 28th – 30th July.
Line up includes: We are Scientists, The Wedding Present, Manran, The Elephant Sessions, Samson Sounds.
Adult day tickets: From £42.50
Disabled facilities: Use of Rothesay Leisure Centre toilets and showers through the day. Accessible camping. Limited campervan spaces. These should be reserved when purchasing tickets with only 1 x campervan required per vehicle, not per person.
Belladrum Tartan Heart
Belladrum Estate, Beauly
Date: 3-5 August.
Lineup includes: Franz Ferndinand, The Pretenders, Sister Sledge and KT Tunstall
Adult Day Tickets sold out. Adult Two Day ticket £117.00
Disabled access: Disabled viewing areas in many of the arenas; however, bear in mind that this is an outdoor event and conditions could become muddy and slippery.
Facilities: Disabled parking. 2 for 1 PA Tickets. Disabled campsite.
Further information on disabled access and facilities or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Party At The Palace
Rock & pop, Linlithgow.
Date: 12 – 13 August
Lineup includes: Kaiser Chiefs, Ash, Lightning Seed, Noisettes and Amy MacDonald
Disabled access: Party at The Palace takes place on a grass field which includes an incline. The terrain may not be suitable for all types of wheelchairs but stewards are there to help and assist where possible. Disabled toilets available.
Set in the grounds of Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway
Date: 1 – 2 September
Headlining: Frightened Rabbit, Dizzee Rascal, Band of Horses
Adult Day Tickets from £95
Disabled facilities: Disabled parking and accessible campsite. A hard standing path leads from the disabled car park and campsite to the arena. Although the arena is mainly grass, it is flat.
Contact: online contact form
Gig Buddies Scotland
Gig Buddies is a project that has recently been established in Edinburgh. The project supports people with a learning disability to get out to more gigs and enjoy the social life they want. Everyone who signs up to the project gets paired with a ‘Gig Buddy’; this is a volunteer who shares the same interests as them. Each pairing then choose which events they go to each month and enjoy their evening doing what they love. We believe that everyone should have access to great music!
Well, unfortunately we can’t control the weather for your festival visits, but we can wish you all a fantastic summer of music! We’d love to hear your experiences and you can always share a disabled access review on Euan’s Guide.