Glastonbury Festival – accessing the inaccessible

Glastonbury Festival is over for another year and with this having been my first encounter of the crazy but electric world I miss it already!

Glastonbury Festival - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

One of the highlights for me was a memorable performance from blind soul singer Stevie Wonder and most notably his closing speech about accessibility; “I want you to encourage the world to make things more accessible for those who are physically challenged… let there be nowhere that I can’t go being blind, that someone cannot go being deaf, someone cannot go being paraplegic or quadriplegic. Make it accessible so that we can celebrate the world as well as you can.”

Stevie Wonder Glastonbury Festival - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

This had me in tears, partially I’ll admit because of the lack of sleep over the previous days, but also because Glastonbury Festival is an amazing experience that everyone should be able to enjoy despite any disability.

You really can’t appreciate the scale of the festival until you are there and it left me thinking about how accessible it is for those with varying disabilities. Having a heart condition myself, my ability to party into the night with the rest was to some extent restricted. But what must the rough terrain be like for someone in a wheelchair, or how does someone with hearing difficulties fully experience the music?

Glastonbury Festival camping - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

A disabled camping ground, converted toilets and showers, a bus service around the site, British sign language interpreters and metal trackways will have, I’m sure, made a big difference. Glastonbury Festival, run by hippy-at-heart Michael Eavis, is clearly making the effort to create an accessible event. I was so pleased to have seen a large number of people with disabilities, some severe, thriving in the exciting atmosphere.

Glastonbury Festival accessibility - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

But what really made the difference for me, and I expect others, was the helpful attitude of those hired to assist people with disabilities, as well as the kind nature of fellow festival goers. Maybe the first thing we need to tackle in the bid for an accessible world is some people’s attitudes.

Experience Stevie Wonder’s performance on the BBC’s official Glastonbury Festival site.

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July 2, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Inspiration.

2 Comments

  1. Penny replied:

    Your words say everything I felt before, during & after the festival – thank you for spreading the word! I miss GLASTO!

    I had so many worries beforehand about going and they were put to rest as soon as ‘Maurice’ (our tent) was up! Everyone was so kind & helpful & full of smiles. Here’s to 2011 🙂

    Penny

    I shall be spreading the word

    • lizransome replied:

      Thank you Penny. It’s great to think how such a place can be shared by everyone – bring on the hippy vibe!

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