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© 2018 By Gina Twelftree. Proudly created with WIX.COM 

Reading Festival Access Review 

As you’ve probably seen from my socials (if you aren’t following me then you’re missing out {seriously]) I went to Reading Festival this weekend. From the Foo Fighters to Billie Elish to Twenty One Pilots, it was a weekend I will never forget. But I’m sure a lot of you are wondering  “How do you go to a festival in a wheelchair?” Well, it might surprise you, but it is actually really quite easy. Check out my Top Tips for Festival-goers. I thought I’d fill you in on how my weekend in Reading went. 
 

First of all, was hiring the electric wheelchair. This was fairly easy - I went through Shopmobility, reserved it a couple of weeks in advance and my dad collected it in his van the day before the festival. Then, we got to the hotel, it was really easy to get around with wide-open floor space, and easy access to the lifts and rooms, the disabled rooms were closest to the lift, so we didn't have to battle our way down the corridors. The room was a little small but plenty of space for my chair and frame, although the bathroom was a little tight and the floor was very slippy.

Anyway, onto the festival. Getting in was a little confusing, there wasn't a clearly signposted ‘disabled entrance’ or ‘disabled check-in’ which meant we went in the wrong entrance and was left waiting for 30 minutes whilst the staff tried to figure out what we were actually supposed to do. When we did get to the disabled check-in it (funnily enough) wasn’t that wheelchair friendly. With a steep and thin ramp leading up to a couple of windows in a temporary office. However, once we’d got in, showed our ID’s and the confirmation email, everything ran a lot more smoothly. 

There was a direct entrance from the disabled check-in through to the main stage, the path wasn’t great but as it is an entrance to a field, you kind of expect the flooring to be a little unstable.

There was a designated lower bar area with no/little queuing for drinks, however, they did stop serving soft drinks or water at one point but, luckily the bar staff went and grabbed us some from the soft drinks counter - as that counter did not have a designated wheelchair access queue or lowered bar.

The disabled toilets were at every disabled viewing platform, with a large disabled sign above them so you could easily locate it from afar. There were volunteers, checking wristbands so you could access the toilets unless you had a personal assistant or accessibility band. Which meant no queueing and generally more pleasant toilets. However, the porta-loos they used didn't have much in the way of supports or handlebars once inside, which was quite frustrating and meant Gina had to come to the toilet with me each time to help me transfer. 

As for the viewing platforms, they were really well placed with a great view of the stage and away from the stress of the crowds whilst still getting the feel of the buzz. The only issue I faced was that some people with taller wheelchairs sat near the front, meaning those who were seated, or using average-sized wheelchairs struggled to see over them. This didn’t affect my overall experience luckily, just mildly annoying at times.
There was plenty of space for personal assistants to join with chairs or standing space at the back and sides or, as Gina liked to use it as - dancing space.
The charging points for electric wheelchairs were also on the platforms making it easy to keep your wheelchair full of charge even whilst enjoying the acts.
You did have to have the right wristbands to use the platforms, but it was a simple checkbox option with no extra cost, definitely worth doing just in case.

So, overall Reading was incredible. The access team were quite helpful, despite the faff of getting our wristbands on the first day. I would definitely go back again - next year’s tickets are already on sale! 


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