Glastonbury Festival does provide disabled facilities onsite. Please be aware that because of the nature of the farm - being a fairly hilly dairy farm - even though there are tracks, both permanent and temporary, it doesn't lend itself to easy travel for those with mobility problems.
Those wanting to use any of the disabled facilities onsite must be pre-registered. The disabled access pack explains what facilities there are and includes a registration form.
For an information pack please send your e-mail and postal address to either firstname.lastname@example.org or Disabled Enquiries, Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, BA4 4BY or Telephone: 01749 899654¨. The packs can either be sent by email or post and are available in large print format if required.
The disabled facilities and PA scheme are not open to people with temporary injuries or conditions.
Personal Assistant Ticket Scheme
The Festival provides those disabled ticket holders that require full time assistance with a free ticket for a partner, accompanying friend or personal assistant (PA). Those wanting a Personal Assistant Ticket need to fill in the PA application form and provide a copy of their most recent DLA letter showing their current entitlement.
The festival does offer disabled camping. The campsite is run by an experienced team who will be on hand to assist. Applicants can have up to a maximum of 3 others camping with them. Those wishing to camp in larger groups must do so in any of the public campsites.
There are some spaces in the campsite for campervans or caravans. These are for those people that would be unable to attend the Festival if made to camp and require the use of the disabled facilities within the campsite. A campervan tickets is not required for one of these spaces. Further details on how to apply for a space are included in the info pack. Those who do not require the additional facilities within the disabled campsite are asked by the Festival to use the designated campervan fields instead.
The festival has specially adapted toilets, which can only be accessed by disabled patrons dotted all over the Festival site. Those attending are provided with a handy map which shows their locations.
Viewing platforms for the disabled and their carers are located at the Pyramid, Other, Acoustic, Jazz World, John Peel and Dance East Stages.
British Sign Language Interpreters
There will be a team of BSL Interpreters onsite offering their services. More information on this service will be available closer to the festival.
Below are some personal experiences from people who've experienced the Festival as a disabled person.
Andy Barrow has kindly allowed us to publish some of his experiences in 2016 which can be read in more depth (here):
Glastonbury Festival is something I’ve been meaning to blog about after each visit but I’ve never got round to it.
The festival is such a great analogy for challenging your independence and overcoming adversity. This is certainly true from the perspective of someone with a disability, like myself.
We finally decided to pull our fingers out this time because the difficulties we were faced with this year gave us so much more to talk about! When my wife and I secured tickets to Glastonbury festival in the April resale, we immediately decided to try some different things while we were there.
It was our fourth year in a row and, while it was clear that the headliners were going to be great, we decided to spend far more time away from the Pyramid Stage and more time seeing what the rest of the festival had to offer.
Thankfully, given how bad the mud was throughout our five-day stay on Worthy Farm, it was just as well we decided to be more discerning! We’d been reading about how bad the rain had been leading up to the day the gates opened. I’m sure everyone who attended will agree, the damage to the ground had already been done before anyone had set foot on the farm.
After being stuck in traffic for a couple of hours (which we were actually quite pleased about; others had been caught up for far longer!) we set about getting onto the campsite and pitching our tent, thanks for help from the wonderful access team (most of whom are volunteers – more on them in another instalment).
Our plan then was to have a wander around the site before going to a venue called The Rocket Lounge for a pre-booked dinner cooked by a Michelin-starred chef. But, as we had no idea what the state of the ground would be, we decided to forgo the preamble and give ourselves plenty of time (three hours in the end!) to make the approximately two-mile trek to the south-east corner, where the Rocket Lounge is located.
The journey there was the first of many where we adapted to and overcame our often challenging surroundings. We laughed, (almost) cried, got wet, dried off, got covered in mud, danced through the night and met countless wonderful people, whose help and generosity enabled us to enjoy the festival even more (again, more on them another time).
I want to use these blogs on Glastonbury to prove that the festival (or any other ambition you may have) really is available to everyone, even if it entails travelling across chewing-gum mud for five days!
You may need to change and adapt your original plans or call upon the help of others at times. But you can do this without forgoing independence or enjoyment. It might just take a little more thought at times!
The Glastonbury blogs will focus more specifically on getting around with a disability, the disabled services the festival offers and specific tips for those with disabilities, as well as our general festival highlights!
But if there’s anything else you’d like to know, just get in touch! You can read the blog here.
What's below was written by Leftfield (no, not the band!) of experiences in 2002, especially for eFestivals - thanks!:
I have been attending the festival since 1997 and have had to avail myself of the facilities provided for disabled festival goers.
In that time there have been a number of improvements to the site, but there have been some problems actually getting to the site. As the most recent festival, 2002, is freshest in my mind I will give a description of how things went for us last year.
The new security set up for 2002 made getting onto the site something of a misery. As in previous years we arrived on site at 5.45am and asked for the procedures for taking our car on site to unload.
As per usual, we entered by the 'Red' Gate and were soon referred to an office at the edge of the closest parking area. We obtained what we thought were all the necessary permits and proceeded to the site, only to be told that no vehicles are allowed on before 8.00am. With the new security system being tried out for the first time we accepted this and put our feet up to wait. Come 8.00am we tootled off to the site only to find we hadn't got the correct permits. We went back to the office and was told that we had all the necessary permits and so we tried again.
It wasn't until we eventually spoke to some in charge that it was obvious that we didn't have the correct permits. However, this gentleman from the security provided by Mean Fiddler, and he really was, took the time to explain what was needed, but even after a further visit to the parking office we still didn't receive any other permits as they had none. We were fortunate enough to see the same chap when we got back to the site gate and after contacting someone else in authority, he kindly let us on site to unload, only if we took a security guard with us who would ensure that I came off site immediately. We passed through the first gate, travelled 10 feet and was stopped by a different security guard, this time from Oxfam I believe. He wasn't going to let us on site even with a security guard in the car! Thanks to the chap who let us on to the first 10 feet of the site putting his size 12's down we made it onto the site. Or rather I did, but my wife had to walk in through the normal entrance. I took the car to the disabled site, unload as much as possible in the very short time allowed and got off the site. This was a pretty trying time, but the moral is make sure that you get a permit that allows you to take your car fully onto the site to unload. They were available it was just that the person staffing the permit office at that time didn't know about them. I expect things to be somewhat easier in 2003 as the security should be more aware of these issues. But what of the disabled facilities themselves?
The disabled facilities in 2002 had the best set up in all the times I had used them and was again run by the ADD group. The site was cordened of by fencing and whilst this might not be in the spirit of the rest of the festival, there had been a number of thefts in 2000, particularly of essential items for the disabled person. It was very similar to the fencing used to surround the bar-staff camping area.
The whole camping area was divided into areas for camping and, for the first time, there were specific routes left open for easier access for wheelchair users. The number of disabled toilets had increased with double the number large enough to allow access for wheelchairs. There was a crude shower facility, but it did offer privacy and other washing facilities. Another improvement was in the number of volunteers available to provide general help from putting up tents to specific help in locating specialist aid. Furthermore, there were at least four volunteers available at all times of the day and night. There are of course recharging facilities for motorised wheelchairs.
Another service more evident in 2002 was a mini-bus to help ferry people around the site and to the pyramid stage viewing platforms. This could also be used to take people to their cars to collect anything that might have been left and it was also available at the end of the festival to ferry people and equipment to their cars.
All in all a monumental improvement on the facilities provided at my first Glastonbury in 1997. I accept that not everything his catered for, most notably hot running water and whilst the site is hilly and not the easiest to negotiate for wheelchair users, the camping and other additional facilities should make the festival a fairly enjoyable experience for the disabled festival goer.
I hope to see you there!
What's below was written by Dr.Bob a short while before the '98 Festival, and is used here verbatim with his permission.
"The Glastonbury Festival site is a large, hilly dairy farm, with rough tracks and the distinct possibility of slippery mud".
That's what I said on this page last year. It did turn out to be a little muddy, as you may have heard, which made life difficult for everybody but particularly for wheelchair users. The Glastonbury organisers provide fairly good facilities given the location; a reserved parking area, transport from there to the site, a dedicated camping area, and disabled toilets. Only a few people took advantage of them last year, more from one of those later.
Here's the information provided to me last year by Andy Faulkner, who decided not to go due to the weather. As far as I know, the arrangements are the same for this year.
You'll be pleased to know there are no major problems to encounter. I am 100% dependent on my wheelchair for my mobility and I went to the 1995 festival. I found that getting around the site was OK, and also getting to places like the middle of the main spectator field didn't present any problems. Obviously it is not wise to try to cross the spectator areas while there are bands playing onstage, but inbetween sets it is easy to weave your way through the people.
I found that I could get to all areas independently, but this of course depends on how well you are able to push. The ramps to the loos were quite steep but I always managed to get in on my own. Once inside there is loads of space and even a wash basin (but no water!).
A few wheelchair users did brave the conditions. Billy Bragg dedicated a song to one of them, who managed to get around pretty well with the help of three friends and a couple of lengths of rope. Also present was John Upstone, aka Juppy, who posted his experiences at the festival to the newsgroup uk.music.rave. I've edited slightly, mainly to remove a "thanks to" list longer than the average Oscar winner.
I will remember Glastonbury 1997 for rest of my life, there's no doubt of that.
If you saw the mud on the news... believe me, it was worse on site. Imagine a wheelchair trying to get through deep mud the consistency of runny clay. The gap between the hand rim and the wheel fills up with slime and every single time you push the chair you sink your fingers into a substance not unlike potters' slip with bits of gravel added in. That's about every 2-3 seconds - now just imagine how many times you do it trying to cross the site. Furthermore, the small front wheels sink into the swamp and it's almost impossible to get any forward momentum going. Even when it's not raining, the muddy puddles splatter you with muck. It's cold, and windy, and generally quite horrible, for bipeds and quadrorbs alike.
So you can take it from the above that Glastonbury was *not* a wheelchair friendly site this year. ;)
Having been in a chair all my life I've fought hard for my independence, and it's especially difficult to cope with being cooped up, unable to move around outside without assistance, and almost totally reliant on other people for five frustrating days. Cold, muddy and wet, unable to get about the site except by Land Rover for most of the festival, I should have been in hell.
So why did I have an absolutely wicked, wonderful time?! :)
Because of all of you that were there. From meeting John G and Ian on Wednesday night, appearing out of nowhere to rescue us and whisk us off to a nice, clean, dry caravan, through to Mels, Eric and Doug, whose tent we invaded for several nights, and including all the lovely, wonderful UMR people, there were few moments when I was without the company of friends whose comfort and encouragement made the whole thing bearable and even great fun. I missed most of the various performers, but a steady stream of visitors brought the festival to our tent - and we finally made it to the dance tent on Sunday afternoon & evening.
From the party in front of John G's caravan, to the fluffy pile of loved-up people in the impromptu chill-out tent on Saturday night, from taking joyrides to the loo in a Land Rover, to *finally* managing to see some artists on Sunday night, I quite simply had a great Glastonbury. :)
Finally thanks to (Welsh) Doug for being a brother in arms, or should I say "in wheels" - we faced the adversarial mud side by side, and I took some comfort in the fact that there was someone else around who really understood just how *frustrating* the experience could sometimes be...
And does anyone know a good way of getting dried mud off a wheelchair? It's a bit difficult trying to hose it down when you're sitting on it. ;)
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