Every day, new music festivals emerge, bringing people together to celebrate something they all love. Branded and sold to us as all-inclusive, for the most part, these music festivals are. However, not every music festival goes out on a limb to make their event as convenient for folks with a disability as they can, and should. The Sherp picked out a few festivals that do, and do it brilliantly. Take a look at these great disability-friendly festivals.
1. Glastonbury Festival
Where: Somerset, England
Dubbed as the greatest UK festival, Glasto prides itself in its crowd-pleasing lineups and great numbers. And despite the unpredictable weather, this festival manages to make the rough terrain of the festival venue as disability friendly as possible. The festival included viewing platforms near all stages that made it easier for folks on wheelchairs to view the stages, a separate campsite for the disabled, a DeafZone, where festival goers could pick up the basics of British sign language, along with sign language interpreters spread out across the venue and help available for anyone struggling through the Worthy Farm terrain in a wheelchair. Check out this BBC article for testimonials by fans.
2. NH7 Weekender
Where: India (Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi, Shillong)
This multi-city festival takes place through the winter in India. Famous for their indie lineups and chill demeanor, the Weekender truly is a great place to hang out for everyone. This year, the festival will implement disabled-friendly initiatives at the every edition. These measures include “personal assistant” tickets, which allow attendees with disabilities or any kind of mobility impairment to request a ticket on Insider.in, which will provide a designated volunteer to accompany the attendee into the festival. Reserved parking and a separate counter for wrist band pick-ups are also available to these attendees. Within the festival grounds, stages are connected by temporary mud tracks for more convenient wheelchair movement, and higher viewing platforms are located next to the sound consoles with ramps to provide access for riders using wheelchairs, scooters, crutches, walkers or other mobility aids. Read more here.
Where: Tennessee, US
The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is among one of the anticipated festivals in the United States, with its boldly diverse lineups and plethora of fan-immersive activities. It’s also one of the major festivals that go a long way to make the festival experience as accessible for all as possible, Bonnaroo has received great feedback for their efforts. From the festival’s exclusive accessible camping area, to accessible seating, the well-informed staff, lowered counters at vendors, the plethora of plug in batteries and rent chairs, the festival really kicked it out of the ball park with their disability-friendly features. Head here to read some testimonials about Bonnaroo’s disabled-friendly initiatives.
(Source: ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)
4. Chase Park Festival
Where: Gateshead, England
Put together for literally everyone, inclusive for everyone regardless of ability, the Chase Park is well-known for its disabled-friendly implementations, aiming to help break down cultural barriers and stereotypes often associated with people with disabilities by engaging the whole community. With affordable ticket prices and an excellent lineup every year, this festival is truly one of a kind. Head to the Chase Park Facebook page for more details about the festival. As the founder of of the festival says in this feature by the Guardian, “[The festival is] for the whole community and it gives us an opportunity to increase wider understanding around accessibility issues.”
5. Reading & Leeds/V Festival/Isle of Wight
A programme that has garnered much appreciation in the disabled community and beyond is the two-for-one ticket scheme (also known as the PA ticket scheme), which allows festival attendees with a disability to bring an individual with them, without having to pay for an extra ticket. Reading, Leeds, V Festival, and Isle of Wight – all offer this scheme to its fans, without any further extraordinary measures, which is why they’e been bunched under one umbrella. One of the most useful schemes, this makes it easier to find friends who cannot fund separate passes but would like to help and accompany you anyway.
6. Latitude Festival
Where: Suffolk, England
The Latitude Festival, remains a musical event that brings together not just the best musical acts, but at its heart a truly rustic festival. Known for great musical lineups and the scenic atmosphere, it also ups its game by including many accessible features for disabled persons. Starting from the aforementioned PA ticket scheme, to the many viewing platforms and other amenities. You can find out more about Latitude’s disability-friendly measures here. Their website details the layout and ground conditions of the festival venue.
(Source: Jen O’Neill/Latitude Festival)
Special mentions: Although they didn’t make the cut, we’d like to add them in here as an appreciation for their efforts. Kudos to Governors Ball & Tomorrowland for their initiatives!