My Virgin Glastonbury Experience.

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Guns and Roses at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury at night.

You can’t sum it up easily so the words below work for me.

  • Immense.
  • Intense.
  • Dirty.
  • Sardines in a tin.
  • Mind blowing.
  • Puzzling.
  • Culinary delight.
  • Friendly.
  • Vast.
  • Inclusive attitudes…mostly.

I experienced so much in a short space of time. It was amazing.

To see the Foo Fighters made their hair on the back of my neck stand, a shiver of excitement run through my body and I cried briefly. They are a band I’ve been wanting to see for many years even though it’s post Taylor Hawkins (RIP).

It was the best, loudest and inspiring set I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s Times like These when nothing comes close.

I feel like an adrenaline junkie looking for their next hit……

Accessibility

Information provided was poorly put together, the entrance staff had no clues on what to do accessibility bands which meant we were directed to the camp site and told to go back. Thankfully were allowed to pitch up before returning to the entrance on the Access Bus.

I felt the camp site was great, but too far from the entrance and interesting events.

I loved the people I met in there which includes some youngsters who see going to go to university to study Neuroscience, Robotics and such. The future of Britain.

My first introduction to them was me walking by telling one that her Wheels skills are cool as she was doing Wheelies in her chair. She raced after me and we nattered. Met her group who are fantastic and friendly. That was my first Glastonbury people experience.

There were a number of Viewing Platforms which were decent in size, most with DeafZones for BSL Interpreters and some of the spaces were far too small.

Plenty of areas of Glastonbury were not wheelchair friendly and some people really struggled to get around due to gravel. Also the slopes of the valley didn’t help so some advice on suitable motorised wheelchairs, loans or even wheels would go far.

My wife made use of the Sensory Spaces for Neurodivergent attendees which were dark, calming, cool and there were ear defenders were available.

Glastonbury is very much an assault on the senses and these spaces allows ND attendees to retreat, rest, reset and start again. They are excellent and essential spaces which needs to be implemented at more events.

Foo Fighters at the Pyramid stage. There is hundreds of people of people in the photo with flags and the photo was taken from the Viewing Platform.

The BSL Zones (Viewing Platforms)

They were great but my wife experienced blatant discrimination at the Pyramid Stage as she’s hearing, the DeafZone coordinator who was meant to take care of the space was not in control, some of the interpreters were acting highly unprofessionally and the Deaf audience combined created a toxic environment.

Granted space was limited but there’s no way I’d stand in the space without my wife.

I have long advocated for wheelchair users to be able to enjoy performances with families and friends without being separated which usually happens.

A non-Disabled person would be able to attend with their family and friends for the most part without barriers. This is what I expect for myself and the audience I work with around the UK.

I was not going to allow anyone to do that to us. Either we stay or we go together.

I wouldn’t subject anyone to such attitudes and I will always speak up against such behaviour.

Unfortunately that ruined part of the Glastonbury Experience for us. I bit the bullet and enjoyed most of the performances without understanding a word without benefiting from the BSL Interpreter provisions. All I could think was “Shame Shame on them.”

I must to point out that the BSL Interpretation by the Interpreters were amazing. At times their jobs were tough because there were times when the set lists were released to them within minutes of performances starting and this meant they had to be reactive. Kudos to the BSL Performance Interpreters

Whatmore is that I don’t understand why they couldn’t project the BSL Interpreters onto the screens which is a proven concept on the Strictly Come Dancing Live tours 2022 + 2023 across 70+ performances without issues and I worked on this.

Technical issues were cited….which I’d be interested to know what they are.

Elton John performing at the Pyramid Stage. The photo was taken in the middle of a crowd and there are flags.

The Takeaway

What made Glastonbury was the people and the spirit of the event.

I met some amazing people, there wasn’t a day where I didn’t speak to someone who was friendly, sharing and in the mood to have a laugh.

For the most part, I felt like I fitted in like I was part of a giant lego set. It’s rare I feel like the right piece that fits in the wall.

My personal regret are that my peers, the unprofessional behaviour of certain people and the attitudes I faced spoilt part of the experience. It still hurts.

It hurts because All My Life I’ve never felt like I fitted in, I’m always stuck in the middle and I made the decision at Glastonbury 2023 not to be. I was happier for it as I’d rather be the Big Me and not be dragged down by the politics.

Despite the issues I’d go again but sadly I am put off from using the DeafZone area at the Viewing Platforms until something changes.

(I hope you spotted my Foo themed puns….)

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