Accessibility at music festivals

Three people sitting down at a music festival with their backs to the camera

With a whole summer of festivals lined up for us, organisers are doing their bit to make sure each event is as inclusive as possible.

This summer, make sure you know what is available to you at festivals with our accessibility guide.

Free access

Personal assistants can generally apply for an extra ticket to attend festivals at no cost. This is known as the Disabled Access Scheme, and helps deaf or disabled festivalgoers enjoy the full experience. Each individual festival has its own policy for personal assistant tickets, so you may be asked to provide evidence that you are a full-time assistant, for example, a Disability Living Allowance letter.

Applying for the Disabled Access Scheme

You can apply for a free ticket via the vendor of your chosen festival, for example here at the Reading Festival website. You may be asked to fill out an application form, and you’ll also need to purchase a full-price ticket first.

Why festivals operate these schemes

Allowing free entry for caregivers ensures venues comply with access requirements, including those stated in the Equality Act 2010.
Some of the UK’s leading events, including Festival Republic’s Leeds, Reading and Download festivals, work with the charity Attitude is Everything. Their aim is to improve deaf and disabled people’s experiences at these events.
According to findings in their State of Access Report 2018, Attitude is Everything revealed that deaf and disabled people had the following challenges:

  • 82% had experienced problems booking access
  • 79% had been put off buying gig tickets due to problems booking access
  • 73% had felt discriminated against when trying to book access
  • 11% had considered legal action.

What else is available for deafblind people?

In addition to free access for assistants, the scheme provides a number of accessible services. Festival organiser Festival Republic states that these should be “delivered in a way that respects the needs of each individual and does not exclude anyone”. These include, but are not limited to:

Glastonbury Festival
• A dedicated accessible campsite, ‘Spring Ground’
• 12 viewing platforms
• Free BSL interpreters
• Shuttle bus services for disabled users

Reading Festival
• Wheelchair-accessible, unisex bathroom facilities
• Changing Places Unit
• Fridge for secure medication storage
• Disabled Campsite access for you, your assistant and two friends

Leeds Festival
• Performance interpreters
• Hearing loops
• Wheelchair-accessible, unisex bathroom facilities
• Changing Places Unit
• Fridge for secure medication storage

Staying safe this festival season

Wherever you’re going this summer, make sure you enjoy yourself safely. Stay in your groups wherever possible, and make a mental note of where the medical facilities are located.
Wear sun cream and keep yourself hydrated – there’s no telling what could happen with English weather! The Festival Republic website has a full list of safety dos and don’ts to help you make the most of your experience.

Happy festivalling!

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