Marion has compiled the WOW awards. WOW stands for Wild/Wacky/Wonderful/Whatever-you-like Old(er) Woman. It’s an off-beat perspective on the festival experience, from a solo traveller with mobility problems (‘I’ve got Parkinson’s disease but it hasn’t got me’), who eats vegetarian food, and who enjoys the ‘incidentals’ of festivals, such as cafes, conversations and small-scale performances more than the main stage events. She decided to mark the high-spots of her festival summer and share her recommendations.
I want to tell everyone about a wonderful organisation called Green Access & Mobility Areas (GAMA). This inspiring volunteer group is devoted to helping people with disabilities go to outdoor festivals. Not only do they advise festival organisers on access issues and how to make spaces and activities more welcoming to people with disabilities and chronic conditions, but they set up camp too in order to provide on-the-spot support, assistance and general back-up for disabled people and their friends/family/carers.
Some might say that festival sites, being temporary and generally outdoors and often in fields, are intrinsically difficult places to adapt for people with disabilities. Our view is that with enough forethought, information, planning and creative thinking, most places should be able to be accessible to most people, whatever one’s mobility needs are. Let us know your experiences of festivals – good & bad.