GAMA has had a really busy year. We have actively been involved in about 8 festivals, and have been on the sidelines and consulted for about another 3. We have met lots of lovely people that are keen to get involved in our work and support us. Below is a quick resume of some of the festivals we have been to – and there will be more resumes to follow as well. We have also put a brief run down of what we are doing now for the winter months, and there are some lovely detailed “festival feedbacks” from our friend Marion. If you wish to contact us at GAMA or Marion, you can do so via the GAMA Contact Us page.

The other thing we started doing this year was producing “feedback forms” for all the visitors to the GAMA areas – so we have had loads of lovely feedback, people saying what we are doing is great, and also showing us what still needs improving. We are committed to continue upping the standards and expectations for those that need our service.

In 2011 GAMA has been directly involved with: Sunrise Celebration, The Glade, Alchemy, Secret Garden Party, Green Gathering, Boomtown, and Out of The Ordinary festival. We are also spreading the word – GAMA is getting known as the place to come for friendly and helpful festival advice on accessibility.

Sunrise Festival: 2nd – 5th June

GAMA was a great success at this year’s Sunrise – we had over 120 people camped within the area, and more around the site, all able to use and benefit from the support and facilities that we provided. We plan to carry on working with Sunrise as they expand into the future, and for us to continue to make disability awareness and support an integral part of the whole festival. A great festival to be involved with – Thank you Sunrise!

Green Gathering: 27 – 31st July

Green Gathering was like a re-union of the Big Green Gathering. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and old acquaintances were met and new friendships were forged. There were relatively few people on site, making it seem sparse and sometimes fairly quiet.

The site itself was a very difficult site to manage, lots of hills, a long thin trackway and a difficult entrance/exit. There was no night lighting making it difficult for anyone to get around, and the ground was uneven and pot holed.

GAMA would need to consider the practicality of working with this site again… We would need a lot more interaction before the event. We had a signer who was greatly appreciated. The feedback from what the GAMA field users provided was excellent.

Boomtown: 11 – 14th August

Boomtown is a relatively new festival that is making waves in the festival scene. It is high energy, high input, has a great atmosphere, and brilliant artwork. It has a very original “core identity” that is unified around the whole site. The organisers had worked really hard to produce such a good events arena. And there were great bands, quirky entertainments, food, and shops. For the first time there was a children’s area, and family camping area. The organisers want to open the festival out for everyone to enjoy. The other side of this extreme is that it also has some real problems that need sorting – there was a lot of thieving, and a lot of medical incidences. The organisers want to “get it right” and are keen to work with organisations such as GAMA to increase participation, to bring in skilled festival crew, and to enhance the facilities available on site.

The site itself was contained in a natural “bowl” that has various slopes and hills within it. However, the central entertainments core was on the flat part in the middle.

This year, 2011, GAMA was brought in just a few weeks before the festival. Next year the organisers have promised that we will be brought in earlier, and can thus have a much greater input into the planning and set up. I think we are really looking forward to working with Boomtown again in the future.

WINTER PROJECTS

We have started on these projects for the winter:

  1. GAMA is talking with “Festival Awards” to incorporate access and exclusivity guidelines for UK Festivals. This will mean that in the future festivals are more likely to win Awards if they can show that they have been taking on access issues.
  2. GAMA is working with the website “Festivals for All” to publicise those festivals that are providing good access facilities.
  3. GAMA is working with signers to provide BSL interpretation and loop systems for venues and forum discussion areas at events.
  4. GAMA is supporting a questionnaire by Able2uk that will enable us to get a good overview of what people would like in their festival provision.
  5. GAMA hopes to work on the concept of forming “national standards” of access in inclusivity that UK festivals and outdoor events should be providing. We are hoping for some funding for this work (we don’t know where from yet), but it would be great to get this started.
  6. Finally, we hope to organise some small conference/meeting/social for all the organisers of GAMA/Access areas at festivals, to all get together, and discuss any problems and all the solutions we can think of.

To find out more information about any of Gama’s work, or if you would like to contribute to it, do contact us via the links in the Contact Us page.

If you would like to send us any stories, photos or funny or frustrating moments from your summer festivals, please do send them in to us, again by the Contact Us page.

Thank you all, for supporting us in our work :)

Yours,
Jos, Seagh, Mike, Penny, Jo and Degs, Emma and Marcus and everyone else who works with us, or who enjoys coming to our areas.

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