How to prepare for a festival as a wheelchair user
Thinking of attending a festival but not sure how to plan for the event if you use a wheelchair? Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered… Here, at Mountain Trike, our all-terrain wheelchairs are designed for accessing the outdoors, and we’ve outlined some top tips to help you navigate and plan for a festival.
Outdoor festivals are back! Whether you’re a music rocker, foodie fan, or prefer something a little more cultured or family-focused, there is pretty much a festival for everyone.
And with one of the country’s largest celebratory events in decades taking place this June (2022), the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, perhaps you’re arranging your own mini-festival.
However, for some, especially if you’re disabled, the thought of attending a festival will fill you with fear. The uneven terrain, the toilet facilities, the crowds, the changing weather and the inevitable mud can all be a nightmare.
But it doesn’t have to be. Festival organisers have got a lot better at ensuring their events are disability-friendly – after all, everyone has the right to enjoy all the fun of the festival and it should be accessible for all.
Despite this, you’re probably going to need to do some extra preparations…
Accessible festival checklist
The size of the festival and how established it is will often determine the amenities available for disabled people and wheelchair users.
Below is a checklist of recommendations to look for when seeking the most disability and wheelchair friendly festivals to attend:
- Free PA tickets
- Accessible campsite
- Wheelchair-accessible toilets and showers
- High dependency units for if you become very unwell
- Viewing platforms
- Wheelchair accessible shuttle bus
- Disabled parking
- Wheelchair hire available
- BSL interpreting
- Hearing loops
- Accessible paths to campsites and stages
- A working partnership with a disabled charity
- Wheelchair charging
- Medication storage
- Two or more campsite guests allowed
- Bar and food concessions.
It is good to see that some of the mainstream festivals, such as Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival, Isle of Wight offer these amenities and that many smaller festival organisers are now starting to provide more of these.
We’d recommend checking directly with the organiser to see what amenities are available for accessing the festival. Organiser websites should provide this information, but, as we all know, descriptions of accessible services aren’t always universal.
If you can see photos of the amenities, that will give you a better idea of how suitable they are for you. If you have any doubt, get in contact with the organisers.
Don’t forget to read our article on how to transport your all-terrain wheelchair or trike to help you prepare for the festival.
Getting over rough ground
The terrain and muddy fields at festivals tend to be pretty impractical if you’re using a standard wheelchair or mobility aids.
Obviously, the weather in the UK is very unpredictable – we’ve all seen those awful mud scenes. But thick mud can be as problematic as rutty and extremely dry ground caused by very hot weather.
Look out for festivals with hard paths, often created with compacted ground and mesh plastic, offering a more stable surface.
However, they don’t usually run to everywhere you want to go, so ideally get a map or plan ahead of time that shows where they cover so that you can plan ahead.
Keep in mind though, that even if they run across a lot of the festival, they’re still not ideal if you use a manual wheelchair or some mobility aids, so you might want to think about upgrading.
Some festival organisers provide mobility equipment, such as Glastonbury and Goodwood. But as yet, we aren’t aware of any organisers who have fleets of all-terrain wheelchairs available for public use.
Our Mountain Trike all-terrain wheelchair products make it a much more practical choice of wheelchair for festivals – after all, the Mountain Trike was designed for accessing the outdoors and travelling over uneven ground.
Here are some of the product benefits Mountain Trike customers love:
- they’re lever-driven, which means clean, dry hands
- there is a push handle option for additional assistance when the going gets really tough
- the eTrike offers power assistance for when you start feeling fatigued
- there is a multi-rack – extremely handy for storing and carrying your festival essentials.
Despite potholes and bumpy rides, Mountain Trikes absolutely handles the terrain and provides a safe and comfy ride. Plus, they’re rugged and look cool!
If you want to try before you buy, we also hire our Mountain Trikes so you can check how well it will work for you.
Packing the right equipment
Packing is fundamental to having an enjoyable festival experience, so we’ve outlined a few items to help with your packing list:
- Your festival ticket
- Toilet roll
- Reusable water bottle/s
- Non-perishable snacks
- Your phone charger and/or spare batteries
- Bag to carry around essentials
- Suntan lotion
- Hand sanitiser
- Bodywash etc or full-body wipes
- Earplugs and an eye mask to help you sleep
- Wheelchair charger/spare batteries (if applicable)
- Clothing for all weathers – hot and cold
- Hats (to keep warm and to protect from the sun)
- Hot water bottle for nighttime
- Waterproof clothing, including leg covers if you’re a wheelchair user
- Medication/first aid kit
- Portable toilet
- Storage for your meds, particularly if they need to stay at a set temperature.
As well as packing all your festival essentials, we’d recommend taking a few items for your Mountain Trike wheelchair:
- A pump
- Zip ties and gaffer tape
- Sponge and cloth for cleaning – just in case of mud!
- Spare inner tubes and puncture repair kit in case of punctures
- Fenwicks foaming degreaser spray (or something similar) to help clean out grit and grime from the chains.
Enjoy the festival season and don’t forget to tag and share your experiences and pictures with us!