The Crip, The Tent, The Ramp and The Muddy Field.
I found out today that I have been accepted as a steward at this year's Carling Weekend at Reading.
Last year was the first time that disabled people were employed by The Mean Fiddler as stewards and I was lucky enough to be part of the project. Our job in the main was to ensure that access to the viewing platforms was kept clear. The main thing that was apparent last year was the way the disabled stewards were received by the punters. I had so much positive feedback from disabled festival goers. they were genuinely impressed that the disabled community was being represented and that someone with a personal insight into accessiblity was on site.
The Festival was not without its problems though. On the Radio One/NME stage the access ramp to the viewing platform was ridiculously steep. So steep in fact that over the whole weekend I only saw one manual wheelchair user successfully navigate it without assisstance. This is obviously completely unacceptable and I stressed to anyone completing a feedback sheet last year to mention it and I'm glad to say lots of people did. I am therefore hoping that the ramp situiation is sorted out this year. It is all very well having access, it does however have to actually be accessible.
The other problem was the disabled persons camp site which due to heavy rain was a quagmire. All the non-crip sites seemed to have metal walkways laid down but this was overlooked in the crip site. Again this was unacceptable and it must not happen again this year. It will be interesting to see if they have learnt from last years event. I hope so.
In the mean time I have to psyche myself up for five days under canvas and hope it doesn't piss down with rain. On the positive front I've got Belle and Sebastian, The Fall, The Shins, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah, Broken Family Scene and Radio Soulwax to look forward to.