A journey in my wheels – Carnival 56

    A journey in my wheels - Carnival 56 1 Part I          Part II        Part III Part IV (Parts V & VI below) So, it’s been just under 2 weeks since Carnival 56 and I've had good time to reflect on what was an amazing day with a great atmosphere and hardly […]
Part I          Part II        Part III

Part IV (Parts V & VI below)

So, it’s been just under 2 weeks since Carnival 56 and I've had good time to reflect on what was an amazing day with a great atmosphere and hardly any hiccups at all. Even a week after the event I was still finding glitter everywhere! I had decided to attend on the Sunday as although I didn’t know many of the acts that were attending, I did know the act headlining on the Sunday - Rudimental.

The Main Event

We arrived an hour after the festival started and it think was probably the best time to go because it wasn’t busy to get into the car park and the queues to get through security weren’t bad.

Parking

I thought on the day that the signage for disabled parking wasn’t very good. We went to the wrong entrance for Camperdown park, however I noticed later that we just didn’t see the sign, we must have been too excited! Apart from going to the wrong entrance I did not find many problems with the disabled parking, one parking warden was a little rude when he asked why my blue badge wasn’t out.

Box Office and Security

Once we parked the car, I did not see signage of what way to go for the main entrance of the festival site, therefore again we went the wrong way. Unfortunately, the grass area was very bumpy so it took me a little bit longer to get to the right entrance, although there is not much that can be done about the uneven grass area as Camperdown is a country park and it is just the way nature is. Anyway, once we got to the Box Office to pick up the ticket for my helper, it was a bit of a struggle to get around the fenced area as it was very tight for my wheelchair to get around. Then once we got to the ticket windows there was no one at the accessible window and when we went to another window they said they couldn’t help us.

The security staff were very friendly when they were checking our bags and although I was worried about having food in my bag, however after explaining that I have low blood sugar, they were very understanding. I must say, although they were very thorough at searching everyone they didn’t really search my wheelchair very well and even though I didn’t smuggle anything in I could have easily.

Part V

Main Festival Site

At the start of Carnival 56 it wasn’t too busy and I was able to easily get around. As I mentioned before we didn’t really know many of the acts that were playing so when we first arrived we had a wander around the festival to sus find out where everything was. One very popular attraction on the day along with the bar was the free McFlurry van, the clue is kind of there to why this was so popular but one thing that was good was that it was all 100% accessible. We went to the front entrance but as soon as a staff member noticed me in my wheelchair they told us to just skip the queue and enter through the exit as the fences were very tight to get around. There was a built-on ramp to get into the tent where you got a photo taken before receiving your free McFlurry, the entrance to the tent was very narrow to get through but all the staff members were very helpful and opened the tent up more for me to get in. I cannot fault the staff at all within the McFlurry area and to be honest who doesn’t like free ice-cream. Once we demolished our McFlurrys we bumped into Conor Maynard who is an English singer-songwriter, then headed to buy lanyards so we knew who was playing when without having to walk to the onsite maps.

We then went to get a drink from the bar and were surprised that a 125ml glass of Rosé wine was the same price as a 175ml glass (£4.50). Although we all know prices at events like these are quite expensive so I only had 2 drinks the whole day, plus I can’t drink too much whilst driving . All the staff that I encountered at the bar area were very friendly and helpful. As it became later in the night I started to feel a little unsure around the bar area, there weren’t people falling over drunk or anything I just felt like it was really busy. The main bar was also long so it meant if someone didn’t see me coming behind them then I would have ended up with someone falling on me or drink on me. Therefore, by the end of the night I went to the smaller bar and they were out of Rosé wine so I had to have vodka and lemonade.

Obviously, the festival was hosted in a nature park and you can’t make any drastic changes to the area, but I did feel like I was falling to the side sometimes when I was driving across a hilly area. I felt the whole area for Carnival 56 was very spacious though, and during the day this meant that I could enjoy the festival in the main viewing areas and enjoy the festival atmosphere with everyone else. It wasn’t until later in the evening when it starter to get busier that I went on to accessible viewing platform.

Part VI

Accessible Viewing Platform

Before I went to Carnival 56 I knew they were going to have an accessible viewing platform at the main stage, however I was surprised they had one at the Rumba Tent too. Using the accessible viewing platform was something I was worried about before I went as on the website it stated you were only allowed one person to accompany you, but I was going with a friend and a carer. I can see you not being allowed 5 people up with you as that is too many people, especially if everyone does this, but I’m not going to leave one person on their own but at the Rumba Tent we managed to persuade them to allow the three of us up because there wasn’t anyone else on the platform.

When we wanted to watch Rudimental on the main stage at night, because this was the main act and the most popular, I was only allowed one person up with me. Luckily my carer bumped into her family so she stood not too far away from the platform so that my friend could stay with me. This time on the accessible viewing platform was the biggest problems I had throughout the whole day. When we first got up I struggled to get past a pile of chairs that were sitting at the top of the ramp, now judging by the size of the platform I don't even think if everyone was able to sit on a chair and there were no wheelchairs that all these chairs would fit on the platform, there were about 30. I just managed to squeeze past them but I'm not sure someone in a bigger wheelchair would have managed. Next problem I encountered was when we were deciding where to sit, now there was a space right as you came on to the platform that was at the front where my friend and I would be able to sit together. But we were told we couldn't sit there because the camera man was there filming the music for Carnival 56. This infuriated me so much because the way I see it is that it's an accessible viewing platform for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities, not a camera platform. So, I refused to move and eventually they let us sit there, although there shouldn't have been a problem in the first place. If this event is to run again, or for other events, have a separate platform for professional camera people. What if a number wheelchair users and companions needed on the platform?

I also felt the viewing platform was slightly wobbly when people walked on it and with attending T in the Park a couple of years ago I can't remember that platform being as unsteady. Also previous accessible viewing platforms I've been on have been undercover and I feel this should have been done for Carnival 56. I don't know maybe the organisers knew it was going to be good weather, but if it would have rained it wouldn't have been the best.

Leaving the Festival

I did not feel there were much problems leaving the festival site itself, however I feel that there wasn't much lighting in the car park area and we had to put the torches on our phones on because with the ground being uneven I struggled to drive in the dark.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I really enjoyed Carnival 56 and thought it was good regarding wheelchair accessibility. There were a couple of hiccups more with the accessible viewing platform but maybe if it is to be an annual event these can be looked into. I will definitely consider going next year and wound recommend it to other wheelchair users.

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