Glasgow Summer Sessions is a popular music festival, but how accessible is it for wheelchair users? After seeing the incredible Kings of Leon at Glasgow Summer Sessions and experiencing what it’s like to attend as a wheelchair user, I’m excited to share my accessibility review including information on booking accessible tickets, accessible viewing platform, disabled blue badge parking and accessible toilets.
Booking accessible tickets was surprisingly easy and hassle-free for a change. We had a look on the Glasgow Summer Sessions website about accessibility and the process of booking accessible tickets before the tickets went on sale.
It was great to read that tickets could be booked online and we didn’t have to phone an accessible ticket line. We bought one ticket on Ticketmaster and then completed an access form and emailed it to the organisers. The access form allowed me to request a free PA/carer ticket.
We received the Accessibility Information Guide prior to the event so I made sure to read through it and find out about parking. There was accessible parking on Mosspark Boulevard for blue badge holders so we typed in the postcode into the satnav and off we went.
Sadly, things didn’t turn out as expected. When we approached the street where accessible parking was to be located, a steward informed us that the road was closed and wasn’t going to let us go through. We found it odd when he told us to drive 10 minutes to the opposite side.
We followed with his instructions, but when we got to the entrance, we were told that we couldn’t get in there either and that accessible parking was available at Ibrox Stadium, which required a 25-minute walk to the event.
It seemed strange that accessible parking would be located so far from the event, but the steward seemed confident that it was there. As stated on the accessible information guide and the website, we made the decision to make the 10-minute journey back to the initial entrance.
We stopped along the way to talk to another steward who confirmed that we were correct. He then proceeded to speak to his boss, who radioed the staff members in charge of the accessible parking and instructed them to let us through. Even though the initial steward wasn’t particularly pleased to see us, he nevertheless allowed us to go ahead. We never found out why we weren’t initially allowed through.
When we got to the accessible parking we were surprised to see lots of empty parking spaces. Why did he refuse us entry and turn us away? He wasted 40 minutes of our night driving around, waiting in traffic and speaking to four different stewards. Not acceptable.
We were eager to get inside the event after spending so much time getting messed around with the parking. We showed our tickets and got given waistbands for the viewing platform by two lovely women from Sense Scotland. Allan was given a lanyard to show that he was a carer and allowed access to the platform.
There was a tarmac pathway from the accessible parking entrance to the grass. A hard mat was placed across the grass and led the way to the viewing platform. This was the only pathway we saw as the rest was just grass. This wasn’t a problem though as once we got to the viewing platform we didn’t move until the gig ended.
Viewing Platform Main Stage
There was a nice gradual ramp up to the viewing platform which made it easy to drive up and down. We were really happy to see how close the platform was to the stage. This made me even more excited to see Kings of Leon. Like TRNSMT festival, the viewing platform was manned by volunteers from Sense Scotland.
One of the volunteers showed us to our spot on the platform and asked if we wanted any drinks. You will know we had a little trouble with the food and drink service, or should I say lack thereof, if you read my review of the TRNSMT festival. It was great to see that the advertised drinks service was actually available this time. I must say the Sense Scotland volunteers were amazing and really helpful the entire night.
The viewing platform was positioned to the side of the stage, but we had a really good view. Not going to lie, it would have been amazing to be a little closer to the band, but it was a pretty decent view and any chance to be at a Kings of Leon gig is amazing.
Accessible toilets were at the bottom of the viewing platform and there were a few dotted around the site too. Again, from my previous event reviews like TRNSMT I have mentioned my dislike of Portakabin toilets as they aren’t very spacious for a wheelchair user and companion to fit inside safely. For this reason, I didn’t use the toilet and instead choose to restrict how much I drank so I didn’t have to use the Portakabin toilets.
I spoke to the Access Coordinator about this issue and explained the importance of Changing Places toilets and Mobiloo. I’m happy to share that the organisers have already begun looking into Mobiloo or a larger toilet block that contains a changing area to be available at their future events and festivals. Brilliant.
Kings of Leon at Glasgow Summer Sessions
It had been 5 years since the mighty Kings of Leon played Glasgow Summer Sessions at Bellahouston Park, but on this rather chilly overcast night in August, they were ready to rock ahead of their headline slots at Reading & Leeds Festivals that coming weekend.
Being the opening act for Glasgow Summer Sessions series of gigs this time around, they opened with ‘Slow Night So Long’ and honestly when I hear Caleb’s voice again it is the absolute best. He is such a talent and it flows out of him so effortlessly.
They went on to play a ton of well-known hits including Use Somebody, Mollys Chambers and Pick Up Truck. They also played some older stuff and seemed to be really enjoying themselves up there and that’s always nice to see. Kings of Leon are known for loving the Glasgow crowds and I can’t blame them.
Caleb, not really one for speaking too much to the crowd said: “It’s so good to be here tonight. We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time! It feels like a long time since we’ve been here… we think we’re going to stick around a couple of days.”
And stick around they did as they were spotted in Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s west end. They were also known to be staying at a rather grand hotel around the Loch Lomond area. If only we had bumped into them. Maybe next time (I wish).
They played for around 1 hour 40 mins and as always when we see them, time flies and before we know it, Caleb is doing his cute little goodbye waves to the crowd as he exits the stage after ending with Sex On Fire.
Final Thoughts on Glasgow Summer Sessions
This was my second time at Glasgow Summer Sessions and both times were for Kings of Leon. Overall, I thought there was excellent wheelchair accessibility, but I’m excited to see how things will change next year, particularly with regard to the Changing Places toilets and Mobiloo. If these services are provided, I believe more disabled people will want to attend. I truly didn’t expect anything less than the incredible performance from Kings of Leon. Let’s hope it won’t take too long for them to return. I’m already looking forward to seeing the 2019 Glasgow Summer Sessions lineup.
Have you been to Glasgow Summer Sessions in a wheelchair? What did you think of the wheelchair accessibility?
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TRNSMT Festival In A Wheelchair | Accessibility Review
Rocking and a ‘Rolling’ good time at BST Hyde Park 2017
My Top 5 Best And Most Memorable Gigs Of 2017