After my first proper festival experience at the amazing BST Hyde Park last year, I was keen to go to another one. When we saw the lineup for TRNSMT in Glasgow we decided to go for it. TRNSMT took place over two weekends and we went on the first Friday, 29th June. It was a sunny warm day in Glasgow which was so nice, even though the weather did change a bit that night. Having never been to this festival before I was a little unsure what the accessibility would be like, but also really excited. Here is my wheelchair access review of TRNSMT festival.
Booking Accessible Tickets
I was invited along to TRNSMT to write about my experience, so I can’t really comment on what the accessible ticket booking process was like. However, my friend and fellow disabled blogger, Claire of ‘A Journey In My Wheels’ (pictured in the photo below) will be able to give you the full lowdown on the ticket booking process as she was also at TRNSMT.
Before the festival, I had read the accessibility information on TRNSMT website and there was also an Accessibility Information Guide in PDF format. It was twelve pages of access information including where to park. Accessible Parking was located near the East Entrance between Binnie Place and Arcadia Street. This area was closed for public access so there were barriers and stewards checking that people had Blue Badges in order to enter.
Entrance To TRNSMT
Once we had parked up we headed towards the East Entrance and spoke to a steward who pointed us in the right direction for the Accessibility lane. We then approached the steward from the Customer Access Team and gave our names. We showed our tickets and explained we were to collect our access wristbands and carer lanyard for Allan. The steward checked the long list of names, but ours wasn’t there. Thankfully, he let us through anyway, but our names should have been on the list.
There were people from the charity, Sense Scotland at the entrance and dotted around the festival as well as on the viewing platform offering advice and directions. We headed through on the tarmacked path and made our way straight to the Main Stage viewing platform. The entrance to the Main Stage viewing platform was 350 metres and a list of the other distances was provided on the accessibility guide.
Main Stage Viewing Platform
We arrived during Jessie J’s set and straightaway we noticed how big the viewing platform was. I drove up the ramp where we were greeted by stewards and volunteers from Sense Scotland. They took us to our space which was roughly 5-6 rows back from the front of the viewing platform. It was okay but the view was restricted quite a bit. The viewing platform was positioned at an angle to the stage which meant we had a side-on view of the stage. There was also a large festival flag placed right bang in the middle of the big screen (closest to our platform). I felt this was poorly thought out and made it more difficult to see what was happening on stage. Especially as our view of the stage was restricted and we were relying on the big screen, but unfortunately, that didn’t work out for us.
Food/Drink Platform Service
On the TRNSMT website, it states that a food and drink service was going to be available for the platform users to enjoy. This is a fantastic service to offer accessible platform users. BST Hyde Park also offers a drinks service. By having this service available, it really makes life easier for the person with the disability and the people with them whether that’s friends, family or carers. If this service is available, of course, I’m going to make use of it! Sometimes there is a thought in the back of my mind that it’s maybe too good to be true until I can experience it for real.
However, when we asked a platform steward to use the food and drinks service, she told us we were wrong and that it did not exist. She had no clue what we were talking about. We insisted that it was on the website and the TRNSMT app. She was adamant we were wrong, so she went to speak to someone else. Another woman came over to us and insisted the food and drinks service did not exist. We felt like liars so we showed them the information on the TRNSMT app so they could see it in black and white for themselves. Again she said, “it didn’t exist, but even if you are right, the bar staff are too busy at the bars to come and take drink orders”.
We insisted that it clearly states on the website/app that the service would be available so it should be provided as it was not our issue that they have not employed enough staff. Again disabled people being at a disadvantage. It was like we were an afterthought that they would fit in if they could find the time. It wasn’t good enough!
A supervisor then came over with a few bar staff and asked to take our drinks order. We again explained it is food and drink, looking confused they tell us no. They get the supervisor to come over and she has an unhelpful attitude. She abruptly tells us there is no food just drinks. We ask her why it has been advertised as being available when it clearly isn’t, but she couldn’t answer.
In the end, the original (lovely) platform steward says she would go and get our food. She should never have had to do that, but she did it to be nice and to help. The point is that we wanted to use the advertised food and drinks service as it was unique and helpful. I wanted to review how good it was to show festival organisers how beneficial it is to offer it and show disabled festival goers how great it is. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out and I didn’t get a true experience of how it should be done.
King Tuts Viewing Platform
We watched Pale Waves from the King Tuts viewing platform. It was a lot smaller than the Main Stage platform, but it was absolutely brilliant. There was only one other wheelchair user when we arrived on the platform for Pales Waves. This platform had a much more relaxed feel so we sat and enjoyed our vegan pizzas. Amazing!
As I mentioned earlier, the festival had very good wheelchair accessibility with flat pathways throughout the festival grounds. I didn’t have any problems getting around the festival and mainly stuck to the paths. A lot of people walked and sat on the grassy areas so there was always plenty of space to manoeuvre on the wide pathways.
One of the things that used to put me off going to festivals was the issue of having to use an outdoor toilet. Festival toilets are known for not being the cleanest and they are usually the tiny Portakabin style toilets. The accessible toilets at TRNSMT were Portakabin toilets. They were blocked off so that only the accessible viewing platform users could use them, which is great.
Unfortunately, I didn’t actually use the toilets so I can’t fully comment on the accessibility inside the Portakabin toilet. However, even though they had the wheelchair symbol on the door, I personally think I would have struggled to fit inside with my powerchair. Let alone having someone inside with me to assist. They looked very small. There were about eight accessible toilets at the viewing platform and I think there was possibly a few scattered around the festival as well. It would be amazing to see a Mobiloo, a mobile changing places toilet, the next time at this festival.
We were mainly there to see Pale Waves, James Bay and Kodaline. Pale Waves stole the show on the King Tuts stage though. They are full of charisma and personality while their live sound is spot on (even for an outdoor gig). We loved them so much we bought tickets for their show in Manchester at 1am when we arrived home that night morning.
James Bay was good too. We have seen him a few times over the years and he always has a superb live sound. He managed to stick on tartan trousers too. Kodaline and The Script were also great.
Stereophonics were headlining and were pretty good. We saw the first half of their set before leaving as it started blowing a gale. We were frozen solid!
Watch What We Got Up To At TRNSMT Festival
TRNSMT festival at Glasgow Green was great and had very good accessibility. The viewing platforms, especially the main stage viewing platform was large and was able to accommodate lots of people. The platform wasn’t even full and there was still lots of space left. There was plenty of accessible toilets, but whether they were truly accessible I will never know. It would have been great to see a changing places toilet like what BST Hyde Park had. I have my fingers crossed for next years festival. Would I go to TRNSMT 2019? Yes, if the lineup was good, I would definitely go back.
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*I received Press Accreditation to attend this festival to review accessibility. My opinions, as always, are entirely my own.