Able Magazine was lucky enough to talk to Accessibility co-ordinator, Amy Kirkman who is organising the accessibility at this year’s Boomtown Fair, taking place from Thursday 9th August to Sunday 12th August 2018 in Hampshire. We spoke to Amy about the features they have in place to make the festival inclusive to all and plans for the future to increase accessibility.
We understand that Boomtown works with GAMA Access Areas CIC to provide facilities and support. How do you feel this benefits people with disabilities attending Boomtown?
We work very closely with GAMA who provide the amazing support and facilities for both our public and crew who have accessibility requirements. The team manage The Meadow, which is our accessible
camping area, and bring their invaluable experience and first-hand knowledge of what challenges disabled festival goers will face from the moment they arrive, through to their camping experience, individual requirements throughout their stay with us, and make sure their general needs are met across the festival site as a whole.
2. What is ‘The Meadow’ at Boomtown and how does it prepare for the arrival and individual requirements of different disabilities?
The Meadow is our accessible camping and campervan area for people with disabilities who require
specific support throughout the festival and their families and friends. The team that is based in The
Meadow aims to make contact with all residents in advance to discuss their individual needs and answer any specific queries or concerns that may arise before arrival.
We have accessible parking available that is a short distance from the campsite, and within the campsite wide-access toilets and shower facilities, a staffed wheelchair charging facility. Refrigeration for medicine is available on request and we have a dedicated team of staff on site to help with any queries. We have a fully operational hospital on site and ambulance access.
3. Do you have crew on hand to help with practical tasks such as putting up tents?
Yes! The Meadow team are on hand to help with this.
4. What facilities do you provide at Boomtown for wheelchair users? Does this cover accessible parking, toilets and shower facilities?
Yes, we have accessible parking and access to wide-access toilets across site, with wide-access showers
in The Meadow campsite. We also have 5 viewing platforms across site, which can be found at our main stages. Boomtown is a big site, so we also have a wheelchair accessible taxi service from The Meadow to Downtown and back and a drop off/pick up service from the Gate on Thursday and Monday. There is a electric charging point at The Meadow for residents but also for people who are camping elsewhere on site to use if they would like to. All we ask is that customers contact us directly to let us know what they need so we can arrange that in advance of their arrival.
5. Do you offer free tickets to the event for carers and personal assistants?
Yes we do! We offer one free carer ticket for visitors who need additional support on site.
6. This year we understand you are working with Deaf Events UK and Deaf Zone to provide support for deaf and hearing impaired visitors across the site. Can you explain what this will involve at the festival?
Deaf Events UK are on site for their first year, providing British Sign Language interpretation according to a schedule of performances. Visitors can request a signer via Deaf Zone HQ at The Meadow or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s our first year so very much in the trial phase! We hope to improve BSL provision in next few years.
7. Will there be transport available around the site?
The Meadow campsite is centrally located in Hilltop and close to the soulful Whistlers Green and The Lion’s Den, one of our main stages where headliners including Gorillaz and Jimmy Cliff will be performing. We want our visitors to get the most out of their Boomtown experience and see as much as they can and we provide a wheelchair accessible taxi service from The Meadow campsite into Downtown at set times over the weekend.
8. What are the ground conditions like?
It’s a very large greenfield site with a lot of hills. If the public want to see everything we have on offer then there’s a lot of ground to cover. Whilst the ground is generally firm and we have a lot of hard road routes around site, and a dedicated taxi service, visitors should bear in mind that bad weather conditions can make going difficult and let me say again, it is very hilly!
9. What viewing platforms and areas do you have available at the festival?
So that we can make sure everyone is able to enjoy the full breadth of our line-up we have five viewing
platforms across the festival. We have positioned these at each of our main stages including Bang Hai,
Lion’s Den, Old Mines, Town Centre, the Windmill stage and Sector 6. Each platform has wheelchair
charing facilities and a wide-access toilet nearby.
10. Will strobe lighting be used at Boomtown?
Boomtown is as much about theatrical shows and performance as it is about the music and in some
districts and on certain main stages, strobe lighting may be used throughout some shows. We endeavour to sign post this clearly wherever possible.
11. Do you feel that Boomtown is about to provide support for a range of both hidden and physical disabilities or do you feel there is still more to be done? If so what are your plans for the future?
As with everything I think there is always more to be done. We are passionate about live music and
bringing that magic to as many people as we can. I believe that there is so much that can be done across the festival industry as a whole and making Boomtown as inclusive and accessible as we can is a huge priority for us. We have worked hard to improve the facilities that we provide and to welcome as many people as possible. Key to that is reviewing how effective the measures we have in place are. Informed feedback is everything and this year we are working in partnership with Attitude is Everything and hoping to achieve their Bronze award!