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Wireless Festival Experience ‘Upsetting’ For Disabled Fans

July 6, 2022

Disabled ticketholders have described their experience at Wireless Festival as “disheartening and a waste of time and money”.

The three-day event at Crystal Palace over the weekend featured the likes of A$AP Rocky and J. Cole.

But wheelchair users were faced with steep hills, rough gravel and obscured views of the stage.

“I just am really tired of feeling like a second-class citizen,” Katouche Goll tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“We were stuck on the platform. It was windy, it was cold and it took them an hour to provide seating for us up there on the first day.”

The ticket cost the 25-year-old – who has cerebral palsy – more than £200 and she feels it was “a waste”.

‘Sad and upsetting’

Katouche was there with her friend Lexi who says “it felt like a struggle” trying to navigate the “potholes, gravel and steep hills”.

She describes “bad pathways and flooring” throughout, which were “mostly for go karts, not wheelchair users”, and not “a very good ramp” when she got to the viewing platform.

The music fans say the more they got on to the festival site, “the worse the access was”.

Lexi’s wheelchair has an attachment which makes it easier to go through rough and bad surfaces, but she was still unable “to go up the ramp because it didn’t have grip”.

And at a second viewing platform, her view was obscured by “a tree right in front of us”.

Lexi credits a security guard for making “a little area for us so we can see the stage”, but feels provisions should have been there “in the first instance”.

“It’s very sad and upsetting. We wanted to celebrate together with our friends, so for us to go there and be so far away from other people, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience at all for us.”

Katouche says staff members were not able to give directions towards the accessible entrance.

She feels most of the workers were “completely unbothered, incompetent, somewhat hostile to any sort of request we have”.

Lexi says previous Wireless Festivals were “well-organised” with access guides and information sent beforehand.

But the pair feel organisers need “consultations with people who are disabled”.

Both Lexi and Katouche will be at Finsbury Park for Wireless next weekend, and are hoping things will improve.

The festival’s organisers Live Nation and Festival Republic have not yet responded to Newsbeat’s request for comment, but they have offered a refund to Lexi.

In an email to her, they say they “fell below” normal standards and apologised for the experience.

“We do hope this experience does not put you off attending one of our festivals in the future where hopefully you are able to have a more positive experience and judge us in a better light.”

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