I’m back at home this evening after a great weekend. I’ve been thinking about some of the big and small acts of kindness that made it easier for me to enjoy the festival. Here are my top five heroes:
Two Mystery Men
Following our epic battle to reach the main stage last night my wheel chair was very muddy. I was also desperate for the toilet. The only toilet not floating in a sea of mud was backstage. The security guys were lovely and let me in. A huge tour bus was in the way and meant I had to get out of my chair and walk, with support, to the Portaloo.
When I came back, two men were poking the mud out from the wheels of my chair. I found this incredibly touching and thanked them profusely. They even gave us a poker so we could keep up their good work later on.
My Pushers, Pullers, Lifters and Lifts
Getting around was a real struggle but a great many friends and strangers stepped in to lend a hand. I can’t count the number of people who stopped to give me a push, a pull or literally a lift. Towards the end, when moving about on foot went from tricky to impossible, we flagged down lots of festival staff moving about in vehicles. To everyone who stopped, thank you.
The Accessible Camping Team
It was wonderful to benefit from all the thought that the access team had put into ensuring we had everything we needed to have a good time. They made sure I had a tarpaulin to protect my chair form rain, access to a clean(ish) Portaloo with a seat I could sit on, and any extra help when I needed it. Without this it would’ve been impossible for me to take part. Many festivals don’t bother about the access needs of disabled people at all, I’m glad that Secret Garden Party did – it makes a big difference.
The Driver Who Got Us Out
The driver who picked us up this morning to take us and all our stuff to the car park was an example of someone who went above and beyond what they needed to do. Not only did she get us to the car, she also got the car itself out of the mud with a mix of brute force and expertise. Without her help it would’ve taken hours to get away.
The biggest heroes of the festival for me were my amazing support team: Poppy, Zoë, Fat Sister and Keir. Thank you for all your energy and laughter, for all the ploughing backwards and forwards and for the sitting around. You gave me fantastic, if occasionally drunken, support, and I’m so glad you made it possible for me to share the weekend with you.