THE BLOG

VIP at Glastonbury

05/07/2017 14:08 BST | Updated 05/07/2017 14:08 BST

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It's now more than a week since I arrived home from Worthy Farm, exhausted and in need of a good shower, but exhilarated.

It was my first time at Glastonbury and it was by far one of the best experiences of my life - all thanks to the effort organisers had put into making it accessible.

I'm registered blind, and usually rely on my amazing guide dog, Bass, to help me get around. But music festivals aren't really his cup of tea so I left him and my trusty white cane at home and explored the site with the help of my husband, Tom, who was given a free ticket as my guide.

By registering in advance with the Glastonbury team, I was given a special wristband which gave me access to dedicated toilets and showers, shuttle buses around the festival, viewing platforms and secret walkways, helping to avoid the crowds and get between stages. I felt like a VIP in the usual sense instead of a Visually Impaired Person!

I was there to represent the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) - the Festival's official health charity partner - so I arrived on-site before the gates opened. This was fantastic as it meant that I could explore the site with no crowds to get through, helping me create a mental picture of the festival. The site was vast and the ground uneven, so I was glad I'd packed some sturdy footwear as I walked miles every day exploring.

Now the downside. The crowds were overwhelming at times, especially when leaving a busy stage, but I soon found that if I waited 10 minutes, the human traffic settled down and we were able to make our escape using the short cuts set aside for those of us with accessibility wristbands.

My wristband also meant that I could use special toilets around the site, which was fantastic as the normal long-drop toilets are difficult for me to negotiate with my limited useful vision. Plus they can be absolutely disgusting! This was definitely one of the biggest perks - the accessible toilets were always clean and kept locked and there was a real sense of community amongst those of us using them.

And whilst my nights were filled with the likes of Noisia, Major Lazer and Ed Sheeran, by day I hung out at RNIB's tent, encouraging people to have a go at Eye Test Karaoke, putting their sight to the test whilst singing along to their favourite songs. It was great fun, but with a serious message behind it, encouraging festival-goers to have their eyes tested every two years and look after their sight.

Having sight loss doesn't mean that you can't get your rave on at music festivals with your friends this summer. All you need is a little forward planning.

If you're blind or partially sighted and going to a music festival this summer, check out RNIB's top tips and have a blast!