Wireless festival criticised by attendees for "terrible" disability access

Many attendees at the Crystal Palace event called it a "waste" of time and money

Attendees of Wireless have taken to social media to criticise the festival's "terrible" disabled accessibility during its first weekend at Crystal Palace Park, London.

Many people have posted videos showing the disabled area far away from the stages and with limited views, as well as videos about the inaccessibility of the disabled entrance.

Taking place from July 1 to July 2 in Crystal Palace, the festival featured the likes of A$AP Rocky, J Cole and Tyler, The Creator. The festival continues next weekend from July 8 to July 10 at Finsbury Park and in Birmingham.

Read this next: A new campaign to help disabled live performers has been launched

PR and Disabled content creator Katouche was quick to point out the flaws in the disability area at Wireless Crystal Palace, showing a video of the disabled area being far away with a limited view of the main stage.

In her thread, she also points out that "no one can get their wheelchairs over the gravel. So we’re not able to move around the grounds."

She also said "the viewing area is so high so it’s windier and our stuff is flying away. And of course we can’t go after it."

When speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Katouche said "I just am really tired of feeling like a second-class citizen. 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."

Read this next: Dance music needs to be more inclusive for disabled artists, DJs and clubbers

Katouche's experience was not isolated, as she was one of many disabled attendees who were highly critical of the festival.

Twitter user Habib Cham said: "The SEGREATION was real at wireless. the accessibility was terrible for disabled users, utterly unacceptable health and safety. Festival needs to do better for EVERYONE!"

Festivalgoers were also quick to note that the view from the second stage, the Palace Stage, was blocked by a tree.

Read this next: Nightclubs need to be way more accessible for disabled clubbers

Speaking to BBC, another disabled attendee, Lexi, said that she is normally able to go up ramps and tougher surfaces because her wheelchair has an attachment, but found that the ramp to the disabled space by the Palace Stage was still too difficult for her wheelchair.

One TikTok pointed out the inaccessibility of the disabled entrance for wheelchair users, showing that there were several sloped roads and ramps to get to the disabled attendees' entrance.

"Can we talk about the disability entrance?" it starts. "If you have a wheelchair, what the hell, you have to go all the way up these hills and all the way through these gates."

This has also prompted some people to decide not to go to the event. One Twitter user said that they had a ticket for the Sunday of Wireless (July 3) but "decided not to go" after seeing the tweets about how inaccessible it is.

They tweeted: "I am disabled and was meant to go tomorrow as well but have decided to give my two tickets to my sister instead because this is just not okay. What is the point in claiming that you can give access if you’re just providing an experience for disabled people to be isolated."

Read this next: Musicians feel that they cannot disclose their non visible disabilities, according to new study

As seen by the BBC, Wireless responded to an email by one attendee asking for a refund. They said they apologise for "falling below" normal standards.

The email reads, in part, "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."

Mixmag has reached out to Wireless for comment.

**Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on* Twitter*