On 22 July I went to Splendour music festival in Nottingham. It was held in Wollaton Park, in the grounds of Wollaton Hall.
The accessibility of the grounds was pretty good as there were a couple of paths running across the site which connected the disabled viewing platforms for the main stages. The rest of the site was grassland, on which deer usually roamed, and it wasn’t too hard to drive over in my Powerchair. There were a few gentle hills but nothing too troublesome; I just had to look out for the occasional deer droppings!
Going up a grassy hill probably would have been more difficult in my manual chair though. Luckily for my carer my Powerchair came back to me the day before the festival after spending three months away getting repaired.
There were a number of different stages with different things going on. The main stage had the headline bands playing and was where most of the 30,000 people in attendance congregated. Then there were a couple of other smaller stages for up-and-coming bands and also a comedy stage. So there was a decent variety of things going on.
The festival started at midday and after wandering around the site looking at everything I decided to stop at one of the smaller stages. A student band was playing called Easy Life who were pretty good, although the lead singer had a very questionable haircut.
I have to give a special mention to the food though. I had some shredded chicken with Moroccan spices and basmati rice which was delicious! It was much better than typical burger that I was expecting to find. There was a great variety of food and for dinner I had a stone baked pizza which was very nice. It did get a bit soggy when I was trying to eat it in the rain but it was still good.
Now if you’ve ever seen Glastonbury you will know that music festivals tend to be rainy and muddy, and Splendour was no exception!
From 12 to about 4 PM it was dry and bright and rather pleasant. However, from 4 PM until the festival closed at 11 PM it chucked it down relentlessly. I had a waterproof poncho to put over me which managed to keep most of the rain out initially. But water still managed to get in and I was decidedly damp by the end of it.
I’m not complaining though because some people got even wetter than I did and didn’t have any waterproofs at all. Anyway, the rain couldn’t stop most of us from having a good time. Although I did read afterwards that some people left even before the main bands came on because they couldn’t cope with the rain.
Out of the main headliners I saw Tony Hadley, a bit of Busted, a bit of Billy Ocean, a smidgen of Gabrielle Aplin, and the main event Kaiser Chiefs.
I thought Tony Hadley was great as he sang some of the old favourites from Spandau Ballet. I went and got a pizza when Busted were on as they are not my sort of thing. Considering this was supposed to be a family festival it was disappointing that Busted insisted on swearing at every opportunity. For example saying things like “How are you f*****g doing?”; there was no need for it as there were kids present.
Kaiser Chiefs were brilliant though and were well worth spending seven hours in the pouring rain. They had everyone bouncing and singing along to hits like “I Predict a Riot” and “Never Miss a Beat.” Their lead singer is totally mad and was very entertaining to watch. He must have been high or something because he wouldn’t stand still. If he wasn’t running all over the stage he was climbing on top of the drum set whilst singing the songs.
At one point he climbed off the stage and jumped into the crowd, and it took at least five minutes to get him back out again. I didn’t realise what was happening at first as the rest of the band had stopped playing and they seemed to be waiting for something. Then on the big screen they showed the lead singer crowd surfing back to the front of the crowd. It was very amusing!
The biggest disappointment of the whole thing was that there weren’t enough disabled toilets. At each stage there was a disabled viewing platform on which over 20 people were sat. And they only had one disabled toilet at each platform, which is obviously not enough when it’s being shared by 20 people.
Every time I needed to use the toilet there was a queue of at least four or five people, so we had to wait, which is not what you want to do. Plus able-bodied people were using the toilet as well, not just disabled people, which added to my frustration.
There were lots of toilets for able-bodied people but only a very small number for disabled people. I contacted the organisers to tell them about it, so hopefully next year they will have more than one at each platform.
Overall, I enjoyed the festival. The music was good, especially Kaiser Chiefs, and some others. The food was very nice and there was a great variety of it. It’s just a shame that there was so much rain and we all got wet, but I guess it’s traditional at a music festival! Now, I look forward to my next festival which is Lost Village which starts on 24 August.