On Friday, 22 September I decided to go to one last music festival to celebrate the end of summer. The festival in question was Equinox Festival, set on a farm near Grimsby in Lincolnshire.
The place was an hour’s drive away from me, which wasn’t too bad. The site used to be an old chalk quarry, and it is actually has some quite pretty scenery around. On this day the ground was pretty muddy, but some places were a lot worse than others. We parked the car in a fairly bumpy field nearby and then headed down a road to get to the main festival site.
This road was extremely muddy and I got bogged down a few times and had to be pulled out by some helpful (and strong!) passers-by. But eventually I managed to navigate my way through the muddy gauntlet to the main festival site.
The accessibility of the site overall was pretty good. However, it depends heavily on the weather. If it is sunny and warm then the ground will probably be dried solid and easy to drive on. However, if it is raining then the mud will probably be horrendous.
The main festival site was a big grassy field where the main stages and food was located. But because it used to be a quarry there were different levels to the site, with a steep hill going down to a lower level, like a series of steps. Plus, a chalk road wound its way around to the bottom giving easier access to the lower levels, where there were some more stages.
The ground in the main area was not too bad but there were patches of mud, so I had to be constantly keeping an eye out for mud pools. Luckily though I didn’t get stuck anywhere. The weather was mostly dry that day but there were a few scattered showers around which made the ground a bit softer.
The chalk road leading to the lower part of the site was quite bumpy in places as there were lots of loose rocks, but it wasn’t too bad. I even managed to get on the grass area at the end of the path that led to a campfire which was quite good.
My main concern was how I would get back to the car park at the end of the day, as I would have to go back down the muddy road again. I was really worried about getting stuck in the mud. So in order to prevent this I cleverly got my carer to go and bring the car to me, where I waited at the main gate.
Ironically, in the process of driving up to me the car itself got stuck.
We then had to wait for about an hour for someone to come and tow the car out from the mud bath. The process was made more complicated because we didn’t have a towing hook to attach to our car for some reason. Nevertheless, we eventually managed to get the car free and were finally on our way home.
In future I think it would be a lot easier if the organisers could put down temporary walkways to cover up muddy ground. This way wheelchairs would not have to run the risk of getting stuck in the mud. It hopefully would help to make the decision to attend less of a gamble.
Plus there was only one wheelchair accessible portaloo on the whole site that I could find. But, it was a big one! It had about twice the space inside that normal accessible portaloos have which was a pleasant surprise.
The next day (Saturday) I was really tired, because we didn’t get home till gone midnight and I didn’t sleep very well. Plus it was looking gloomy outside, so we decided not to go back that day.
However, the weather on Sunday 24th September was very different. It was warm, sunny and dry, so we decided to take a chance and head back to Equinox. To my huge relief the mud had completely dried out in the warm sunshine, which was a godsend.
I enjoyed Sunday a lot more than Friday simply because I didn’t have to worry about getting marooned in the mud. It’s quite stressful whenever I am driving over muddy ground as it’s like trying to negotiate a minefield. I have to constantly try and work out the safest route to take, and you never know when you’re about to get stuck. Thankfully on Sunday this was one thing I did not have to worry about.
The music was very eclectic. I saw rock bands, folk music, bongo drummers, reggae, psychedelic, and even a beatboxer. My favourite was a band called Tetchi, who play electronic psychedelic music which was really cool and entertaining. I liked them so much I even bought a T-shirt!
Check out one of their tunes:
At one point I even saw an exercise instructor on the stage guiding the audience through exercises, with dance music in the background. Most of the audience were drunk, so it was very entertaining watching them trying to do arm and leg stretches without falling over, or spilling their beer.
Equinox did have a very hippyish/new age vibe to it. There were lots of people in brightly coloured baggy trousers, sandals, and dreadlocks. Pretty much all the food options were (appropriately) vegan friendly, and it was probably one of the most eco-friendly festivals I’ve been to.
For example, there was a stage running solely on bike power. There was a row of bikes at the side of the tent and people could jump on and pedal to help power the speakers. Another stage was solar powered which was great to see. Plus I couldn’t believe how clean everywhere was. Usually at festivals there is litter everywhere, but at Equinox didn’t seem to be the case, which was refreshing. I guess the people attending have more respect for Mother Nature than the average festival goer.
On the Friday I didn’t think I was going to enjoy Equinox, purely because of the worry of getting stuck in the mud. However, on Sunday this worry had evaporated thanks to the warm sunshine. Everywhere was dried out which made things a lot easier for me to drive on.
Everyone I met was very friendly and there was a good variety of different types of music. So, would I recommend it? If you are able-bodied, then yes you should definitely check it out. But if you are a wheelchair user, like I said earlier, it depends heavily on the weather. If it’s raining it’s probably going to be very difficult. But if it’s sunny and warm than I would go for it.
Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to know what the weather is going to be like a couple of weeks beforehand when you buy the tickets. So it’s going to be a bit of a gamble regardless. But I guess that is the nature of music festivals!