Glastonbury 2024

Hi lovelies, 

I am just about feeling whole again after returning from Glastonbury. I love the festival but wonder if I am getting too old for it. Then when I am there, I feel 21 again! I guess it is much like giving birth, you somehow forget the pain when you hold your child and are so full of joy!

I want to share with you a little of my 2024 Glastonbury experience so please read on for some new insights.  

Firstly, it felt a little strange as it was the first time since 2007 that I went without my usual Glastonbury crowd. I didn’t have my immediate family with me this time. After the challenges I faced at Glastonbury 2022 I wanted to see if it was my sight loss that stood in the way of my experience and if I were to ever feel the same again about the festival.  

Looking back, when I returned in 2022, I was trying to be the best mum to Dylan, conscious of his enjoyment all the time whilst also managing the sensory overload I was experiencing alongside the emotions I felt about being back with no sight. The sensory element was the same this year but with fewer other pressures. I absolutely loved having my son there for the first time but there was also a lot of sadness around the year being the first without sight. I know I have difficulty with the first time of anything after losing my sight. As difficult as it was, I will always cherish that I got to share Dylan’s first Glastonbury with him.

Nina with her sister and friend at Glastonbury. Huddled together wearing sunglasses.

This year it was a different feeling. I wasn’t responsible for anyone but myself, well almost. My sister came with me, and it was her first experience of Glastonbury too but at least she was an adult and was there to support me too. I felt a little caught between the past and the future. Being with a friend I have attended in the past drew me to past experiences of the festival whilst being there with my sister who was new to it pulled us to the future. Then there was how I wanted to experience the festival as the new, present version of myself. Experiencing it sober with time in the healing fields and doing more of the interactive things, such as dance classes, watching comedy sets and cabaret. I believe the pull between the past, present and future is difficult and is something I am working on constantly.  

This year was the first time I saw extra support and services for blind and partially sighted people which was good to see, excuse the pun! This year the accessible facilities had visual guides available for booking so if you or a member of your party that supported you needed a break, they would take you to whatever show or area you wished to visit. They would describe the areas or show in live time and guide you around the madness that is the Glastonbury crowd. The app this year was a lot more accessible using VoiceOver on the iPhone but still has a long way to go, I think. None of the images had alt tag descriptions so leading up to and during the festival when they had news announcements with images I felt left out of that excitement because I didn’t know what the image was. Every festival you get a tote bag with a program which has never been accessible, and I wasn’t made aware off an accessible or audio version even if there was one.  

I got chatting with one of the visual guides and he was saying it was a new initiative and that they were open to ideas and feedback from blind and partially sighted festival goers. I will be sharing my ideas! He also said they were planning on prerecorded audio descriptions with QR codes at each area so that when scan you could access the audio in your own time. This I think is a great step forward but maybe could have a few weeks such as Navi Lens codes or downloadable audio as part of the app because QR codes are not accessible in there own right.  

There are still challenges to navigate, such as when I tripped on the walkway and twisted my ankle, which wasn’t two bad after some rest and ice while listening to Kasabian. I think there will always be obstacles and emotions to face when visiting Glastonbury. Much like most things in my life, I need to adapt and use the tools I have developed over the last six years. As I become more comfortable in my new skin and really begin to build on my confidence, I look forward to enjoying Glastonbury with a greater sense of freedom and independence. If the forward thinking continues with the festival organising team, then who knows maybe I can attend solo alone one year, eek!  

Until then I truly enjoy spending time my loved ones and sharing this amazing part of the world. I really do feel at home when I am in the fields even if I can’t see them. 

Thank you for reading about my journey to Glastonbury. If you have an experience to share please do comment below.  

I look forward to my next trip, hopefully in a camper van as I need my comforts. I’m also thinking about an art project I would love to house in the accessible fields so keep an eye on or ear out for news about that! 

Sending love  

Nina xx 


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