Reading Festival has reached gold status on Attitude is Everything's Charter of Best Practice, after increasing deaf and disabled participation by 91% in three years
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The 'UK's friendliest festival' marked its 16th birthday with 100,000 fans and a gold award for its improvements for disabled fans
By Molly Long on 11 Jun 2018
Download festival 2018 was the most socially and environmentally conscious in the event’s history. As has come to be expected, event organiser Festival Republic put together a star-studded line up, but it was the festival’s commitment to accessibility and sustainability that stood out as particularly noteworthy this year.
Organisers this year added viewing platforms to each stage and increased shuttle bus services to and from the campsite for disabled fans. 18 performances were also interpreted in British Sign Language and an on request service was available. These commitments did not go unnoticed, and Download was awarded the gold standard of Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice.
Download’s achievement over the weekend makes it only the third festival over 80,000 capacity to do so. Glastonbury Festival was the first, while Reading Festival, also organised by Festival Republic, was second to achieve the gold standard in 2017. Gideon Feldman, head of programmes and business development at the organisation says: “The commitment Download have shown to accessibility and inclusion clearly sits at the heart of the festival.
“Download deserves to be recognised for the outstanding work they have shown this year and over the past years”
“The commitment Download have shown to accessibility and inclusion clearly sits at the heart of the festival.”
Alongside headline acts Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osbourne, guests at this year’s festival also experienced Download’s new green initiatives. As festivals around the world strive to reduce their environmental impact, Download chose to introduce incentive schemes for guests. The introduction of Co-op-sponsored ‘reverse recycling’ vending machines, where fans could earn cash rewards for recycling their plastic, was one of these initiatives.
2018 also saw the launch of the festival’s first eco campsite, sponsored by Greenpeace. Campers in the eco campsite had to agree to a set of principles which included taking all rubbish and camping equipment home with them and respecting the natural environment. The move was a success, with the campsite at full capacity throughout the weekend.
With such a successful weekend, fans and performers alike were suitably impressed. Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan summed up the excitement from the event in a tweet:
Yo @DownloadFest …I am utterly speechless. Thank you guys…youve been there from the very beginning. F#CK!!
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) June 9, 2018
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