Georgia, a white female in how electric wheelchair in a very muddy rain cover at a festival. She is wearing glasses and has brunette hair with blonde highlights and is wearing a floral headband.
Cerebral Palsy

My Tramlines 2023 Experience

Hello! Firstly, before we get into this blog apologies for the slight delay – I am back doing regular posts I promise. I’ve just had some leave and then book edits came up right before leave which was so exciting. Yet, it was hard a spoon levels whilst I was trying to tie my loose ends up at work before leave as well. I really am the worst disabled person in the world for pacing myself and to top it all off I squeezed in a festival. I understand my privilege to be able to do this but I will admit I write this blog after doing nothing for 3 days. But sometimes as chronically ill spoonies, we choose to make memories and then flop later it’s a tough decision but personally, there are times when making memories and having different experiences comes first. 

Anyway, Tramlines 2023, last year was the first year I attended Tramlines.

Read here My Tramlines 2022 Experience.

In last year’s post, I wrote how nervous I was about accessibility on the lead-up to Tramlines, yet, I was put at ease by the access team at the event – you will read in last year’s post that there was a few teething problems but nothing major. So, again when I received my access pack 2-weeks before the event this year I was feeling pretty comfortable about it all. I was even quite impressed with the new improvements made this year, such as the located access gate and accessible car park which were going to be closer together this year, more space on the viewing platforms and a sensory area. As you can imagine this email was so nice to read and gave me goosebumps I also remembered that a bigger viewing platform was one of my recommendations last year so I was feeling ready for Tramlines 2023. 

However, I soon found out that some of these new changes although made sense on paper logistically didn’t work. Friday came and I decided to walk as we were only going to go for a few hours so I would just stay seated on the access platforms – also because we were running late, which I recognise my privilege to be able to do this. The first event we made, just in time, was Cian Ducrot – amazing, loved every second, what a talented performer. Singing, playing piano, guitar, and flute, what a show he put on. Cian played the T’other stage and my first thought was how the access platform wasn’t any bigger than last year.  But, this wasn’t the main stage, it was slightly disappointing but I had more exploring to do before I made a judgement. Yet, the day after I couldn’t get onto the same platform to see Katy B – I caused quite some chaos as other security thought there was room yet those manning it wouldn’t let me on despite others saying there was room and it being much fuller at other events during the weekend. 

Next finding the access reception to check in – yes, a huge thank you to security who let us on the access platform without our bands from showing him the email.  Cian was the act I was looking forward to the most so I didn’t want to miss out – although this would have been on us time-wise. The access reception was located at the side of the main stage near the accessible entrance, lowered bar and the bigger viewing platform for the main stage. On paper, it works right and sounds great. But logistically battling your way through the biggest crowd was a nightmare! I will be honest and say I do think we would have been able to go around the park yet either way you were in the middle of a big crowd. Last year the access reception was on its own and although I get why having everything together is better, as obviously the viewing platforms are in the crowds yet, it was less of a sensory overload having the reception out of the way and not on the grass and the MUD. 

Now, I know as said last year, Tramlines have  The Gold Status Tramlines have by Attitude is Everything and in terms of the access team I couldn’t fault them for being very caring and considerate I liked that they took your order whilst you were on the access platform at the main stage this year so you didn’t need to move. But oh my, the mud!

I know, I know no one could have predicted the amount of rain we had on the lead-up to Tramlines as well as during the weekend itself as the rain did not stop all week but it would have been more accessible to have some kind of backup plan in place. It was so muddy that I couldn’t take my wheelchair on the final day again, I recognise my privilege although, we had to stay within one area Sunday as I couldn’t walk in the mud without falling. The access team did offer people a partial refund if they didn’t attend Sunday as the environment Hillsorbough Park presented us with Sunday was not fit for using any mobility aids.

As brilliant as the access team was I feel like more could be done by the whole of Tramlines not the access team to prepare yes, we didn’t expect the buckets of rain we had but we knew it was going to be far from dry.  When I say this I’m not looking at it from a disabled person’s perspective but an occupational perspective. Access is a human right therefore if a person does not have the right access this leads to occupational injustice which is denying someone to participate in an activity they wish to participate in (Durocher et al., 2013).

Look, I hate to be negative but a few more things could have been done to prepare for such circumstances. A shelter over the access platform for one, I get it this can’t be done everywhere but I can’t hold an umbrella and yeah my wheelchair cover is fantastic when I’m on the move but I can’t eat in it as I’m restricted. It’s not about making it equal it’s about making it equitable and equality doesn’t meet disabled people’s needs. 

As mentioned earlier another flaw in having all the accessibility facilities in one place with the rain meant that that was the worst place for the mud because, after a only few hours of it having heavy mobility aids on it, it was ruined. Again, having everything in one place sounds great but personally, I preferred having the access reception out of the way on the concrete last year.

I’m not an expert in what can be done to make the environment more accessible for conditions such as this but more temporary footpaths would have helped. Again, I’m saying this from the best place and I know how hard the access team worked, but let this be our lesson to prepare more for these different conditions

It was still an amazing weekend I saw some great acts the surprise act was MCFLY I’m quite a big Mcfly fan so I was in my elements and didn’t want their set to end – I’m writing this a week after and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replayed the videos, I’m still in disbelief I’ve seen them live again. I was very young the last time I saw them so I can’t remember much. I also enjoyed the Sugarbabes – the Sugarbabes were quite popular when I was growing up so it felt like quite the throwback! Lastly, we finished the weekend off with the Kaiser Chiefs who were worth the rain and were a great way to end the weekend I would say perfect but if so I would have been dry!

Overall, of course, I enjoyed my experience and I’m looking forward to 2024 but there are still improvements that can be done. I said it last year but I didn’t have time to invest in this but this would be such an exciting role-emerging placement for occupational therapy students for both the students and Tramlines to give them that occupational perspective!! Watch this space!

Thank you for reading,
Georgia x

Durocher, E., Gibson, B. E. & Rappolt, S. (2013). Occupational Justice: A Conceptual Review. Journal of Occupational Science, 21, 4, 418-430. [Online.] Retrieved from

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