'We're sooo far from the stage': disabled activist slams Wireless Fest

‘We’re sooo far from the stage’: Activist slams Wireless Festival for distant disabled area, ‘rude’ staff and ‘second-class treatment’

  • Festivalgoer Katouche Goll, 25, appalled by poor organisation at London event
  • Disabled ticketholders sent to chair-less viewing platform miles away from stage
  • Katouche tells MailOnline: ‘I’m only going back today so I’m not wasting money’
  • Activist complained and asked for refund 48 hours ago – and has heard nothing

A disabilities campaigner lambasted her ‘second-class’ treatment at Wireless Festival this weekend as she demanded a refund for the ‘terrible’ organisation.

Londoner Katouche Goll, 25, was carried on her sister’s back between stages as her wheelchair could not move on the arena’s gravel surface.

And when her disability wristband granted Katouche and her companion access to a special stage, a staff member ‘pushed’ them back in an effort to block their entry.

She told MailOnline: ‘They insisted I wasn’t disabled. 

‘I had already shown my wristband to a member of staff beforehand, but we were stopped from getting through.’

Katouche pointed at the distant stage (left), stating she felt ‘Sooo far away’ from the event. And right: Goll’s sister puts her belongings on the only chair they were given on the plastic stage

Londoner Katouche, 25, said she attends gigs at Wembley and elsewhere – without issues

Disabled ticketholders were forced to make their way up a steep hill just to reach the venue’s accessibility entrance close to Crystal Palace station.

And when they finally arrived, Katouche and pals had to wait to be escorted to their designated safe zone.

Unforeseeable: Katouche was hugely disappointed by the ‘terrible’ treatment and view

‘By the time someone came to collect us, the music had already started. 

‘Then they were difficult about how many people in our group could enter the accessible area.’

Katouche, who has cerebral palsy, said: ‘And nothing could have prepared us for what we met when we arrived.’

The disabled area appears to be hundreds of metres from the main stage, according to videos taken by Ms Goll. 

She tweeted: ‘Got us sooo far from the stage.

‘The viewing area is so high so it’s windier and our stuff is flying away. And of course we can’t go after it.’

Katouche also said that a random reveller strolled up to the disabled area and vomited on the platform stairs.

‘Staff have been clueless and in some cases facetious’, she told MailOnline.

Katouche took to Twitter to air her grievances – but not a single change was made on Saturday

‘The only reason I’m going back today is because I paid for my ticket and don’t want to have wasted my money if I don’t get a refund.’

Katouche told MailOnline she is going back today to see Tyler the Creator – but doesn’t have her hopes up for any differences

After Katouche filed a staff complaint and tweeted about the accessibility issues at Friday lunchtime, she was hoping adjustments might be made in time for her return.

But Ms Goll told MailOnline: ‘When we came back on Saturday, no accommodations or adjustments were made.

‘There were no differences at all. 

‘I don’t expect anything to be different today.’

Katouche has asked for a refund on weekend ticket, which cost between £250 and £300. She is awaiting a response.

Twitter users largely backed Katouche’s complaints, chiming in with their solidarity

‘We haven’t heard anything. It’s been a really tiring experience’, Katouche added.

She regularly attends gigs at major venues including Wembley Stadium, but was taken aback by the poor treatment at Crystal Palace.

Katouche said: ‘I even went to Wireless a few times when it was at Finsbury Park and never had an issue like this.

‘There is a lot of work to be done, especially on the urban music scene. People only imagine one one type of a disabled person, but we come in all forms.

‘Equitable treatment is not a favour. It’s a human right.’ 

Wireless and organisers Festival Republic have been contacted for comment.

Adele was praised for stopping her BST Hyde Park gig on Friday evening no fewer than four times in order for passed out revellers to receive medical help.

Paul McCartney also did the same at Glastonbury, where disability access was widely praised.

US rapper Tyler the Creator will headline Wireless tonight after J Cole took the lead spot yesterday, following A$AP Rocky’s star appearance on Friday night.

Next weekend, Wireless moves to Finsbury Park, with Cardi B, SZA and Nicki Minaj set to headline.

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