Features Festivals

Festival Preview: Castlepalooza 2015

31 July – 2 August, 2015
Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

Castlepalooza is, by far, the most fun festival I’ve ever gone to in Ireland. It’s small so it has more of a house party feel to it. Apologies, an extravagant castle party feel. The line-up this year is particularly excellent as ‘palooza is turning 10! Oh, how fast they grow. Now, in terms of access, Castlepalooza is very easy to manage. They have no specific accessible camping areas but because of the size of the site, the staff are there to help you find the camping spot that suits you best. I always camp in Castle Camping, on the edge of the grassy area so I don’t have mud, tent poles or ropes to battle with.

There’s a DIY element to the access here which means you can assess what suits you, as an individual, the best. I prefer this side of things because, unlike bigger festivals, you’re not debating with security or the festival organisers. You say what you need here and you will get it. I have nothing but praise and a big, throbbing love for this festival so if you’re going here in a wheelchair, make sure you state your case and know what you need to do to make your weekend as deadly as possible.


What has it got?

Line up: Aeroplane, Alex Metric, Of Montreal, Hercules and the Love Affair, Fight Like Apes, Jape, Buffalo Woman, CLU, Columbia Mills, Elephant, Handsome Paddy, Hare Squead, I Have a Tribe, Overhead The Albatross and many, many more.

Size: Small. You could do a lap of the main festival arena and a glory lap in the space of five minutes. If you include Castle and Moat Camping, it would be 15 minutes, with time to chatter along the way.

Terrain: The grounds of the castle have a light gravel so in by the main stage is really easy to manage. The courtyard has cobblestones, which are the number one enemy of wheelchair users. Castle Camping is grassy but there’s a layer of rock and stone near the surface so it doesn’t get too muddy. Moat Camping is in a field so the grass is a bit longer so it might be a bit muddy if the weather stays this way.

Mud: The main area will have a light ~dusting of mud but it’s totally conquerable. Be warned, there will be puddles. The majority of the mud will be out in Moat Camping so if you’re in a wheelchair and camping, aim for Castle Camping.

castle map

Viewing Platform: There is no viewing platform but the main stage is actually in a small area so it’s very easy to get a good spot.

Toilets: They will have accessible portaloos beside every toilet area.

Camping: There is no specific accessible campsite but the volunteers and stewards are on hand to help you get a camping spot that is easy to get into.

Parking: There is no specific disabled car park but as soon as you drive in the castle gates, ask a steward for a suitable parking spot so you won’t have far to trek with your stuff.

Staff and crew: The staff here, security, volunteers and stewards are all ridiculously helpful. As soon as you make it known that you need good parking and an easy-to-get-to camping spot if you’re in a wheelchair, they will make it their mission to give you the best available. Last year, in the lashings of rain, the volunteers unloaded our car and set up our tent. Because the site is so small, the security have said that it’s easy to brief the staff so that everyone there is well looked after.

Tickets: The majority of tickets are sold out now but you can still buy: 3-day ticket (no camping) €99, 3-day ticket (moat camping) €109, Sunday ticket (no camping) €50.

About the author

Louise Bruton

Reviewing Dublin, step by step, in terms of wheelchair accessibility. Freelance journalist and pop culture enthusiast.

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