In July last year I had a very special few days. If you have read my other posts you will have noticed that I love a bit of public attention. I love putting my writing out there, I love being out and about doing things for SRSB and I love being on the radio. You could say I’m a bit of an attention seeker!
I had the opportunity to go to the Tramlines Festival. This is a big music festival in Sheffield that has grown bigger and bigger over the years. Being a visually impaired person, when I think Tramlines, I think scary, daunting, extremely busy and very cramped. I have never really had an interest in festivals, but SRSB had been given some tickets from Tickets for Good. The tickets were weekend passes, which is extremely generous of them. I was also told that BBC Look North were interested in talking to whoever had the tickets. So how could I refuse? A free visit to Tramlines and my first opportunity to be on the telly. As Tickets for Good had given SRSB two tickets, the other ticket went to Simon, a client of SRSB and motivational speaker. We were both able to apply for carers passes, as we both needed somebody to go with us. Simon took his wife and children, and I took my friend Chloe. Jane from SRSB also came with us.
A month before the festival we had a meeting with Sarah and Cathy Booth from Look North. This was to discuss plans for filming and to become more aware of what they wanted from us. Sarah and Cathy were both really lovely and friendly.
The day before the festival, filming started. I was so nervous. More nervous than I had been on the radio. When I got to SRSB, Simon had started his filming. When it was my turn I was thinking, I don’t want to do this! But I did really. My job was to sit and pretend to work on the blog on a computer. I just scrolled through the blog and then did some typing. They said the first word had to be Tramlines, but then I could write whatever I wanted. So I just wrote whatever was in my head. Tramlines, Chloe and how I knew Chloe. We then did an interview. I got to wear one of those little microphones! My first question was, “what did you have for breakfast?” Random question, but they said it was to check the sound. The next question was “what is your name, and how do you spell it?” Everybody does struggle with that one. It’s Rollitt, the o, is pronounced like it is in “on” But because it is spelt Roll, many people think like sausage roll. I have even been called Rowlitt, like in growl. So that question was a useful one. Then we went on to talk about my sight, support I had at school, and how I felt about going to Tramlines. Then we were done. It was Joanne’s turn next. Joanne is the Deputy General Manager of SRSB.
After we had done the filming I felt very excited and very pleased with how it went. I felt a lot more relaxed about the filming we would be doing at Tramlines the next day.
On the big day we all got a ride on the SRSB minibus to Hillsborough park, where the main festival was this year. It was their first year at the park this year, before they had been at Devonshire Green and Ponderosa Park. I thought this would make it worse, so much more space to fit so many more people. But actually everything was so spread out, there was so much space. There was nobody awkwardly in my personal space while I was watching bands, every group of friends had their own space and freedom. Me and Chloe wandered around for a while, checking out the place and Simon and his family went to check out the family area. Shortly after Cathy came and we started talking filming again. She asked us to do whatever we would usually do at a festival and to act natural. I didn’t know how to act natural, I hadn’t been to one before! So we decided to sit on the grass and watch a band. They filmed us walking and then sitting down. When we were sat, Cathy then came to ask me a few questions about how I was feeling and what I was thinking. One of the questions was, “what would you say to a visually impaired person who was thinking about coming here for the first time?” I didn’t sound very convincing at all, the end of my answer was “you’ll probably enjoy it”. Then I realised I should sound more enthusiastic than that so I said “I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.” Let’s just say a certain person found my answer hilarious. We had a big laugh about it afterwards.
Then we had finished. Cathy went off to talk to the famous people, not as famous as me obviously ha ha! Then it started raining, a lot. Me, Chloe and Jane all went and found shelter under an umbrella. We were all cold, soaked and covered in grass. The rain wasn’t giving in so we decided to leave.
I went back to Chloe’s house where we sat with Chloe’s husband and son and watched ourselves on the telly. I didn’t sound as good as I did on the radio, they definitely chose the funniest bits. We had such a laugh.
So I would like to say a massive, MASSIVE thank you to SRSB, Tramlines, Tickets for Good, Cathy Booth and BBC Look North for giving me a truly amazing experience. And you know where I am if you want me for anything else!