Curve Fashion Festival 2019 - The Access

If you read my blog post on The Curve Fashion Festival for 2018 you'll know just how I felt about the event and the space, or lack thereof. If you follow me on social media you will also know that I spoke with the Curve team after the post and they intended to put everything right for 2019, so recently myself and some other plus sized disabled babes took a little trip to Liverpool to look at the space for this year's Curve and meet with the ladies who run it. Plus we got this great photo where we all wore snake print, totally unplanned!


This year CFF is set to be at The ACC in the docks, with beautiful views and lots to do in the area - from bars, The Beatles museum, restaurants, to convenient hotels it seems like a great spot. Curve was at this venue in 2017 when I first attended and I really liked it, this was before my condition progressed though so I didn't look at the access at the time - though I did have a crutch on that day due to injury.

Liverpool also has Liverpool One shopping centre, a fantastic night life and lots of cultural stuff to do too - such as museums and galleries. It boasts the famous Cavern Club, where lots of famous artists have been known to play and lots of musical history througout the city including tons of stuff to celebrate The Beatles. There are also open top bus tours, though these are obviously not that accessible for the top floor for those of us with access needs. It really is a city with lots to do and see.

So far so good right? Lets get into what you want to know with regards to access.



Access Into the Building 

The entrance to the ACC has double automatic doors and are always staffed during events, which can be accessed via accessible ramps both the city, car park and taxi drop off point. All steps have a support railing for assistance.
The Visitor Services desk is situated on the Galleria Level, this is the main reception and where you will enter the venue for Curve. They can provide local information and taxi bookings etc if needed. There is also a fixed loop hearing system in reception.

The entrance doors from inside with Kelly going outside, Hi Kelly!

Cloakrooms

There are two permanent cloakrooms situated on the Galleria Level. Both have low desks for easy access. Cloakrooms are manned throughout events.


The Space

The venue is all on one floor, with a large flat space which is great for wheelchairs and walkers too.  I have specifically asked about the space between stalls for this year and have been told that the exact dimensions are still being worked on currently, but it is planned that the space will be a minimum of 3 meters which is the same as the space that there was in 2017.

This year everything is also going to be in one space, on one floor much like the Curve in 2017 if you attended. There will be a beauty hub which will be its own area but will be within the floor just as the rest of the stalls with plenty of space in the middle of the hub. The catwalk is also going to be on this floor, and more seating is planned for this.

The aisles are set to be wide enough for wheelchair users and those who use walking aids.


Seating

We asked about seating, and more seating is definitely planned for this year, the venue did mention putting more seating outside the hall too - as they have seating going along the windows outside the hall and said they could supply more if needed.

Rest stops - after meeting with the ladies who run curve I'm confident there will be more seating for rest breaks throughout the hall this year, for a little rest while you browse and to catch up with friends too and giving those of us who need it the chance of a breather.

The seats will also be non interlocking this year for the catwalk along with it all being level so there will be more space to sit down and hopefully mean it will be easier to get to seating too.
There was also a discussion around wider seating when I went to Liverpool, so that is definitely on the cards and something that has been addressed.

I asked about seating height etc and have been told there will be a variety of seating at the exhibition centre.


Refreshments

I can't at this time confirm what refreshments will be there on a whole, but I know there will be facilities from the venue itself so hopefully more accessible options this year as I know the cobblestones were a challenge last year that left disabled people without.  I'll update this section when there are further announcements around this.

I can tell you that there will be a bar like there was last year though, and it will be easier to get to!


The Model Casting

The model casting for Curve Fashion Festival this year is due to take place on 1st June 2019, from 12pm until 2pm. The casting is open to anyone, regardless of experience. The only requirements are that you are a 16 or above, and aged 16+. For further details on what you'll need see the Curve Fashion Festival Instagram -  @curvefashionfes.

When speaking to the ladies who run CFF, they were keen to see more diversity on the catwalk, which includes disabled women, and women on the larger end of plus size.
I would love to see more disabled women up there this year doing their thing and showing that fashion is for everyone.
I'd be auditioning myself but for this year I have decided against it for personal reasons but I really look forward to seeing the catwalks. The women who modelled last year were incredible and I look forward to seeing more gorgeous plus size women doing their thing.

Image from @curvefashionfes on Instagram


Facilities

There are two unisex disabled toilets on the floor which Curve is taking place on, and other disabled toilets throughout the venue too. There are also male and female toilets in the venue.

Travel

The ACC is in the docks, as stated above. The nearest train station is Liverpool Lime Street - which is a short taxi journey away. There are places both sides of the train station for taxi's to pull up and some local companies are below who can provide wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Specify the requirement for wheelchair access on booking.

  • Davy Liver Ltd 0151 709 4646 
  • E2A Cabs 0151 229 1066 
  • Mersey Cabs 0151 298 1234 (credit card bookings)
     0151 298 2222 (cash bookings) 
There is a designated 'Drop Off Point' on the river side of the building which serves coaches and taxis and there is ramped access to the Riverside entrance doors for those who may need it. 


Parking


The ACC have confirmed that there are dedicated spaces for blue badge holders in the nearby car park, these are allocated on a first come first served basis. If the car park is full the venue have also advised that there are a number of car parks within 5 minutes of the venue and can be found on their website: 
ting-here/parking/further-information/


Roundup

In this post I've tried to cover everything that I could think of and taken suggestions from groups that I am a part of too, to provide as detailed a post as I could but if there is anything I have missed I can definitely update this at a later date if necessary. 

Did I answer your burning questions?

I hope that this post has alleviated some concerns from last year and I hope that this years event will be a roaring success. CFF is the opportunity to meet with like minded people, shop until your heart is content and not give a damn what anyone thinks - wear the clothes you love, dare to be bold, because at Curve we all have each others backs on the choices we make in fashion - we are all unique and we all deserve to sparkle in our own way. 

I'd also like to note it was so lovely to see Beth again and to meet Kelly too. It was a great opportunity to chat about all things access and disability with people who get it and to be listened to by Zoe and Hollie about our concerns. 
Me and Beth before leaving Liverpool.
Me and Kelly at the venue.
This post is in no way sponsored by The Curve Fashion Festival, I just thought it would be helpful to have access info all in one place, provide an update on last years blog post and to put my visit to Liverpool to good use too. Hollie has been great at helping me out with answers via emails too for writing this post after our meeting. 
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