Glastonbury 2015: The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair is brilliant, but it wasn't taken at Glastonbury

The image of Ryan Chen is from a festival in San Francisco taken in 2013

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The Independent Culture

The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair, his hands stretched towards the sky as the crowd holds him aloft, has been celebrated as a particularly inspiring moment from this year’s Glastonbury festival – but that is not where the picture was taken.

The image went viral this week as people began sharing the picture, calling it “awesome,” “amazing” and “best Glastonbury photo so far”. It was shared and liked by thousands of people – singer Ellie Goulding was just one of the revellers to post the photo, believing it to have been taken at Worthy Farm. She posted it with the caption "What an amazing photo from Glastonbury!"

But the image was originally taken two years ago at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.

The man pictured is Ryan Chen, who was paralysed from the waist down in 2009 after he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a snowboarding accident.

He and friend James Marcus Haney, who was making a documentary about breaking into music festivals at the time called ‘No Cameras Allowed’, had snuck into the festival to see one of Chen’s favourite bands, Young the Giant.

 

The pair wanted Chen to crowd surf during the band’s song ‘My Body’. “The lyrics are awesome,” Chen told The Huffington Post last year. “It’s an anthem to my life and one of the greatest songs ever written.” The song includes the lyrics “My body tells me no but I won’t quit.”

The picture was posted on Reddit last year and the Young the Giant, who had been befriended by Chen and Haney, commented at the time: “It was pretty amazing looking out into a sea of people and seeing Ryan being propped up on his wheelchair. Ryan has an incredible attitude about life and is almost always the happiest person in the room.”

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