If you’re heading for a music Festival then you need the Festival Toilets Survival Guide. Head to a music festival and you’re probably going to have a great time. You expect a few days of forgetting real life for a while and having a few loads of beers with your mates and listening to some great bands. Unfortunately, there can be some awful things about music festivals too; the smell of your armpits after a few days without a shower, your tent sinking into the mud when it rains and the realisation that that band you love really aren’t that great when you hear them live. But as bad as these things sound, it’s all part of the festival experience and you hardly expect a trip to a luxury spa when you go to sit in a muddy field for a few days. However, there is one thing that is horrible about festivals that I’m sure any regular festival goer will agree with me on – the toilets!
When it gets to the point that you’d rather relieve yourself in an empty beer can than step foot in a Leeds Festival portable toilet you know there’s something not quite right. Gathering the courage to head into one of these small claustrophobic loos can be a huge task in itself, but you’ll need a gas mask and some thick rubber gloves to deal with what you find in there. The trick is to get in, do your thing, and get out of there as quick as humanly possible, all the while teaching yourself how to do everything one-handed while the other one stays firmly clamped to your nose. Thankfully those heading to Glastonbury this year can somewhat relax as organiser Michael Eavis has finally decided to do something about the state of the toilets.
The solution comes in the form of 5,000 new long-drop and composting toilets, replacing the portable toilets that have become a hellish fixture of the long-running festival. £600,000 has gone on technological ‘super-loos’ that are apparently stink-free. While I’ll believe the last point when I see it – unfortunately you can’t avoid the accidents that inevitably occur outside of the toilet bowl – these new loos have a huge long-drop capacity, meaning you don’t have to employ people to empty them regularly (which we’ll probably add to the list of ‘worst jobs ever’). Moreover, they also build up a ready supply of compost, which will be used to fertilise Worthy Farm for two years. Who says that all that festival beer and junk food is a waste?
If you’re heading to a festival that doesn’t have Glastonbury’s new ‘technological marvels’ this summer, then be sure to read up on the following festival toilet survival guide tips before you head off for a few days in the mud.
Our Festival Toilets Survival Guide
Take your own toilet roll
This is the definitely the MOST important tip I can give you here. For some reason, people have developed a fascination with throwing the toilet roll down the loo when they’ve thrown a few drinks down their necks. I’ve lost count of a number of times I’ve been in a pub or club after midnight and discovered a soggy toilet roll either strewn across the floor or accompanying something that’s best left unmentioned inside the toilet bowl. It’s the same at festivals, and even if people are using the TP for its intended purpose, you can imagine how fast it goes when you’ve got thousands of people using the loos every day. Hide your toilet roll deep in a rucksack, and consider bringing more than one just in case someone nicks yours, it ends up getting soaked in the rain or you suddenly decide that decorating your tent with toilet paper is a good idea.
Pick the best toilets
I know, good toilets are a bit of a rarity at festivals, but there are certain toilets that are always going to be better than others on the site. The toilets located at the perimeters of the site are always a bit cleaner simply because there are fewer people around to use them. For men, a lot of festivals tend to have open-air urinals that you can use although obviously you’ll need to find another option if you want to do something more than a take a leak. If worse comes to worse you could always have a quick wee in a bush, but I’d say avoid this as festival security might not take too kindly to it, and you should also be respectful to the natural environment around you.
Figure out when the toilets get cleaned
The cleaners will come to clean and empty the toilets around the same time every day, so if you make your way to the toilets when you know they’ve just been cleaned you’ll be in for a far nicer smelling experience. I can’t promise it will be completely stench-free though – sometimes that smell just never goes!
Take a torch with you at night
If you’re heading to the toilet during the night then make sure you take a torch along with you. The last thing you want to be doing is groping around for the loo in the dark, or end up slipping on something that you’d rather not be wiping off your shoe a few minutes later. If you don’t have a torch then most mobile phones come equipped with a ‘torchlight’ these days, just try not to drop either down the loo! It’s worth noting that you should probably have something on your feet too – for obvious reasons.
Wash your hands
I know it can be easy to forget when you’ve had a few to drink – especially if you’ve only been for a wee – but washing your hands is crucial if you don’t want to spend the rest of the festival with an upset stomach. Be prepared before you head to the loo as there may not be any soap available, so carry a packet of anti-bacterial wet wipes with you or a small bottle of anti-bacterial gel so you can quickly clean up once you’ve down your business. The wet wipes also have the added bonus of being able to be used to clean the toilet seat before you sit on it. Although this last point brings me on to our next point…
It’s all about the hover
A lot of women will have probably already mastered this art, but it really is crucial in a place where thousands of bums will have touched the toilet seat before you. Learn to squat over the bowl so you don’t have to sit on it. You may have to get a little creative depending on the toilet you’re using, but it’s better than sitting on something that looks about as hygienic as the kitchens in that dodgy takeaway that every town seems to have. If you really can’t master the art of the squat, at least cover the seat with toilet paper, or use the wet wipes as described above.
Hopefully, now you’ll be well aware of how to cope with going to the toilet at a busy music festival. Have a good time, and remember that you’ll be back appreciating the loo in your home more than ever before in just a few days.
Top image credit: Martin Samuels at Flickr.
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