We all love a nice clean, hygienic public bathroom. Alas at large outdoor festivals, they’re rarer than a free hospital parking space. If you’re at the festival all weekend, you’ll notice that steady decline in quality from Friday afternoon’s clean pristine toilet to Sunday night’s Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon cuboid, in need of a prison-style hose-down.
First up, if you’re there for a certain band – and like me, you’re a bit urologically challenged – time your toilet trip well. There’s little worse than missing your favorite singer because you’re stuck in a dark portaloo.
Op-pee-tunities at festivals can be few and far between. So, like the emergency exits on a plane, please take time to locate toilets near to you (remembering that your nearest may be behind you). There are even apps nowadays to help find both the toilet and the friends you’ve left in the crowd.
If you’re camping, you’ll know the lay of the land – and probably be well used to the discomfort of not only using a temporary toilet but also sleeping, eating and generally attempting to sit anywhere. But good luck to you. Pack a torch – ideally a headtorch, to free up both hands if needed. Pack alcohol hand-gel too. Hygiene is your friend here.
Those glorified cess-pits may not be brilliant. There may be no light. There probably won’t be a sink – though hopefully they’ll keep the hand-gel dispenser well-stocked (again, to be sure, bring your own). And there may be a big queue for the privilege of using these monstrosities. But at least most festivals have a long row of toilets, so when you’re in, you can take your time, and that toilet seat is probably no less hygienic than your one at home (I don’t know what your house is like...).
But public inconveniences aside, I think the key is to stay as hygienic as possible throughout the event:
- Eat and drink right
- Don’t neglect your needs
- If you need to find a toilet, don’t wait
- Maybe refrain from crowd-surfing on a full bladder
Have fun. Stay safe. And do what I did at a recent Rolling Stones concert: get a jump on the crowds by leaving early. It was so loud that we could hear the encore for the next mile of walking anyway, and we were smugly, snugly sat on a train before they could say You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
The opinions expressed here are of a personal and anecdotal nature, and are in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.