An unfortunately unavoidable aspect of any open-air live music event, festival toilets are a feared but necessary evil. Evil being the operative word here. Without them, crikey... imagine the scenes... With them, we find places of privacy to ease our 'movements', for want of a better word, in the middle of the fields and the parks which host some of our biggest and best outdoor parties.
But don't be lured in by this false sense of security. Festival lavatories couldn't be more dissimilar to their more civilised restroom cousins, the likes of which can be found in our homes. As many of you frequent festival attendees will no doubt already know, the toilets found at large-scale music events, especially days into said event, are quite literally the places where nightmares are spawned. One visit is usually enough to persuade you to hold whatever you're holding in until you get back home.
Still, there's no point whatsoever in pretending it's going to put any of us off heading out to more festivals this year and for many more years to come. Who are we kidding? So, how do we tackle whatever lies in wait for us behind that cubicle door when nature calls? How do we make the experience less traumatic or sh*t (pardon the pun)?
Here are a few tips and pieces of advice, courtesy of the veteran festival-goers on the Skiddle team, to help make your next festival toilet experience that little bit more bearable...
Pack that extra toilet roll
Seems very logical, almost as if it doesn't need to be said, right? Wrong. It's quite alarming after all these years, the sheer volume of people who forget to pack extra toilet rolls or tissues before leaving for their intended festival adventure. As a matter of priority, friends, add this vital cleansing product to the top of your list. When day four or five of the festival comes around and stocks have all but run out, you'll be glad you did. Thank us later.
Another necessity without the need for much explanation. But here we are. The floors of festival toilets are breeding grounds for all forms of life, with plenty of fertiliser available to help them grow (yuck). Wellies will keep the mud and dirt at bay whilst also keeping your feet sealed from the bacteria that cover the toilet floors. We strongly advise against wearing anything with an open toe.
Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser
Because you're sure as heck not going to find any hot running water or soap in a festival toilet. If you're lucky, you might find a small anti-bacterial gel dispenser somewhere but our team find that it's always better to be prepared for the worst. A small, packable bottle of alcohol-based sanitiser should do the trick and keep your hands nice and clean for the entirety of your experience.
Take a torch
The unpredictability of our bowels, especially after a few pints, several glasses of wine, spirits and a late-night burger van special, means that sometimes we might need to make an urgent visit to the toilet in the small hours. Rummaging through the disorderly contents of your tent in the black of night, trying desperately to land upon your hand sanitiser, your toilet roll and your wellies most certainly isn't the one. Pack a torch and have it on your person at all times. Not only will it help you find those toilet essentials but it'll guide you to a toilet, help you navigate its probably horrifying interior, and assist you in finding you're way back to your tent. A must-have piece of festival kit.
One for the ladies - Invest in a Shewee or look for a Peequal
Image: PEEQUAL / Facebook.com
A Shewee, for those of you unaware, is described as a portable urination device that allows women to pee where and when they might otherwise have not been able to. For example, in a secluded spot or at a urinal at a festival. If faced with massive queues for the ghastly festival toilets, or perhaps as a more sanitary alternative to a festival toilet altogether, women can use these revolutionary, funnel-like devices to relieve themselves without having to face any atrocities. Word to the wise - Shewee's can be a little fiddly to use. It might be for the best that you seek out a toilet if you find yourself slightly intoxicated, or run the risk of peeing all over yourself.
You might also come across a PEEQUAL at your next festival outing this summer. What's a PEEQUAL, you ask? It's the UK's first stand-alone, touch-free urinal for women, championing pee-quality at live music events across the land. Beat the queues for the loos and do your business without having to lay a finger or a cheek on any surface.
Further pearls of wisdom...
From disposable toilet seat covers to purchasing your very own portable loo - there are plenty of ways to make going dropping a deuce or taking a tinkle at a festival less of an ordeal. Here are a few other nuggets of wisdom you might never have thought of or come across before:
Discover the best times to use the toilets - On the first day of your festival experience, make a note of when the loos nearest to your campsite get cleaned. For the majority of events, this is either late at night or first thing in the morning. Make a beeline for the toilets shortly after and reap the benefits of these recently sterilised outhouses.
Look for festival toilets off the trodden path - A fantastic tip that our entire team agree upon. Finding toilets set back from the beaten track usually means they've seen less action and therefore are much less weathered. Seek out these toilets, even if their destination is far from the stages, and once again reap the benefits.
Splash out and buy a VIP ticket with access to VIP loos and showers - The vast majority of festivals these days offer VIP packages and tickets that allow exclusive use of fancy and well-maintained loos and showers. If you're squeamish or have a weak constitution, we highly recommend splashing out a little more to take advantage of these extra amenities.
It's also worth pointing out that not all festival toilet experiences are bad ones. Most festival organisers are on top of their game when it comes to hygiene but given the logistics of running a festival out in the middle of the countryside, for example, with very little infrastructure already in place, they should be forgiven when standards slip. Take this guide with you regardless, make a mental or physical note of the advice we've offered and go well on your planned festival excursions this summer.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.
Header image credit: Martin Thomas / Flickr.com