A civilian’s guide to conquering the festival toilet

You’ll need wet wipes

Beer, cider, vodka mixer, water – there’s a lot of liquids at festivals and the urge to use a porta-potty will strike more often than you’d like. Maybe you’ve dropped a phat one and you’ve come up in a really, really big way. And what about that Somerset outdoor reared pulled pork burger? That has to come out at some point.

The festival loo is a petrifying hell hole. Forget the lack of loo roll, the rumours of Leeds Festival’s Poo Girl 2007 and Pop Up Pirate 2006 are freshly ringing in your ears as you face your fate. The worst thing you can do is avoid the inevitable.

This is your journey, it’s you against the world and you will conquer it. You will sit there on your throne, once you’ve picked it, and make everyone else wait to squat.

He's far too confident

He’s far too confident

What to eat

The best advice is to stay clear of food, it’s expensive and shit. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly a viable option with four days of dancing. Chips are a good shout — they’re normally cheap and not so large that it may force regular toilet trips.

Absolute no goes may include nachos and any of the spicey Mexican stands that look so alluring. The combination of jalapeños and spicy salsa may as well just be laxative pill with a two hour time lag.

Time it well and take a buddy

As luck will have it, you’re probably stuck in the middle of a sweaty tent crowd when the time comes. The need for all 13 of the girls at a group meal to go to the toilet together is often doubted, but in this situation a buddy system is best.

You’ve got to give yourselves plenty of time to make the trip. This is especially true for mid-afternoon trips. This is the worst time to go as the queues are more taxing than a hungover Friday morning seminar. All the smart alecs have already been, and nothing is hotter than the porta potty-cum-sauna at this time of day.


You must also give yourself time to be rushing back in for when the DJ plays you and your one week old boyfriends first kiss song. Extra time must be added for the more vertically challenged amongst you, those toilet signs aren’t always easy to spot through the sea of bucket hats and pretentious Indian headdresses.

With bladder full, grab your buddy’s hand, don’t be that wrecking ball prick trying to prove you’re hard, move carefully through the crowd sideways because one day some fuck nut from Burnley will do your nose in for knocking his pall mall rolly out his knuckle tattooed hand. An occasional sorry for toe treading wouldn’t go amiss either.


As always, it’s a bog in a bog

Picking your throne

Whether there is sun, snow, wind or rain there will be a huge fuck off muddy bog around the toilets. For those foolish enough to not wear wellies your time has come. Don’t try and tiptoe around, you will embarrass yourself, it is all deep and muddy. Walk straight through the middle loud and proud but be warned if you fall over you will be the laughing stock of the festival. You can let go of hands by this point or you may get accused of cottaging.

You need to gamble when picking your throne. If you can wait for cleanliness, pick a queue with girls, there is less chance of there being a massive wreck inside when it is you’re turn. But if you’re prepared to hold your nose for less time in these sordid incubators, pick the queue of guys who aren’t clutching toilet roll like it’s their last day on earth.

Assertive queuing is a must otherwise you will be there all day, some of these party goers didn’t give this read and haven’t afforded themselves sufficient time.

Boys needing a piss, don’t clog up the queue. Most festivals these days have urinals for a reason, and the conversation is flowing more than your pilly willy.

When you’re inside the cube

Now you’re in. First, take your jacket, and tie it round the lower half of your face to allow you to breath without sucking in the smell. You may want to make a groaning noise on the way in to imply that the stench you may leave is not you.

Don’t touch anything, whatever you do. Go equipped with toilet roll and wet wipes. Don’t go sparingly, but get that plastic seat nice and clean, then bacteria free with the wet wipe and then dry it off so you can actually feel normal when you seat yourself.

Now you can sit in peace, and take your sweet time, fresh in the knowledge you’re ordeal will soon be over. Once it is, don’t get complacent — you’re still in a germs paradise. Wrap your hand in toilet roll when it comes to pulling the flush lever and open the door.

Using the hand sanitiser will only give you more germs. Just get one of your trusty wet wipes, and rid yourself of the shame, only after you’ve opened the door.

Don't not go - it's too painful

Don’t not go – it’s too painful

Making your getaway

Lastly, stride out of there like a festival goer with confidence and assure the next victim the smell was not you or all your greatest fears of having a stranger judge you may come true.

Now meet your buddy — although you may want avoid hand holding — and get back to the music and enjoy your lighter self, forgetting any of that had to happen until you wake up the next day, ready to face the blue boxes with your head held high once again.