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When and Where to Answer Nature’s Call at Music Festivals

on August 07, 2014, 1:30pm

Feature Photograph by Adam Gasson

Festival Tips is a new, quick-hitting feature in which Consequence of Sound contributing writer and festival veteran Jared Lindzon offers up a new piece of advice that just might help you survive the grueling summer festival season. Good luck and Godspeed!

It’s impossible not to get unseemly vulgar when describing the horrendous things one becomes accustomed to seeing behind the flimsy plastic doors at a music festival’s porta-potties. Unless you’re among the first ones through the festival gates, you’ll likely never encounter a porta-potty that didn’t make you reconsider the decisions you’ve made that led you to such a hot, smelly plastic cube of horrors. Assuming you don’t have a clean facility available off the festival grounds and are unable to simply hold it in for three or four straight days, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a little less scarring.

Stay Away from the Camp Grounds

Snoozing at Sunrise-AmandaKoellner-bonnaroo2014

Photo by Amanda Koellner

Anyone who’s camped out at a music festival knows that the facilities closest to the tents are typically the most dreadful. That is because the bathrooms closer to the music are generally visited by those making a quick stop between shows, as opposed to those that have some time to sit around.

Rise and Shine

Sunrise-AmandaKoellner-bonnaroo2014

Photo by Amanda Koellner

Most festivals have a routine of cleaning out the porta-potties first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, the more experienced festivalgoers have already picked up on this trend, leading to early lineups and a very brief window of relative cleanliness. Waking up early to hit the john might not be easy for heavy sleepers, but if the sanitation truck happens to drag you out of a deep slumber, I’d strongly suggest making a dash towards it.

Not to be Sexist…

Run The Jewels // Photo by Heather Kaplan

Photo by Heather Kaplan

The shortest line is almost always the one with the most guys in it. Sorry ladies, you just tend to take longer in there. The one element that trumps gender, however, is level of intoxication. If the person in front of you looks like they can hardly stand on their own two feet, just imagine how long it’s going to take them to pee.

Missing Music is Inevitable

Kaplan-COS-Lolla-Sunday-Misc-17

Photo by Heather Kaplan

When nature calls during a performance, there are really only two options: leave mid-show and miss a few songs or wait until the end of the show and wait in a massive lineup with everyone else, which will likely cut into the next performance. One way or another, you’re going to be missing some music. With that in mind, it’s usually best to sneak away when you hear the band onstage starting your least favorite song in their repertoire and returning from the relatively quiet facilities as quickly as possible.

Come Prepared

Governors Ball Music Festival NYC

Photo by Robert Altman

Though it’s difficult to avoid the plastic cube of horrors, you can at least make the experience a little more humane by bringing a few items with you. Hand-sanitizer, for example, tends to run out quickly, so it’s not a bad idea to have a pocket-sized bottle of Purell on hand. Furthermore, a bandana with a small spray of deodorant or perfume wrapped around your face can do wonders for combating the stench.

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