What they don’t tell you about festivals

So, days 6 and 7 in Tasmania, and we were off to the Falls Festival in Marion Bay. We were blessed with beautiful weather, a sunny yet not hot 25, and the next day was christmas eve.

Sun, sea, music; sounds perfect, right? well, it would’ve been except for the toilets.

Nobody who has ever gone to a festival speaks about the loos. The shanks remain unmentioned amongst wild tales of weekend escapades with strangers. I fear I have to break this conspiracy of silence. The Falls Festival is a ‘green’ festival, i.e. it promotes it self as being environmentally friendly (at least, as environmentally friendly as you can hope to be with thousands of beer consuming under 30s in a field). The plastic cups were ‘biodegradable’ (I take it they meant relative to other plastic; they certainly weren’t biodegradable relative to say, paper), there was minimal electric lighting to save energy and hippies abounded everywhere, selling their bright airy clothes in handmade cotton (transported by airplane all the way from obscure Indian villages).The food all claimed to be organic (except the hot dogs, which proudly claimed their non-organic heritage and were treated to long queues of enthusiastic teenage males waiting to devour them) and to be honest, tasted pretty darn great.

All the other ‘green-ness’ was but window dressing compared to the crap holes. I tried, I genuinely tried, to take my camera into a toilet and take a picture to show you,but alas, I love my Nikon too much to ever subject it to this sort of treatment.

The loos were wheelie bins, housed within a wooden structure about 2m long, 1m wide and 2m high. The door had a latch of sorts on the inside, a slab of wood you slid to keep it closed and indicate occupation to the hordes without. The top bit of the door was open to the world, presumably for ventilation, so that often one found oneself being watched by  the bright eyes of persistant and very curious swallows perched on the door.Inside, one had to climb a substantial step to get to the seat, which opened onto the wheelie bin underneath. Next to the seat was a tray full of….sand. And a blue or green plastic cup. And a cactus; inexplicably always a cactus. At night , no lights, you needed to use your own head torch. A word from the newly wise; when wearing a head torch and inside a festival toilet, do NOT look down!

And then there was the smell….oh the smell! That incessant odor of fresh decomposition and sand will never leave me. I still find myself awakening in a sweat, having dreamt of the smell….Don’t get me wrong, the festival was a highly enjoyable experience, and I’d do it again, but next time, I’m just going to take a 5km hike to the nearest bushes to do my business!

God Bless the inventor of the modern flush toilet.


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