Five things Glastonbury taught us about water

Sacrificing a few of your creature comforts is all part of the unforgettable experience that is Glastonbury. But if there’s one thing the festival makes you appreciate, it’s how important water is to all our lives.


2 Jul 2014 | UK

Here’s what our Digital Editor Rachel Crews learned as we set up camp on Worthy Farm, and asked festival-goers to sign our Change the Record petition to provide clean water and decent toilets to girls around the world.

WaterAid volunteers head out into Glastonbury festival.

1. The humble tap can solve many problems

From washing your face to cleaning your teeth and scraping the mud off your wellie boots, the humble tap is wonderfully versatile – but it isn’t just a little luxury at a festival.

Around the world, taps provide safe, clean water to the heart of communities, reducing the risk of diseases spread by dirty water and ending the long walk to collect water from faraway sources. See the incredible impact taps can have here.

2. Everyone loves a cup of clean, fresh water

This year, our six Glastonbury water kiosks provided hundreds of grateful festival-goers with cups and refills of safe, clean water – something 748 million people around the world still don’t have access to, including girls like Nice, Solo and Leticia.

3. A clean loo is a great loo

Any festival-goer knows the happiness finding a clean toilet can bring, especially once the mud has set in. But it’s an experience 526 million girls around the world are still missing out on.

Every day, they put themselves at risk of assault and animal attacks and relieve themselves out in the open, because they don’t have access to a toilet. This recent case in India brought home the devastating consequences this can have.

4. A long walk to the loo can mean missing out on something amazing

It’s the nightmare festival scenario: your favourite band is about to play and you realise you’re desperate for the loo.

But while your walk to the toilet might mean missing out on the music, for girls around the world whose schools don’t have the facilities they need, it can mean missing out on classes to relieve themselves, or dropping out of education altogether – especially when they get their period.

5. There’s nothing like a long hot shower

After four days of waking up in a hot tent, navigating an enormous festival site and trying to master the art of not slipping over in the mud, there’s only one thing on your mind: a long, hot shower in the comfort of your own home. It’s something we take for granted – and something millions of women and girls in the developing world miss out on every day.

But when they do have access to clean water, the impact on their confidence and sense of identity is amazing. Find out how it changed Chet Kumari Basnet’s life and read more stories from our work here.

Photo credit: WaterAid/BenRoberts