Taps, toilets and teamwork: Highlights from our busiest festivals season yet!

5 min read
Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Thursday 23rd June 2022
Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

When people head to a festival, it’s often the first time they’ve queued for water, or used a toilet that’s not like their own. Keeping clean in a muddy field or busy campsite can be a challenge. Amidst all the fun, water, sanitation and hygiene are at the forefront of people’s minds.

That’s why, every summer, you’ll find us at festivals here in the UK, engaging people with our work around the world whilst providing essential water, toilets and hygiene services to make sure events run smoothly.

After a difficult two years, we were overjoyed to hit the road once again, reaching almost half a million people at 13 festivals! Here are some of the highlights from our busiest-ever summer:

We kept thousands of festivalgoers happy and hydrated

If you were at Latitude, Parklife or Glastonbury this year, chances are you refilled your bottle at one of our water bars, kiosks or taps. Topping up your H2O and helping events reduce single-use plastics – it’s a win-win!

Volunteer filling a festivalgoer's water bottle at Glastonbury 2022
Image: WaterAid/Ben Roberts
Belu and WaterAid
Our converted horsebox bar at Smoked & Uncut 2022 Image: WaterAid

We also teamed up with our friends and long-term partners Belu at the Pig Hotels’ Smoked & Uncut events, serving up the good stuff from our snazzy converted horsebox.

We made going to the loo an all-round excellent experience

Festival toilets might get a bit of a bad rap – but we’re on a mission to change that. We took our environmentally-friendly composting toilets, the Good Loos, to Shambala, Camp Bestival, Latitude and Glastonbury, giving festivalgoers the opportunity to enjoy an all-round more luxurious loo break.

Complete with plenty of space, nappy changing tables, mirrors and even a chill-out area, these really are festival loos with a difference. In fact, we’ll wager they’re the cleanest, best-smelling – not to mention friendliest! – toilets you’ll find on site.

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Sunday 26th June 2022
Our Good Loos are (really) good news! Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

What’s more, by making a small donation to use them, festivalgoers are helping us work with communities around the world to build more loos where they're needed most, so others can go to the toilet safely and with dignity.

No Good Loo on site? No problem! Our dedicated Loo Crew volunteers worked tirelessly to keep a grand total of 2,270 toilets(!) in tip-top condition over the summer.

Sophie Bird, Theo Jeffries, Melita Jeffries, volunteers at Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Thursday 23rd June 2022
Nothing makes our legendary Loo Crew happier than a job well done. Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

We flexed our grey matter at Green Man

We’ve long been big fans of this family-friendly festival, so we were over the moon to host a talk and workshops in Einstein’s Garden, exploring water and climate change with the youngest (and young at heart) visitors.

Workshop at Green Man Festival
Image: WaterAid/David Beesley
Talk at Green Man Festival
Image: WaterAid/David Beesley

We brought the Big Tap back to Glastonbury...

This year saw the return of one of our favourite features, the Big Tap: an instantly-recognisable meeting point in the heart of the action, complete with its own seating area and (normal-sized!) tap to provide a welcome break on the walk to the Pyramid Stage.

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Thursday 23rd June 2022
The Big Tap was a stand-out feature at any time of day – or night! Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

...and unveiled the Big Bog

Made with Glastonbury’s very own infamous mud, local sand and compost produced by the toilets at previous festivals, our Big Bog drew attention to the one in five people around the world who don’t have access to a decent toilet – and highlighted how climate change is making that even worse.

WaterAid unveils The Big Bog at Glastonbury, made from Worthy Farm mud, Somerset sand and compost produced by the toilets at previous festivals. Left open to the elements, the 2.5-metre-high toilet may crack if it gets too hot or wash away in the rain ...
The 2.5-metre-high sculpture, which took artists Sand in Your Eyes over 40 hours to carve, also features Loo Crew volunteer Tim Lloyd, reading the Glastonbury Free Press as he answers nature's call. Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

We left the Big Bog open to the ‘elooments’ over the course of the festival, and as it baked in the sun, cracks spread across the surface, representing how droughts are threatening people’s access to clean water and decent sanitation.

We demanded action on climate change

Springs and wells drying up. Droughts destroying crops and livelihoods. Floods washing away taps and toilets, spreading disease. The climate crisis is a water crisis – and it’s people living in the world’s most vulnerable communities who are being hit the hardest.

That’s why, ahead of COP27 this November, we’re calling on the UK Government to invest in locally-led projects that ensure everyone, everywhere has access to decent toilets and clean water that keeps flowing, whatever the future holds.

In support of Our Climate Fight campaign, musicians including FOALS, Wet Leg and Ringo Starr, alongside fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, created exclusive postcards celebrating the power of water and highlighting the need to take action on climate change.

Zandra Rhodes has created special postcards launching at Glastonbury, featuring designs that celebrate the power of water and the importance of protecting our planet and people as part of WaterAid’s Climate Fight campaign.
Dame Zandra Rhodes' design

Over the summer, we invited festivalgoers to choose their favourite and write a personal message to the Prime Minister, and then send another home to themselves as a reminder of the part they’re playing in Our Climate Fight.

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. June 2022
Over 4,000 festivalgoers posted their message to the Prime Minister ahead of COP27 Image: WaterAid/ Lis Parham

We showcased a safe, speedy and sustainable way to pee

Missing half your favourite act’s set whilst crossing your legs in the (seemingly neverending) queue for the loo – it's a real bummer! So, we were thrilled to join forces with PEEQUAL to showcase their new squat-and-go female urinals, whose revolutionary design helps users get in and out – and back to the action – in a fraction of the time.

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Thursday 23rd June 2022
Less time queuing = more time enjoying yourself, thanks to PEEQUAL (and our lovely volunteers!) Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

We had a little help from some famous faces…

From history-making headliner Billie Eilish to sewing star Raph Dilhan, a whole host of music, TV and radio personalities pledged their support for Our Climate Fight, and shared our calls for the Government to take action now.

...and from over 1,000 volunteers!

We welcomed back some familiar faces – and made a lot of new friends! – as we were joined by our biggest-ever volunteer team.

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, England. Saturday 25th June 2022
We couldn't have achieved what we did without the enthusiasm and dedication of our awesome volunteers. Image: WaterAid/ Ben Roberts

From helping revellers quench their thirst to keeping showers and toilets sparkling clean, our superstar volunteers were instrumental in ensuring events ran smoothly – all whilst spreading the word about the life-changing impact of clean water, good hygiene and decent toilets.