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Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Osheaga's Port-a-Potties

Posted by Kim / August 7, 2008

20080805_portapotties2.jpgMy fellow Midnight Poutiners are very talented music writers. Unfortunately, I am not in their ranks - with no musical talent whatsoever, I am hesitant to write about any of Osheaga's musical acts. I was also unwilling to spend big bucks on any of the food offered (though La Chilenta and Afrobytes made the food offerings interesting), so instead, I bring you one of the main attractions: the port-a-potties.

Though we've already informed of the wi-fi toliets, there is still plenty to be discussed. I offer up the nitty-gritty of having to pee at a large-scale music festival.

20080805_portapotties1.jpgMaybe I live under a rock, but this was my first viewing of what has now been called the "pisstons" - pillars designed for four men at a time to pee in. This very futuristic-appearing area was bordered on three sides by a almost-transparent sheet, and open on one side, facing the other, normal, port-a-potties. Most of the people waiting in line for the port-a-potties, would glance over at the music stages, wanting a glimpse of the act on stage, only to be confronted with the view of a bunch of men peeing. Can you say awkward?

One "pisston" user said the experience of using them was like transformed into a borg. Not willing to take the plunge and pee myself in them, I can't verify the accuracy of that statement, but I do agree that the whole thing indeed looked very scary.

Another toilet adventure? Toward the end of Monday evening, I entered three full-to-the-seat toilets before finding one that was almost decent. (i.e. there was still a few inches of room left in the toilet). I blame this on poor port-a-pottie organization - though there were a a few toilets to be found scattered about, the lines were too long for any having-to-go-badly person to wait in. This left you with one long line of port-a-potties in the whole place; if you were checking out a band on the smaller stages and had to pee, you had quite a long and painful trek to make across the park. This caused me to have to miss the majority of one band's set.

Being an intrepid reported, I asked a security guard the reason for this. "I don't know," was the response. By the look on his face, it seemed to me that he too experienced some discomfort during the two days, getting to the toilets somewhere over the rainbow.

Discussion

14 Comments

Jer / August 7, 2008 at 01:02 pm
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I saw the pisstons at the blues fest in Ottawa earlier this year. It was my first time seeing them around, but I haven't been to festivals in a while.

There weren't nearly as many at Blues Fest as there were at Osheaga. In fact, the layout of it at Osheaga brought to mind a better name than pisstons: The Urinal Forest.

At first, I was afraid to use the urinal forest, not accustomed to taking a leak in front of 15,000 people. Later on as it got a bit darker and the beer started setting in, I gave it a go.

I'm not about to set one up on my lawn or anything, but it does solve part of the full port-o-pottie problem you describe.
Sarah / August 7, 2008 at 03:30 pm
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Urinal forest!!!
Hilarious.
You can almost smell the festival weed influences that brought that one along.

Thank god I only had to use the port-a-potties once over the 2 days. They terrify me.
iWoo / August 8, 2008 at 04:15 pm
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Ugh... I imagine the "forest" smelled horrific.

Funny that they have a small "male" icon to make it clear who is supposed to use them... but maybe a few brave/intoxicated girls attempted it.

I don't know if you intended it, Kim, but saying "taking the plunge" in the same sentence as "pee" is a bit disturbing, haha. Props for writing about the festival experience, and not just music!

"a few inches of room left in the toilet" - this is what is so disgusting about festival portapotties.

What's worse? Portapotties at night. At last year's Osheaga, around 9pm I overheard a girl freaking out on her cell phone by a set of portapotties. She was asking for help, and for a flashlight.

These potties were set up in the most poorly lit area imaginable, and it was nearly pitch dark inside them. Her problem? She had dropped her camera. Yes, <i>in there</i>. She seemed to have been part of the official festival photog crew, as I had seen her with the lanyard pass and an SLR earlier in the day.

Wonder if insurance covers portable toilets?
Chris / January 11, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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They put these up all over Amsterdam on weekends. They are great. Easy to use, and I've definitely seen women using them. No peeing on shit castles. Its a great system in my opinion.
Amsterdam cofee shops / May 1, 2016 at 01:54 am
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If you're going to take the time and energy to speak to
the group you want to do everything in your power to have an influence on them, to help
or guide them. In the case of people who fake symptoms to get drugs,
doctors often find it easier to prescribe than fight.
There are many people who find it hard to keep their cholesterol level down.
Amsterdam cofee shops / May 1, 2016 at 01:54 am
user-pic
If you're going to take the time and energy to speak to
the group you want to do everything in your power to have an influence on them, to help
or guide them. In the case of people who fake symptoms to get drugs,
doctors often find it easier to prescribe than fight.
There are many people who find it hard to keep their cholesterol level down.
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