For the Love of Latrines!
Rule #1 in the event planning business is to make sure you have accounted for enough space to take care of bodily functions. I know it sounds funny. But it is true. Bathrooms are big deal in the world of events.
I had to chuckle when I was teaching my course at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in Event and Festival Management. There was actually a chart in my textbook that outlined the amount of Porta Potties per number of guests, per location, by length of event time. Some very highly educated professional clearly charted this out with great intent to convey the importance of planning for potties, all the while being highly embarrassed this is where years of expensive education got them.
But we have all had to go, haven’t we? And waiting makes us cranky, impatient, and of course highly uncomfortable. At some events, where alcohol intake is high, event goers will take it upon themselves to find other alternatives to relieve themselves if not provided enough of the “proper” locations.
I had a first hand experience of this just recently at a concert at Pozo Saloon. As I stood with my daughter in line, a quickly moving one, I watched a gentleman step in front of a closed portable bathroom (that had a woman inside, mind you) and so very simply relieve himself on the front of the door. Not the kind of thing you want to see with your daughter! Now, alcohol could have had a part in this one, but you see what I am getting at: These types of things can be a result of too few relief stations.
And what about the separation of sexes? How many of you women have snuck in to the men’s bathroom because the line for the women’s is too long? I have to admit I am part of this club, and not ashamed. I can go quickly too. No need for make up and hair sprucing, just a simple in and out. But how do the guys feel? Are we occupying their space, making it so there are lines for them, do they feel like we are intruding? The more interesting question, if there were lines on their side, would we allow them in to our space? I would have to imagine not.
So here is the hard and fast rule. Check the chart for the number of toilets you need. But if you are serving alcohol, you need more. And if 50% or more are women, well, then increase your order!
Bathrooms, Restrooms, Outhouses, Porta Potties, Honey Huts, Latrines. Whatever you might like to call them, they are one of the most important aspects of an event, one that seems humorous to talk about, until it’s not!
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