Helping to stay hygienic at festivals and large public events

Festival season is now upon us, with Glastonbury having just finished and Reading and Bestival taking place later this summer. Whilst these festivals are exciting and provide an opportunity for us to come together to enjoy live music, they can create hygiene challenges for both organisers and attendees alike. What’s more, with reports of Covid-19 cases on the rise, ensuring the highest possible standards of hygiene at large events remains of the utmost importance.  

In this blog, Rentokil Specialist Hygiene and Initial Washroom Hygiene provide support and guidance for event organisers and local councils to follow when planning festivals and other mass events.

Specialist Disinfection Services

In the past, festivals have proved to be sites of bouts of sickness or diarrhoea, which can come in the form of norovirus, flu or the common cold. So in the unfortunate event that it is required, organisers would be wise to have contacts who can provide specialist disinfection services on standby in case urgent assistance is needed. For example:

Disinfection Mist Blowing Space Treatments - large premises such as seating areas and public areas like auditoriums can be challenging to clean effectively due to their size and the number of people in attendance, creating cross contamination risks. A Mist Blowing Space Treatment is a fast and effective disinfection solution that distributes liquid disinfectant into large, open areas in a short period of time, ensuring that the area is treated as quickly and effectively as possible.

Sewage Cleanup - sewage spills are unpleasant and can cause extensive disruption. Raw sewage can contain a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that can cause serious illness. Spills from overloaded portaloos could spread into festival grounds and mud due to the high number of people using them, so it is essential that any spills are dealt with quickly and effectively to minimise exposure. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene offers an extensive and comprehensive sewage cleanup service that can ensure all potentially hazardous and untimely sewage spills are contained and safely removed.

Bin Store Cleaning Service - bins can become unhygienic and dirty in a short space of time, particularly in hot weather, leading to unpleasant odours, bacteria and even pest infestations. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene offers a cost effective cleaning and disinfection service for bin areas.

The importance of personal hygiene

Inadequate access to washroom facilities at festivals and large events may seem to some like an expected and accepted part of the event - with the masses of music fans sharing temporary facilities like portaloos and showers, and unavoidable outdoor areas of mud and high footfall, potentially allowing germs to spread more quickly. Despite this, it is still crucial for event goers to be provided with access to the right hand, surface and sanitary hygiene products, so they can put themselves in the best position to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, hand hygiene received unprecedented focus - in fact, the World Economic Forum states that handwashing with soap and water is a critical component against the spread of the virus, which lowers the risk of transmission by 36%.

Hands are a natural breeding ground for bacteria and can be one of the principal carriers of disease-causing germs. As visitors often spend time in communal areas or shared facilities, germs can pass from one person to another through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces. For example, at a festival this can often happen in portaloos where multiple people touch the same door handle or toilet roll holder, or food stalls where people touch condiment bottles.

The required facilities

Facilities management for large scale events - like festivals - is a cumbersome responsibility. Venues must arrange for enough toilets and water taps to be readily available across the entire site.

As mentioned, hand hygiene is a key factor in stemming the spread of bacteria at events, so organisers should pay particular attention to ensuring that all facilities and portaloos have adequate stations for visitors to clean their hands after using the toilet, handling rubbish and before eating.

Portaloos should ideally have sinks with fresh running water and soap to allow attendees to properly wash their hands. Hand sanitiser stations with convenient dispensers should also be placed at regular points onsite, and replenished as much as possible to allow all visitors the opportunity to sanitise their hands when they need to. These dispensers should be installed in the portaloo cubicle itself, but also near water taps, food stalls and communal areas, to further encourage good hand hygiene across the event site.

Surface level hygiene

Alongside ensuring the cleanliness of hands, event organisers need to consider the hygiene of surfaces too. By providing surface cleanser wipes in portaloo cubicles and near sinks, users will be encouraged to wipe down toilet seats, handles and taps before and after use. Surface wipes can offer up to eight hours residual protection, making them a good choice for communal areas at festivals and mass events where high hygiene standards are required.

Sanitary products, sanitary bins and waste disposal

Everyone wants to have an enjoyable and carefree time when attending any event but for those who menstruate, making sure that enough sanitary products are packed is a key priority, and occasionally visitors will be caught short and need more.

Research carried out earlier by Initial Washroom Hygiene has shown that the overwhelming majority of those who menstruate (94%) would like to see feminine hygiene provisions supplied within the toilet cubicles of public washrooms, with 55% wanting to see spare period products included.¹

Therefore, in the interest of providing Washroom Dignity for all, event organisers should explore how to provide free sanitary products for attendees to ensure those who need them can access them and have a dignified festival experience. 

It may seem like an obvious consideration, but many festival organisers also neglect to provide enough waste bins both in male and female toilets, and around a washroom. The provision of sanitary bins is another consideration to ensure menstrual hygiene and male incontinence products can be disposed of discreetly and correctly.

Final Thoughts

Organising large-scale events is a mammoth task and responsibility, which requires every potential outcome to be assessed and considered to ensure that the event can run smoothly and safely. To allow attendees to have an enjoyable experience, organisers must prioritise the provision of adequate hygiene services.


To arrange specialist hygiene services, contact our experts.

To explore toilet hygiene solutions and waste removal services, contact Initial Washroom Hygiene.

¹Research conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Rentokil Initial in July 2021. The survey sample was 2,000 UK females aged 12-54.