Glastonbury is one of the greatest festivals in the world, showcasing some of the best talents in music and contemporary performing arts.
But amidst the mud and revelry the festival is also renowned for its championing collaboration with charities, and for encouraging the world agenda on tackling global challenges such as eradicating poverty, confronting environmental issues and ensuring access to clean and safe water worldwide.
This year one Manchester woman has joined the ranks of WaterAid volunteers at the festival to rally support for the charity’s summer campaign – the #WaterFight.
Millie Brooks, 19, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, is one of around 500 ‘Water Warriors’ at Glastonbury striving to breakdown the inequalities caused by lack of access to clean and safe water – working on the festival’s toilets.
“I’m really proud to have been selected to represent WaterAid at Glastonbury, working as part of loo crew and I’m really looking forward to experiencing the sites of sounds of the festival,” Millie said.
She added that she been told from those who had worked on the toilets before, that ‘it wasn’t that bad’, and couldn’t wait to see Kodaline, Blossoms and Foo Fighters perform over the weekend.
Despite never having been to the festival or done any work for WaterAid before, Millie decided to volunteer for the charity after looking up their Glastonbury project with friends.
“This will be a great opportunity to get fellow festival-goers thinking about the realities of life for children living without clean water and toilets and to help engage thousands of people in a cause I feel passionately about,” she said.
In addition to the standard Water Warrior manned festival loos, this year WaterAid have launched their ‘Toilet of Dreams’ – billed as ‘the most luxurious loo ever to grace Worthy Farm.’
WaterAid said the ‘blingy bog’, located behind the Pyramid stage, “invites users to become king or queen of the latrine as they sit on a silver throne complete with disco-themed purple loo seat, surrounded by disco balls, mirrors and a very special dream-themed soundtrack.”
First to grace the ‘loo like no other’ was none-other than festival founder Michael Eavis.
Yet, behind the light-hearted exterior, the Toilet of Dreams also has a serious message.
“Our luxurious Toilet of Dreams is helping WaterAid raise awareness that the humble loo really can make dreams come true,” said WaterAid’s Marcus Missen.
“The Toilet of Dreams uses pure frivolity to deliver our deadly serious message and encourages festival goers to lend their support to WaterAid’s #TheWaterFight petition.”
WaterAid volunteers at this year’s festival are also hoping to get around 40,000 signatures for their petition, calling on the UK Government to make sure that all government plans for schools globally include taps and toilets for every child.
Shockingly, some 289,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 800 children each day, equivalent to one child every two minutes.
Further, globally, over 663 million people are without clean water, with around one in three schools lacking access to such an essential resource or decent toilets.
Denied these basic facilities, children are unable to properly focus on lessons because they are thirsty or need the loo, have to miss lessons to fetch water, become ill from diseases caused by poor hygiene, and girls regularly drop out of school when their periods start.
“Without access to basic toilets children around the world are denied the healthy childhood they deserve, the education they need, and the chance to turn their dreams into reality,” said Mr Missen.
LOO CREW: Festivalgoers emerge over the moon from Water Aid’s ‘blingy bog’
For more information and to support WaterAid’s #TheWaterFight campaign go to: www.wateraid.org/uk/TheWaterFight
Images courtesy of Water Aid / Emily Graham, with thanks.