Coping with OCD at Camp Bestival

Last year I visited my first ever festival and managed to cope with my OCD quite well. I only had a few anxiety issues and they were largely related to things falling on the floor or touching items I didn’t think were clean. We were lucky to camp somewhere near relatively clean flushing toilets with water and soap, which meant I didn’t touch a chemical or compost toilet the whole time. But this year was very different.


This year we camped in regular camping, several hundred yards away from some chemical toilets with a limited supply of hand gel and toilet roll. We’d prepared for this by packing our own toilet roll and each taking a small bottle of Vital Baby’s Aquaint sanitising water . The sanitising water was a bit of a life saver as it’s great on surfaces, hands and is even safe to swallow. That’s not to say you should drink it (you really shouldn’t). But I was able to spray it onto tops of cans and round cups if I wasn’t sure how clean they were.

DSC_0472 My first major barrier to overcome was using the chemical toilets. Now I am reliably informed that Camp Bestival toilets are some of the cleanest festival toilets you will find and I can agree that they are kept relatively clean. But you may find yourself behind someone with a terrible aim or even worse, a terrible tummy. But you have to go, when you have to go and I am quite impressed with my routine of visiting the loo.

The toilet roll we took came in handy with cleaning the toilet seat before use and allowed me to use the flush (when they worked) and open the lock with a piece. Now to someone without OCD this may seem extreme, but for me it meant the difference between an anxiety attack or not. I found the compost toilets easier to manage. They were more spacious, which meant I was able to move around without brushing the walls and they felt generally cleaner than the chemical toilets, despite having to hold a cup of compost if you needed a number 2. Though these toilets did start to whiff a bit towards the end of the festival, but I guess a big pit of poo is going to do that.

Before the event I expressed my desire to Clara, to buy tickets for the posh loos and I am so proud that I didn’t do this. The queue for these was often long and at £2 a pee/poop, I was not going to waste my morning mocha money on that. The next biggest achievement for me was trying food from new food stalls. Some of the larger brands had their hygiene ratings displayed, which was really comforting for someone with food cleanliness triggers. But many food stalls didn’t display these signs and though these weren’t always displayed I was able to see into all food prep areas, which was good. I had one mini anxiety attack when I watched a server drop a cooked sausage onto a raw sausage, but he placed it back on the grill and was using a food thermometer on every sausage he was serving. This happened to be the same stall that served me stone cold bacon, but they were incredibly accommodating and replaced it with some freshly cooked bacon.

Many of the stalls displayed signs about allergens and prompted people to ask any questions if they were unsure of things, which is quite helpful if you are worried about what you are going to consume. All the food I ate over the weekend was well cooked and served at a great temperature (apart from the cold bacon).

My best advice for visiting an event like this when you have OCD is to make sure you are open and honest with the friends you camp with. I am lucky to have an understanding wife and one of the best friends you could hope for who gets me and accepts my little ticks and panics. We have a sense of humour about things and everyone understands not to take things personally when I don’t want to touch certain items etc. Being able to talk about things or say I am struggling with my OCD makes all the difference to enjoying the event.

If you have any questions, do please get in touch, I will do my best to ease any worries before you visit Camp Bestival. It’s such a fun event, I am so glad I didn’t let my OCD beat me whilst I was there. 250x250-circle

Our Camp Bestival tickets are covered by Camp Bestival. We were sent Aquaint sanistising water to review, all views are our own.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. 76 sunflowers Reply

    Without wanting to sound patronising…well done!! Those chemical loos are snug but I was well impressed at the cleaning regimes this year. Maybe if I was as careful as you I wouldn’t have come home with a bug!

  2. More Than Words Reply

    Good for you! I don’t have experience with OCD but I do struggle with anxiety, so I’m all too familiar with how easily it can ruin a good time. I’m glad you didn’t let it get the best of you.

  3. Innocent Charms Chats Reply

    Excellent post, I will be honest the toilets is one of my OCDs I thought would stop me coming, but after reading this I feel better. I still struggle with public toilets so festival ones were scaring me. We have that spray and it is awesome. You did awesome xxx

  4. Kara Reply

    Thankfully I don’t suffer with OCD but sounds like you managed well. I was really impressed with the toilets this year and plenty of loo paper too

  5. Michelle Ordever Reply

    I don’t have OCD, but I did worry about things like the toilet hygiene situation (haven’t been to a festival before, so wasn’t sure how minging they would become!) but took our own loo roll and hand sanitiser with us. Growing up in the catering industry I am like a hawk at food stalls and stands, and was glad to see hygiene ratings displayed, and the fact that you could see the kitchens behind as well. Glad to hear that the sausage incident you witnessed was rectified! It sounds like you coped very well with your OCD and your anxiety, and I bet your wife, and friends are so proud of you (and as you should be too!)

  6. Mrs TeePot Reply

    Well done to you for not letting your OCD beat you. I don’t have OCD but I do have anxiety and I have to admit that I would struggle a lot at a festival, I’ve never been to one and doubt I ever will sadly.

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  8. hpmcq Reply

    oh i feel your pain. this is the main reason we glamp, but even so it’s still a little like torture. on sunday i actually nearly bolted starkers from the showers because the draft made the shower curtain cling to my bottom. poor tanya when she saw me appear in just my towel muttering away “I had to get out, i just had to get out”. i did use the bear toilets last year, as i was really struggling with the whole toilet situation and man it was the best £2 spent all weekend! not this year though, well done us i say.

    did you see what happened to my phone!? what was i thinking?

  9. Lauren Reply

    This is such a great post. Toilets are what put me off camping at a festival. I think I would have a similar freak out at the sausage thing, I very rarely eat sausages from those kinds of stalls, or even from a fish and chip shop x

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