‘You can wee in a catsuit!’: Perfume Genius’ festival tips

Got a festival-related problem? Our agony uncle solves your dilemmas and despairs, from dodgy burgers to teeth cleanliness concerns

My boyfriend insists on bringing his acoustic guitar to the festival and breaking into a bit of Shape of You on the campsite. Should I dump him? Christine, Oxford
Yes, 100%. I actually like Shape of You, it’s just the breaking out of an acoustic guitar I don’t like. I feel like I can tell when someone’s about to do that without even seeing the guitar; I just spot a guy with a soft, downy bun and multiple thin necklaces. But yes, drop him, avoid him and you should also call the police.

Any tips for going to the toilet while wearing a catsuit at a festival? Janis, London
Good catsuits should have multiple zippers; they’ll have a top and a bottom one. I think just invest really; get yourself a good one. You don’t have to fully unzip it and get all the way out of it, but it doesn’t have a little butt flap or anything, either. It’s still chic.

Suzi Quatro’s 1974 catsuit look
‘Good catsuits should have multiple zippers’; Suzi Quatro’s 1974 catsuit look Photograph: Roger Bamber/Rex

Is it ethical to flirt with someone at a festival just in order to get access to their phone charger? Bobbi, York
I don’t see why not. Do what you need to do! I just try and push it in general. Put your phone into low-power mode, and then if that doesn’t work, I don’t see any problem with batting an eyelid at someone. I’m personally not a very contact-y person; I just let my phone die and don’t turn it on for a couple of days. But I’m not here to judge.

I don’t want to use the toilets at a three-day festival. Is it possible to “hold it all in” for that period of time? Angus, Glasgow
If you pray hard enough then anything’s possible. But at a festival you just figure it out. It can get pretty vile, so I don’t feel that bad about adding anything to it. Embrace it.

What’s wrong with wearing a Native American headdress at a festival? Gwen, London
There’s absolutely a lot of things wrong with it. I think if you need to ask that, you shouldn’t be let into a festival. Similarly with bindis, it shows people can’t come up with anything; they have to dig and steal from other cultures. Glitter knees might be better [for dressing up] – glitter knees and elbows. Or glitter armpits, because that’s a pop of colour and a surprise.

I’m OK with not doing my usual beauty regime at a festival but what’s more important: clean teeth or clean hair? Charlie, Isle of Wight
Teeth, 100% teeth. I worry about someone who would ask that question. Oral hygiene is the gateway to health, so at least bring some mouthwash. And if you’ve forgotten your toothbrush just find a stick that looks sort of clean. I would just let your hair go, and think of it as a time to start cultivating some natural oils and repairing that moisture barrier on your scalp. Although you can also get mini dry shampoo at Boots.

Will I get cholera from a festival toilet? Polly, Dundee
No, but you might get something else. I don’t think putting tiny bits of toilet paper all around is going to help either, so just squat down. You can give the seat a wipe but even that, I think, is just spreading whatever invisible, horrible thing that is on there around. You might get something rashy. I think getting ass rash from a festival toilet is as traumatic as getting a legit disease, really.

Why are all the festival lineups the same? Thomasina, Cambridge
Well that’s easy: all the festival lineups are men because all the bookers are men. The way to change this is by hiring women, and putting more women on the lineups. At least festivals are starting to be a little less EDM-y. That used to bum me out, maybe just because I’m old. But [festivals] are trying to make money; it’s probably just a bunch of old dudes fucking Googling shit.

‘Just hooting and hollering is enough’
‘Just hooting and hollering is enough’ Photograph: Dovapi/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Is it acceptable to buy and play a vuvuzela? Are they still a thing? Colin, London
There’s something kind of joyous and communal about them; I imagine everybody outside in a big field playing the one note together. But I think just hooting and hollering is enough. Just don’t throw anything: when you’re onstage, you don’t assume anything coming at you quick is going to be something nice. I went off at a person who threw a plastic thing at one of my shows once. After I shamed them, I realised it was a little lipstick and felt bad for days.

I had a terrible burger experience in ’94 which I never recovered from. What would you recommend eating at a festival? Izzy, Effingham
I feel that. Four years ago, I had a burger that was so bad that I still get mad at least once a week thinking about it. It was offensive, almost like they’d prepared it with dark energy. I’ve had some really bad fries, too: undercooked, underfried, undersalted. I get really pissed off at that kind of thing, especially at a festival where you have limited options and there’s no backup in the fridge. However, I would still suggest a burger and fries, or something sweet like churros.

Perfume Genius plays Mad Cool festival, Madrid


Hannah J Davies

The GuardianTramp

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