Wild and Free with an Ostomy: Music Festivals / Camping / Concert – Tips and Tricks

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
07/10/18  2:03 PM PST
Music Festivals with an Ostomy

Every year I attend a music festival in New York. This was my fourth year and it occurred to me that I have figured out the how-tos of festival camping and activities with an ostomy. This is an important event for me to attend every year as it is a gathering of my friends. I started going to this festival after I had ostomy surgery, and I have done “roughing it” festival camping every time. The first year was a little nerve-racking, but I soon figured out what I needed to do to comfortably attend music festivals and concerts without anyone there knowing I had a stoma. This is my advice for attending music festivals with an ostomy, but many of the tips and tricks can be used to help on other adventures, such as amusement parks, fairs, or just camping in general.

First of all, when camping, no matter where you are, I suggest putting all of your supplies and all of your clothes in gallon plastic bags, such as a Ziplock. I pack EVERYTHING in plastic bags because one year we got completely washed out and all of our stuff was soaked the whole weekend. Luckily I had thought of this possibility ahead of time and had double bagged all of my supplies, but my clothes were still soaked. Since then, I make sure to bag it all so that I always have dry clothes and supplies. I bring my rain coat with me even if there is no rain forecast, and I baggie that, too.

My next trick is changing my wafer in a Port-A-Potty. This is defiantly NOT ideal and I am continually thinking of better options but so far this is the best I have for festival life. I bring hand wipes, along with a bottle of water and soap, in case there is no hand washing station. I use a bottled water and clean gauze for the change. I always use the handicap accessible Port-A-Potty for this so I have space to not touch the sides. I open my gallon bag and keep everything in it during the change. I do not set anything down on the Port-A-Potty surfaces: it all goes straight out of my bag (which I prop up on the handicap rail) and onto me.

Each day at the music festival, I must leave camp to go to the concerts for hours on end. If  I needed to, I could go back to the tent, but it’s easier to stay out all day — so I bring all the supplies I may need with me. That being said, I spend hours in large crowds standing and dancing to music, so I pack light. My favorite (and I think best) festival/concert idea was buying a fanny pack! I used to take my hiking pack with me, but there are a few reasons this didn’t work as well: it hits people behind me, I worry someone behind me could unzip it and take things, it starts to chafe my shoulders, and it gets searched very thoroughly when going into the venue. My fanny pack, on the other hand, has many advantages! It’s comfortable, keeps everything in front of me, and it’s tiny, so it doesn’t get in the way in tight crowds. The best part of the fanny pack is that it has a secret little back zipper that sits against my body when I wear it and the pocket is just the rights size to put a little pouch of extra ostomy supplies in there! I have not yet had a venue security agent find that pocket and unpack everything in front of people (although I do try to separate myself from friends that don’t know about stoma when we go in, just in case security was to find it).

Now for dressing. Festivals and concerts alike are places for fun, frisky outfits! What’s more, it gets hot outside all day and I like to wear crops tops. The fanny pack serves a second purpose here. I always wear high-waist shorts or pants and a crop top, but for added coverage, I wear my fanny pack off to the side covering my pouch! That way if the pouch were to peek out a bit or if it gets full, no one notices! I don’t like to leave the crowded area unless I have to since it’s hard to get back to my friends, but I also don’t want a bulging pouch showing. So fanny pack to the rescue!

As always: cleanliness, functionality, and comfort are key. If you are heading to an outdoor event try some of my tricks! I hope they help make the day fun and easy!

(I got my fanny pack of Amazon. It is a “SoJourner Festival Fanny Pack”)

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  1. Hi. I’m Tava. I too am an Ostomate of 13 years as of May 30th. I enjoyed knowing that other Ostomates are able to travel and get out and about. So many challenges with nutrition and when to eat and hydrate And when to refrain from the above. Being a 2nd time ilestomy on a non flat stomach causes extra leaking sometimes when paste strips loosens with acids of food digestive issues also.
    However..life is awesome and the surgery saved my life.
    Thank you for sharing the important article’s. Very helpful and true!

  2. I want to say THANK YOU..this sight has helped massive when I had a colonoscopy do to emergency surgery and would of been told the pros and cons of having it reversed.. I would of preferred to keep it..after it was reversed I ran in to so many issues like henias scaring blockage and a collapsed intestine so another surgery this time I had a illiostomy they released me with no information no nurse no in home so please consider all options be for reversal

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