John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Can the Porta-Potty experience be improved with bass-thumping soundtracks?
There is perhaps no bigger urine-soaked hellhole than the grounds of an outdoor rock concert. Combine mega quantities of beer with a lack of toilet facilities and inhibition, and you get people unloading in bushes, behind stalls, against the sides of vans – generally everywhere except for onto the leather shoes of the headliners.
This year, concert organizers in Argentina decided to give a little incentive to those full of bladder who were pondering doing the al fresco fire-hose. For its annual music festival, phone company Personal wheeled out a special kind of Porta Potty that emitted siren songs to the music lovers in the vicinity. Called Baños Rítmicos, or "Rhythmical Potties," these seven portable toilets featured seven individual soundtracks as well as animated male-and-female symbols performing cute swaying dances. Though each loo had a vastly different style of song, when all of them were occupied the combined composition melded together into a not-at-all-dissonant Ode to Sewage Joy.
The agency that conceived of the musical toilets, TBWA\Buenos Aires, asserts that they change a "craptastic experience" to a "fantastic" one. I'd like to ask if that's true to the guy in the ripped shirt and (fake?) blood who stumbles out at 2:10 in the below video – did he try to mosh in there or something? But otherwise, it looks like a neat way to engineer at least a few people to not piss all over the ground.