Mighty works of God aside, every year at Soul Survivor a vitally important question comes up, but seeing as I can’t tell you how to get her number (and let’s face it, that would be a mighty work of God) I’ll settle for answering another top question; how on earth do you get a warm reliable shower without queueing at Soul Survivor? Because the campsite changes a bit each year, and because different showers are good at different times of the day there is no hard and fast answer to this question, but below are the rules to keep to if you ever want to get a decent shower on site (and don’t have your own en suite).
RULE 1: Don’t have a shower on the morning of day 2. Yes, I know you feel icky after camping, yes I know you woke up at 6.30 and couldn’t go back to sleep because you were in a tent, and yes I know that you want your hair to look its best for the first day, but so does everyone else. Every shower on site is busy by 7.00 on day 2 and will stay busy till 11. Even when you do get a shower it’ll be in a messy state, the water’ll be cold, and the pressure will be low because everyone else is using it at the same time. Have a shower on the evening of Day 1 if you can’t go 24 hours without showering.
RULE 2: Don’t have a shower on the morning of day 3, 4, or 5. While better than the morning of day 2, all morning showers are busy. Instead, embrace three o’clock showers. You don’t have to go to every seminar. Heck, you shouldn’t as you won’t get a chance to process any of it, so at some point before 4.30, have a shower. You’ll find the water pressure higher and the temperature great.
RULE 3: Use hardstanding showers. Certain showers are built units that exist year round. These showers are properly plumbed in. The water is reliable, warm, and with decent pressure. These are your best bets. Sometimes you get hired-in power shower units installed next to these blocks. Sometimes these can be better as they have the solid water supply of the hardstanding units, but also more modern heaters and pressure systems. Only sometimes though.
RULE 4: Use the showers nearer to the centre of site. You know what they use the centre of the Royal Bath and West Showground for for the rest of the year? Farmyard type shows. And you know what farmyard shows in the centre of the site need? Loads of water to wash down the animals and all the effluence they leave behind. You know what they use the outskirts of the Royal Bath and West Showground for for the rest of the year? Car parking. And you know what car parking on the outskirts of site needs? Some flat bit of grass. The water pressure is much much higher in the centre of site than it is in the rest of the site. Generally speaking the further up you go, and the further away from the centre you go, the lower the pressure drops. It pays to walk down the hills to the showers.
RULE 5: Use showers where there are less people camped. Obvious this, but clearly the showers bordering Red and Orange, and the shower block in Silver are going to be a lot busier than the showers in the centre of site where no-one is camped. Momentum delegates can get extra points here by using the showers in half empty villages (the ones up the top of Purple and Brown and the ones between Blue 7 and 8 are pretty good for this).
RULE 6: Check when the showers are cleaned. Normally the showers are cleaned once a day, twice in the case of the hard-standing ones. They often post the times on the door when the shower will be shut (though I didn’t see any signs this year). If you can time your shower to be just after they’ve been cleaned, all the better. Though bear in mind if you’re queueing while the showers are being cleaned, so are other people, and the more people having a shower at once, the worse the pressure is.
So, all that said, which showers are generally the best? Probably, on balance, the hardstanding ones between Boogies, Café Uno, and the Sports field. They can get pretty dirty in the day, but they’re the most consistent (generally) for temperature and queues and water pressure. Bring flip-flops though. Other good ones are the power showers situated between Gigs and Yellow 2, and the hardstanding block of showers on Orange 3 by the main gate. Also, it seems every year there is randomly one power shower block that is much better than the rest. This is never the block up on Pink or Silver though.
ASSOCIATED FACT: There are secret showers on site that are not available to the general delegates. Sucks to be you here, but there are a few units of hard standing showers in some of the main buildings that while not very modern or up to date, do always give consistently warm and relatively powerful showers. They also rarely have a queue. They are not though, the holy grail of all showers. The holy grail of all showers are the ones found in the little portable accommodation blocks you’ve seen dropped down on site, called Bunkabins. They are shared between two people and generally are hot and have a high water pressure. If you’re busy enough on site to get one of these, or are lucky enough to be friends with someone who has one and will share the shower, you are a fortunate person. But even then the same rules apply, the ones placed nearer the centre of site are more powerful than the ones placed far away. Alas, the holy grail of these showers-the holy grail of holy grails if you like-does not exist any more. At one point, before fire regulations prevented it, there were a series of Bunkabins placed between what was last year Mr Boogies and Gigs. This is the area they normally use for washing down animals. It has more water pressure than the Hoover Dam. You had to stop these showers every five minutes and just stand and relax in the steam for a while to let them drain because too much water was pouring into them. They are sadly missed.