Latitude Festival: how we helped bust period taboos | ActionAid UK

For Latitude Festival 2017, we invited festival-goers to join us in busting period myths and taboos - all with a little help of the likes of Aisling Bea, Nish Kumar and Tom Allen. Find out how we got on - in pictures. 

At Latitude Festival 2017, we invited festival-goers to help bust period myths
At Latitude Festival 2017, we invited festival-goers to help bust period myths

For Latitude Festival 2017, we pulled out on our wellies and braved grey skies to celebrate the fact that menstruation matters. 

No girl should be held back because of her period.

That's why we played our taboo-busting video on the festival main stage throughout the weekend, inviting festival-goers to visit out tent, complete with free sanitary pads, comedy, VR headsets and more. 

ActionAid video at Latitude

Toilet takeover

As people queued to go to 'the ActionAid loos', they could read stories of girls affected by period taboos and lack of sanitary pads in countries where we work.

ActionAid toilet pillars

Lack of access to toilets and sanitary items leads to gender discrimination: in Africa, one in ten girls misses school when they have their period.

This has a huge knock-on effect on girls’ education and often leads to them dropping out, reducing their chances of being able to support themselves later on in life.

Period pillars

By providing advice and support, sanitary pads, a safe place to wash, and separate toilets in countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania, we are making sure that girls who would otherwise drop out can stay in education.

ActionAid loos

Free sanitary pads

In the spirit of providing sanitary products to girls in Africa, we were also giving out free pads to female festival-goers.


Many women were really grateful, as they said it saved them a long trek to the festival supermarket in the camping area – the only place on site that sold them.


Virtual reality toilet in Rwanda

To bring our work to life, our virtual reality experience showed first-hand how ActionAid is building safe toilets with clean water in countries across Africa.

Virtual reality toilet

Our VR headset immersed people in the real-life setting of a toilet in Rwanda, and showed the difference it has made to girls' lives.

Virtual reality toilet experience

Surfing the crimson wave

People of all ages (and species) loved 'surfing the crimson wave' – based on Cher Horowitz's period euphemism from the movie Clueless.

Surf the crimson wave at Latitude

Even a little dinosaur had a go!

Surf the crimson wave

And a penguin!


Breaking the taboo

Inspired by Pakistani students' period taboo protest in 2016, our 'Break the taboo' wall encouraged people to share powerful messages about periods.

Period wall

The response was amazing - men, women, boys and girls of all ages were eager to highlight that periods are nothing to be ashamed of...

Period message

...including proud dads!

Period message

Getting the painters in

Continuing with our period euphemism theme, we 'got the painters in'! 

Get the painters in

Festival-goers could paint themselves from head to toe in red - from glitter and love hearts to feather bowers and nail painting...

Get the painters in

...and then have their picture taken in our social media photo booth with an ActionAid sign...

Photo booth help show their support for putting an end to period taboos.

Teenage girls

Live performances

Our amazing comedian and poet friends performed live at our tent to help draw in the crowds and raise more funds to support our work.

Comedy acts

Big thanks for brilliant performances from: Lisa Luxx, Lauren Pattison, Robin Ince, Abigoliah Schamaun, Nish Kumar, Mark Thomas, Kelly Convey, Marcus Brigstocke, Aisling Bea, Ivo Graham, For Latitude Festival 2017, we invited festival-goers to join us in busting period myths and taboos - all with a little help of the likes of Aisling Bea, Nish Kumar and Tom Allen. Find out how we got on - in pictures.  Travis Alabanza, and Alfie Brown.

Mark Thomas

They were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

ActionAid volunteers and members of the public enjoying our live comedy acts

Celebrity support

We're also hugely grateful to many of Latitude's artists, who showed their support for busting period taboos by having their photo taken with us backstage.

Will Young

A big thank you to Will Young, The Horrors, Lucy Rose, Baaba Maal, Two Door Cinema Club, Public Service Broadcasting...

Baaba Maal

...and to Ibibio Sound Machine, Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy, Fatboy Slim, DJ Yoda, and Huw Stephens.

Ibibio Sound Machine

Knowing we have the supprt of all these talented musicians and performers makes all the difference.

Our taboo-busting volunteers

We couldn't have done it without our fantastic team of volunteers, who gave up their time and energy to talk to Latituders about all things perdiod!

ActionAid Latitude volunteers

Thanks to them, thousands of festival goers learned how girls are held back by their periods in developing countries, had positive conversations about why menstruation matters, and helped us raise an amazing £4,500 to help keep girls in school.

ActionAid volunteers at Latitude

A huge hats off to Ciaran, Milly, Ella, Issie, Sarah, Gee, Mena, Daniel, Giulia, Vicky, Isabella, Hannah, Peter, Susan, Rachel.K, Erin, Lilian, Jessie, Cherie, Jess, Elle, Ismail, Megan, Harriet, Cat, Milly, Steph, Dan, Joe, Jonty, Jessica, Marina, Gemma, Kat, Phil, Joseph, Rachel.G and our photographer Jack who took all these fabulous photos for us. Thank you!

ActionAid volunteers

No girl should be held back because of her period

We'll be back at Latitude next year for another weekend of period-taboo busting, and we hope to see you there!

In the meantime, you can get involved by finding out more about our work ending period poverty and making sure no girl is held back because of her period

Find out more