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Of course I cannot speak for you but what I can say is that I am not sure I’'ve ever been inspired by a Portacabin toilet...…until last weekend, that is.

What may surprise you more is that I was at a festival! Now please cast your mind back for a minute to the last time you visited the loo in the middle of a field at a festival or county show and using all your senses try to recall what you saw and smelt and felt while you (probably) jigged around on one leg in the most frustratingly long queue? If your experience is anything like mine you may well agree that sometimes the back of a hedge seems like a better option!

So what was so special about my toilet experience then? Well, if you look at the picture above you’'ll see that these were no normal portaloo’s as they looked great and smelt fresh, complete with soft loo paper that did not run out, nice liquid soap and hand cream and they were always clean. But the most surprising part was that not once over a busy, 2-day event did I have to line up and wait, nor did anyone else from what I could see.

The attention to detail that gave me the comfort of a clean trip to the conveniences was my bottom-up(!) introduction to a hundred little details that made every aspect of The VET Festival a joy. This event is different: It'’s like no other event on the veterinary CPD calendar; in fact, nothing comes close…....

VETfest is held in a field for a start, not a conference centre, and the first things visitors absorb is that happy festival vibe, partly attributable to being in the fresh air and also due to the live music, the sight of tents and marquee and everyone - just everyone - wearing a smile on their face.

This event is fun - from the welly-wanging and flamingo croquet through to the barbeque and musical entertainment in the evening. This is no Glastonbury though, as under-pinning the apparent ‘frivolity’ is some serious world-class clinical CPD and a “'wellness and team-building’ stream' that highlighted and attempted to address some of the personal challenges that high-achieving veterinary professionals wrestle with. The recorded rates of mental illness and suicide amongst vets are simply shocking and we need to do something about it.

So The VET Festival is a quality event that doesn'’t hold it’s punches, offering knowledge and skills advancement alongside practical support for dealing with the stresses and strains of veterinary life.

And their ‘attention to detail’ makes every difference: The VET Festival walks the talk in creating a fun environment for serious learning and the wellness theme was carried through from Noel Fitzpatrick’'s opening presentation to the session he held with Russell Brand on Friday evening where both men were quite candid about the problems they’'ve faced and what’'s been done to overcome them, right through to the delicious food on offer - no place for curled up sandwiches here, I can tell you - instead a number of nutritious and healthy lunch options.

So well done organisers and key sponsors! Well done on thinking outside the box! Well done on hosting an extraordinary event! And congratulations on the provision and execution of those all-important necessities… such as the toilets because stuff like that really matters!

See you next year…?

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