Once again I am back from an incredibly busy summer of outdoor events and festivals singing the same sad tune.
It is APPALLING the state that some festivals are left in at the end of a weekend of frivolities. Audiences have not bought the right to discard their belongings and leave them for someone else to clear up and dispose of. This despicable culture is growing. While a handful of festivals are are going to pain staking efforts and cost to deal with the serious issue other organisers need to stand up and admit the problem and do something radical to stop it.
One festival that I spoke to over the summer collected more than 100 tons of discarded camping equipment last year. The campsites this year on Monday after the festival looked as though the festival was still happening. An eerie site. It was an emotional experience. Rubbish blowing everywhere, things burned and damaged, perfectly good tents, clothes and food just left. The festival-goers had literally got up on Monday morning and walked off the site in the clothes they were wearing carrying nothing and leaving food, bags, clothes, sleeping bags, mats, chairs, tents… everything. There was barely a light green patch of grass where even one person had taken their belongings home. My feeling stood amongst the carnage was that these people shouldn’t have the privilege to camp here and call this beautiful green land their home for 3 days and behave in this way. As a result of this behaviour, once again there is an unacceptable and unnecessary volume of camping equipment and materials buried in landfill. Multiply this by the many major festivals that happen in the UK and also some EU countries, we are facing a very serious and grave social and environmental issue that needs to be addressed.
TO AUDIENCES: YOUR FESTIVAL BELONGINGS ARE NOT ONE USE ITEMS. THEY ARE NOT REUSED, SALVAGED OR SENT TO THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. THEY ARE BURIED IN THE GROUND! ‘LOVE YOUR TENT’ AND EVERYTHING YOU BRING WITH YOU, THEN TAKE IT HOME.
TO FESTIVAL ORGANISERS: YOU NEED TO DO MORE. LESS LIP SERVICE AND MORE ACTION PLEASE. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR AUDIENCE’S BEHAVIOUR AND IF YOU ARE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT LESSENING YOUR EVENT’S IMPACT THEN ADMIT THE PROBLEM, RECOGNISE THE EFFECT IT IS HAVING AND DEAL WITH IT.