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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 21 May 2022

Thousands of tents left behind at Electric Picnic campsite cleared by bulldozers

One festival attendee said that there was “millions of euro worth of stuff left behind”.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

A NUMBER OF bulldozers were used today to clear thousands of leftover tents and personal belongings left at Electric Picnic campsites.

The festival is held over three days in Stradbally, Co Laois, attracting tens of thousands of people, many of whom choose to camp on the site.

Ed Rice, who attended the festival this year, filmed the bulldozers clearing the tents this afternoon. He told TheJournal.ie that he saw the same thing happen last year, but because it was raining, he thought people had left their items behind for convenience.

Everything was drenched and I thought there were mitigating circumstances,” he said. “But it was dry this year, and it was three or four times worse.”

Walking through the campsite, Rice said that he saw “millions of euro worth of stuff”, from ipods and headphones; to camping equipment such as air mattresses; money and drink.

“You could see people carrying the booze with them and leaving everything else behind,” he said.

This one guy, he had packed his tent up, and when he was about to walk out he actually put his tent back. He just threw his tent on the ground.

Tackling waste

Speaking to TheJournal.ie in a previous article, the festival director of Body & Soul Avril Stanley described the waste generated at festivals as “staggering”.

“We unfortunately live in a disposable nation where there is a societal understanding that it is ok to leave waste behind at a music festival,” she said. 

Although there were charity groups and volunteers at Electric Picnic who aim to salvage materials left behind after the festival, the volume of items was too much for volunteers to cope with, Rice said.

What they got was nothing compared to what was left behind; the recycling bins were empty and barely anything left behind at the charity drop-off.

Those that operate the bulldozers go through every tent before bulldozing the area. In the forest section of the festival site, litter was also strewn on the ground.

I don’t know how they’re going to clean it up, unless they pick it all up by hand because there are trees everywhere.

“It’s a knock on effect. Everyone does it because everyone just thinks that’s the way it is.”

Organisers should incentivise people to take their tents with them – something like a deposit that they get back when they leave. The festival is never not going to sell out – there has to be something they can do.

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On the ‘Staying Green’ part of the Electric Picnic website, it says that “at least 30% of all festivals [sic] waste is made up from what is left behind in the campsites”. 

It encourages people to take their tents home, to recycle, and to use the bins provided.

“Local charities and community groups are able to collect some of the perfectly reusable camping equipment that is left behind after the festival to save it [from] landfill or incineration,” it says.

However, this is not an excuse to leave your stuff behind, we really hope that this year there will be minimal left in the fields.

The festival also has a ‘Bring Your Own Environment Eco Campsite’.

- with reporting from Aoife Barry

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