By Tarryn McGuire
The site of Electric Picnic this year, like every other year before, was left in a complete and utter state after the event. The aftermath of the festival was devastating. Tents, sleeping bags, electronic gear, clothes, plastic, rubbish, bottles and cans upon cans were all left behind. The event itself looked fantastic and anyone lucky enough to have attended couldn’t praise it enough, in fact early bird tickets for next year’s EP were sold out in a matter of hours. However, with Electric Picnic being advertised as an eco – friendly festival, I expected more in terms of clean up and litter management. Denise Calnan for the Irish Independent interviewed people at the scene, one person summarised the problem perfectly, he said; “It’s easy to feel irresponsible in a vast site of anonymity.”
Many charities got involved to clean up the aftermath of this massive event, with the intentions of salvaging what they could to give to those in need. Tents and sleeping bags are of top priority here. An article published in The Irish Times read that “about 10kg of waste per visitor is expected to be collected from the Electric Picnic site.” The article continues on, mentioning that hundreds of the discarded tents were donated to homeless migrants in Calais. Unfortunately, many tents and sleeping bags were in no condition to be reused after the weekend’s events this year. In fact, many charities were unable to enter the grounds on time and diggers were brought in to sweep up everything which inevitably ended up in landfill.
Fortunately, the NUI Galway Rover society were successful in playing their part and were able to gather over 200 sleeping bags which they donated to COPE Galway. Rover Soc’s Public Relations Officer, Hannah Domingues McLaughlin, spoke to SIN on behalf of the Rover Soc.
“This is our fourth year going to Electric Picnic to collect sleeping bags,” she told SIN. “Each year we go to the Pink Moon Campsite, they provide their campers with sleeping bags, so they are usually left behind after the festival. We get in contact with Pink Moon Camping each year and they allow us to come and collect the sleeping bags so they can be donated to COPE Galway. COPE then give the sleeping bags out to people living on the streets, instead of seeing them wasted.”
On Wednesday 5 September, Rover Soc spent the day collecting, rolling and bagging sleeping bags. By the end of the day, they had collected over 200 sleeping bags and were able to fill their van completely. “These were all in pretty good condition and we dropped them off at COPE Galway that same night where they will be put to good use,” Hannah said.
Thankfully charities and other organisations were able to benefit from the aftermath of this festival, however a lot of the clean-up could have been prevented by festival goers. Hopefully EP can come up with some new rules and regulations regarding littering, and they should also ask people to pack up their tents and sleeping bags for donation.