Friday 2 September, after a two year wait, saw the comeback to beat all comebacks. The much-loved Irish festival, Electric Picnic returned to Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Many young and old went on the journey to experience live music and the joys of camping. This 4-to-5-day event saw the re-emergence of body glitter, bucket hats and the throw-away generation. However, the star of the festival was not the many Irish acts or even the Arctic Monkeys but the rubbish that was left behind from the throw-away generation.
People prepared for the rain with their ponchos, parkas, and wellies but not for the wasteland that they would have to fight through. This beloved festival like the many festivals that happens around world was bombarded with the discarded refuse that people didn’t bother or care to dispose of correctly.
This beloved festival with beautiful scenery was tarnished by the unsightly picture of broken tents, black bin bags and empty cans.
Shauna Bowers for the Irish Times recalls a young man saying, “Why would I bring it with me when it’s broken?”. Encapsulating the very notion of the throw-away generation.
This mindset and outlook were repeated by many other campers staying in each campsite. Festival-waste issues are a problem with every festival that happens all around the world.
Many people who attended the festival have had their say about the mess that was left on TikTok. A common observation made by the attendees who were not in the glamour spots said that there weren’t enough bins supplied by the festival organisers and the bins that were present were always full and hardly ever emptied. Additionally, there was complaints that staff were not adequately trained in knowing the geography of the area and could not direct people to disposable areas.
There is a responsibility by the people who go to the festival to dispose of their rubbish accordingly without making it someone else’s problem however, the organisers must and need to supply more bins.
While not much can be done about the rubbish now other than it be cleaned up by someone else, the organisers will have to supply more bins and hire staff to promote adequate and appropriate clearance of waste. Following that tickets are on sale on Saturday 10 September, festival organisers should think of ways to prevent this from happening again.