Friday 24 May 2019

'It's a throwaway culture': Aftermath of Electric Picnic site was 'as if a nuclear Holocaust just happened'

"It's not an Irish phenomenon, but the scale of this was something else" - Ed Rice
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

The aftermath of the Electric Picnic site was "as if a nuclear Holocaust just happened" and reflective of a "throwaway culture", according to one festival-goer.

Ed Rice, a videographer, said he walked around the campsites after everyone had left and captured the aftermath on camera.

"I waited around for seven hours because of the carnage I saw last year," Ed told RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke.

"It was the same scene regardless of the campsite, and it wasn't just tents left behind, there were air mattresses, headphones and electronic equipment, everything you would need for camping, folding chairs... it was as if a nuclear Holocaust had just happened.

"I had been to Electric Picnic about eight or nine times before, right back to the early days when it was a one-day festival when you had to wait for someone to open the gates to get in.

"This year was appalling. I've been to festivals that have a 'leave no trace' policy and there's an ethos there."

He continued; "It's not an Irish phenomenon, but the scale of this was something else.

"Even as a parent, do you not look at your kids afterwards and ask, 'where is all your stuff?'

"Do they not have any accountability for what they're leaving behind?

"Electric Picnic is supposed to be a boutique and eco-friendly festival, and it's advertised asuch.

"Charities had no chance yesterday [to collect items] before the diggers came to push stuff away."

Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland OisÍn Coghlan said progress has been made at the festival in recent years, but he was "shocked" to hear people left their tents behind.

"The Gaeltacht campsite was different," Oisin said.

"The eco campsite and the family campsite were cleaner too, basically a smaller campsite has a clear-cut identity, it's a community and the people feel more responsible.

"It's easy to feel irresponsible in a vast site of anonymity.

"We were shocked to hear people just left their tents behind. It's so cheap to buy all the stuff, people just couldn't be bothered to bring them with them."

Ed added that he believes people "have an excuse to leave stuff behind them" as charities used to enter the site post-revellers in previous years and try to salvage tents.

Charities were unable to enter the site this year as the clean-up began straightaway, and anything left behind was cleared up by diggers for landfill.

"There was incredible stuff left behind, I salvaged what I could. I can't get my head around it," Ed continued.

"I grew up not wealthy, these were treasured things, exciting things to own. The worst part was you could see people carrying out the booze with them, but leaving everything else behind. There's a detachment, it's a throwaway culture.

"How do we create that sense of community and mutual respect that exists in the smaller campsites?"

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