The world is not your trash can, people. We should all take note of what happened at Euphoria last weekend. After the music was done, the crowd took ten minutes to clean up the trash and litter on the ground in front of the stage.
A photo posted to Facebook on April 12th has since been shared almost 2000 times. The poster, Patrick Brown, was working as a supervisor for the Green Team at the festival. The Green Team was a work-exchange program implemented by the festival to keep the venue and grounds clean.
“At the end of the last show, [at] all the stages, we handed out bags to participants and they cleaned up themselves and we just hauled off the bags,” said Brown. “It was amazing.”
Imagine if this was a standard practice at every festival, if everyone in attendance picked up a few pieces of trash in a few minutes instead of a small team of volunteers taking hours to do the same.
In the last few years, there has definitely been a shift in festival culture from leaving garbage everywhere to more conscious choices to clean and maintain the festival grounds. Brown has been in the festival world for more than 10 years and has noticed this trend as well and gives credit to West Coast festival culture, where festivals often have recycling and composting initiatives and even to Burning Man, which lives by the “Leave No Trace” rule.
“Over the past 5 years, this tradition is spreading and the kids themselves are becoming more aware of the “leave no trace” mentality,” said Brown. “In the Burning Man culture, it is even more intense, but I am happy enough if the kids just pick it up and get it near the trash can.”
So what can you do to improve your next festival experience? For starters, don’t throw trash on the ground, get it to a trash can or recycling bin. It’s as simple as that. Beyond that, do your research before your festival and see what recycling and sustainability programs and initiatives it offers. Get involved with those, most often festivals will offer a ticket in exchange for a few hours of your time volunteering each day. While at the festival, if you see trash on the ground, it takes two seconds to reach down, pick it up and deposit it in a nearby trashcan. Or you can do what the Euphoria crowd did and get your crew to stay after the music is over and spend an extra five minutes picking up trash, while you’re waiting for the crowds to clear so you can make your way out of the venue.