Festivalgoers fail to clean up

Empty tents, upturned gazebos and chilly-bins sit abandoned while air-beds and broken jandals litter the ground. 

A new video has emerged showing the large amount of waste and camping equipment left behind after the Rhythm and Alps music festival, held in Wanaka on New Year's Eve.  

Alex Turnbull, general manager of Rhythm Group Entertainment, the company behind the festival, said the mess is becoming increasingly typical of concertgoers worldwide.

''I think it's the new reality where people think that it is OK to just leave things because someone else is paid to clean it up," he said.

''I doubt after staying at your friend's place you would just drive off and leave your stuff on their front lawn.''

In a temporary city, built for 10,000 people and evacuated after 48 hours, it is inevitable that some things will get left behind, but Turnbull thinks the increasing availability of cheaper camping equipment is contributing to the growth of the mess.  

''In the weeks before summer some places advertise these cheap tents specifically for music festivals and not for serving wet or windy conditions.

''They often don't last, zips break or it's too much of a hassle so it is just easier to abandon them there.''

The site has since been cleared and cleaned by local community groups and schools looking to fundraise.

''Our focus after the festival is getting it cleaned up as fast as possible and keeping the locals happy," Turnbull said.

''Sometimes, especially the day after, it can look quite intimidating but once the clean-up gets started it doesn't take that long.

''We recycle what we can, the tents are often broken and end up in a landfill but we reuse any good gazebos at future events.''

This year 3.5 tonnes of rubbish was actually recycled by the campers, Turnbull said.

Despite the mess shown in the video, he said the rate of waste to people is ''actually quite low'' by comparison with some festivals like the UK's Glastonbury taking months to clean up.

Turnbull believes that while it should not be up to the festival to educate people on being ''tidy kiwis'', the message is obviously not getting through and they may step up their advertising around leaving the campsite clean.

While undecided on what, if any, actions would be taken by the festival, Turnbull said options and ideas are being looked into including the types of tents and equipment allowed onsite.

This year the clean-up took around five days with cleaners waiting a day after the site closed to begin.

''We generally wait a good 12 hours after shutting the gate as sometimes people sneak back in to get an extra few hours of sleep - we don't want to interrupt them.''

The Rhythm and Alps festival is in its third year and is held in the Cardrona Valley, 15 minutes south of Wanaka.

Over 10,00 people attended this year's festival where the line-up included New Zealand acts Shapeshifter, David Dallas and P-Money as well as international acts such as UK chart-topping DJs Rudimental.

The Press