You’re tired, probably still nursing a sore head and just want to be home, but you need to make sure you pack up properly for a variety of reasons. We take a look at how to pack up your gear correctly and leave a tidy campsite.
Take your tent with you
One of the tips we’ve given you in the past about buying a festival tent is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on one. That’s because festivals are crowded places and there’s a chance your tent could end up broken.
However, just because you’ve bought a cheap tent, do not leave it behind. The thought of packing up a tent at the end of the weekend might not be an attractive one, but you need to do it. Just at Glastonbury alone, around 5,000 tents are left behind each year, and someone has to clear those away. Just take a look at this video showing the tent-strewn aftermath of Glastonbury 2016...
If you want to bin it when you get home, then you can do, but don’t leave it for someone else to do.
Or leave with a charity
Some festivals run schemes where campers who don’t want to take their tent home can donate it to a charity. Creamfields is just one example of this. They work with a local charity to provide discarded tents to the homeless, so if you really don’t want your tent, check with a steward if there’s a similar scheme being run. Latitude Festival do something similar so there's a good chance other festivals will too. At least you know your tent is being put to good use.
Packing up your tent
When it comes to actually packing your tent away, it’s important you do it right. You should always try and pack it away when it’s dry, but we know that’s not always possible here in the UK. If it is wet, shake or brush off as much water as you can before it goes into its bag.
If you have had to pack away a wet tent, then it’s essential you dry it out as soon as you can when you get home. If you leave a wet tent then mildew could form on it, which you won’t be able to remove. Make sure all parts of the tent are dry - pegging points and guy lines can be deceptive, so it's worth spending the time to double check.
If you notice any damage to your tent, then repair it before it’s packed away in the loft or garage. The last thing you want is to pitch the tent next time only to remember it has a tear in it or one of the poles is broken.
It should go without saying that you should leave your pitch as you found it (ie. clean), but we’re aware that not a lot of people actually do this.
Just take a look at some of the images on this BBC blog showing the quite unbelievable amount of rubbish left after Glastonbury. A team of around 800 volunteers clean up the site, so do your bit by leaving your pitch nice and tidy.
As well as your rubbish, ensure you clear away any campfires you might have had, and check you have all your tent pegs which can be all too easy to miss. Many festivals are farmland during the rest of the year, so if any rubbish is left, it may pose a hazard for animals.
We spoke with the lovely people at A Greener Festival for their advice on packing up properly following a festival. Here's what they had to say...
Why is it important that people clear up properly after a festival? What are the potential issues if they don’t?
The waste seen at many UK festivals once the music stops and we all go home is a major challenge for organisers. Waste is so visible at events, in terms of the volume generated in a short space of time, and our attitude to items that are no longer of use. It is hidden in plain sight in the everyday.
Taking a global view on resource consumption and the environmental impact of waste generated by society, the key issues are climate change and depletion of Earth’s limited resources. This is the challenge of our times that we all can engage with to make a positive change.
Do you have any advice for people when packing up and leaving a festival?
That’s an easy one. Take it home with you when you leave! Buy durable, quality kit that you can use again and again.
That doesn’t have to mean expensive brands, but starting out with the intention of discarding your camping kit means it is by definition waste at the point of purchase.
Invest in something you value, that will be of use for years to come, you know it makes sense!
What more do you think festivals could do to encourage people to clear up? Or just be greener in general?
This is the ultimate question. Festival organisers around the world meet to discuss the elusive answer! The key is in audience engagement, how do you get the festivalgoer engaged in your initiatives?
We are all there to have a good time and share new memories with friends and family, as such more open to new experiences and ways of living. Festivals can show an alternative approach to a large, receptive audience, affecting positive change beyond the event itself.
I’ve always thought that ability was quite unique to the industry.
What else can people do if they want to have a greener festival?
Vote with your feet!
There are really exciting festivals in UK and mainland Europe, like Shambala (England) and We Love Green (France) where a sustainable approach runs through everything they do. You don’t need to have an understanding or interest in environmental issues; these are places of creativity let loose and innovation in action!
What else? Engage with the festival initiatives and find out what they are doing. Who doesn’t like talking about their passion? Believe me they are a passionate bunch.
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