These Photos From Reading Show The Environmental Impact Of Festivals

Aerial footage reveals abandoned tents and rubbish covering the festival site.

We love festivals – but we do not love the mess left by thousands of revellers.

The clean-up has begun at Reading Festival after aerial footage of the site revealed large quantities of tents and rubbish left behind by attendees.

The event took place at Little John’s Farm over the August bank holiday weekend, with performers including rappers Stormzy and AJ Tracey, singer Liam Gallagher and rock band Biffy Clyro.

Lily Robbins, the festival’s sustainability manager, told the BBC that clearing up “always takes time, because we want to do it properly”.

“We have loads of different teams working together this year to actually get the site back to what it was looking like before we arrived,” she said.

But some are wondering why festivals continue to generate so much waste in the first place.

Abandoned tents are seen at the Reading Festival campsite after the event, in Reading, Britain, August 31, 2021.
Abandoned tents are seen at the Reading Festival campsite after the event, in Reading, Britain, August 31, 2021.

After seeing the images, Clean Up Britain founder John Read said: “Leaving behind tents seems like self-indulgent, first world and lazy behaviour.

“All of us must become more aware of the need to protect and cherish the environment. Dumping perfectly good tents runs contrary to this. Festival organisers need to get more socially responsible too, and insist on festival goers taking tents home with them.

“Some sort of deposit return scheme is required, but they have been very slow to act on this.”

Robbins said that while some of the discarded tents will be taken by charities, most will undergo an “incredibly lengthy” recycling process.

“Unfortunately, tents are one of the worst things to try and recycle,” she said.

Abandoned tents are seen at the Reading Festival campsite after the event, in Reading, Britain, August 31, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Matthew Childs
Abandoned tents are seen at the Reading Festival campsite after the event, in Reading, Britain, August 31, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

Melvin Benn, managing director of the Festival Republic group, which runs Reading Festival and its sister event Leeds Festival, previously told the PA new agency his aim had been to offer younger people a chance to live “freely” for a weekend.

Speaking in Leeds, he added: “Just walking out in the arena today in Reading and earlier this evening in Leeds, I think what the really interesting thing about it is, is that they come into an environment where they actually just don’t have to think about Covid.

“And actually it is one of the things I wanted to create, is a space where people can come and feel relaxed and comfortable and not looking over their shoulder really.

“It is a feeling of absolute joy because they really have – I don’t know if ‘abandoned their fear’ is the right term – but they are living freely.”

Festival Republic has e been contacted for comment in relation to the images.