Camping equipment left at Reading Festival by attendees is set to be sent to refugees in France.
On bank holiday weekend, Reading and Leeds Festivals went ahead with around 180,000 visitors across both events.
When the twin festivals ended on Monday, August 30, the festival site at Leeds was described as looking “like a war zone”. Homelessness aid charity Raise The Roof founder Carl Simpson said that “it was like everyone had just left in a panic”.
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Every year, thousands of tents are left at both sites after the twin events – two of the largest festivals in the UK. This year, Herts For Refugees headed to Reading Festival to pick up all disused tents and camping equipment.
2,300 tents and 500 sleeping bags were collected at the site this year and will be given to refugees in Calais and Dunkirk, which is said to be “life-changing” for those in desperate need.
Meanwhile, Raise The Roof also collected hundreds of tents and camping gear at the Leeds site to be given to homeless people in the surrounding areas of Hull.
“What we saw was just mind-blowing,” said Simpson. “We scrimp and scrape to get everything we can, we don’t get any funding from anyone – we just rely on what we can get and to see the wastefulness.
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“There are tens and tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stuff bought for the event and just discarded and left.”
Over at the Reading site, photos and videos of thousands of abandoned tents prompted criticism on social media.
The clear-up operation takes weeks, and only a small amount can be recovered from what is left behind due to the time-consuming project.
“In wintertime, it can be quite desperate, so the things we salvage from festivals like Reading can actually be life-saving,” said Angus Clark, CEO of Herts For Refugees.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter