One organization is making the most of people’s wanton disregard for the environment, by gathering things left behind at a South Wales festival site, and giving them to homeless people in dire need. Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands spent New Year’s Day combing the Lost Paradise camping site and marveling at the virtual treasure trove of useful items left behind by festival goers.
It is more than a little ironic and hypocritical that the Lost Paradise festival, meant to be a celebration of music, food, art, and yoga, could leave behind such a complete and utter mess. A video of the festival grounds, looking a bit like a post-apocalyptic wasteland of garbage, with rubbish being blown by the wind into the nearby national park, went viral this week. Thankfully, Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands, a small organization dedicated to helping homeless people, founded by Linda Strickland and ran from her home, took control of the situation. Here are a few examples of items people left behind: perfectly good tents, hiking boots (some with tags still attached), no fewer than six trestle tables, insect repellent cans, eskies, refrigeration boxes, sleeping bags, and the list can go on and on. These items very clearly prove the proverb “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, as the folks at HHH know too well.
A group of 20 volunteers took two full days to sort through the discarded items at the festival grounds. Some of these volunteers are homeless themselves. “Oh my gosh, look at that! And that!” was the mantra muttered by the group throughout this time.
Linda Strickland is very happy to find so many useful things, but given the limited resources of her organization, storage for this stockpile may constitute a problem. “We can’t afford another storage shed,” she stated. Until they can be efficiently distributed, the items will be packed away in trailers and under tarps in some of the volunteers’ back yards.
The garbage left behind at festival sites is often blamed on organizers. However, in this case, after a festival dedicated to community, friendship, and communion with nature, we would argue that the brunt of the guilt lies with festival goers. For future reference, folks, if you can take it to the festival, you can most definitely take the wrapper back home with you, in case the organizers overlook proper waste management. Not to mention the brand new tent.