Rubbish remains on Sundown Festival site one week after event
PUBLISHED: 18:57 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 09 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Detritus from a music festival is still strewn across the Norfolk Showground a week after revellers arrived – but bosses say the site will be cleared this weekend.
Organisers of the Sundown Festival came in for criticism after the site was left covered in rubbish and abandoned tents.
But showground bosses have said the waste will be cleared before Monday and organisers have pledged to increase efforts to reduce the amount of litter in future.
Record numbers attended the Sundown Festival last weekend, with more than 20,000 people attending each day.
But the waste left behind by festival-goers attracted widespread outrage on social media after a video showing the scale of the rubbish was shared around 3,500 times.
Peter Milliken, chairman of Easton Parish Council, said that with the weather changing and winds picking up it was vital the site was cleared before any more rubbish was blown around the countryside or onto the roads.
"Our concern is that they should have prioritised clearing up that roadside end of the site first and certainly taken away the tents. Given that the weather is changing they should be looking to work flat out to get it cleared up so it does not cause more problems and spread all over the countryside, which would make it harder to collect," he said.
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"It is a reality of having certain events at the showground, but it does bring in a lot of people who spend money in the local area."
A spokesman for the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, which manages the showground, said: "We are aware of some ongoing issues surrounding the clean-up operation at the Norfolk Showground following last weekend's festival. The festival organisers, who are responsible for returning the site to its original condition, are currently completing the work and we expect to have the showground back to normal in the next few days."
A spokesman for Sundown Festival previously said that messaging before and during the festival had helped to reduce the number of abandoned tents by an estimated 30pc compared with 2018, despite the increased number of campers.
He added: "Reducing the amount of litter and in particular tents left behind at the end of the festival is a priority for the Sundown team."
A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said they could not currently take any action. He said: "It was a private event, on private land, so we do not have any authority to take action. With some events at the showground, we have a contract to empty the bins, such as after the Royal Norfolk Show, but we did not hold the contract in this instance."
He said the council's environmental health department, could get involved if the rubbish was there so long that it became a public health issue, for instance if it were to attract rats, but that was not currently the case.
A spokesperson for Sundown has said, "Our team is progressing well with the clean-up at Norfolk Showground following last weekend's Sundown Festival.
The majority of the site has been cleared ahead of a final pick of remaining smaller items of litter. Due to the direction of the wind, the Showground's North East corner, viewable from Dereham Road will be the final area covered in this process.
Before commencing the clean-up, our team onsite took time to salvage tents where possible. A number have been donated to DIAL and Mandalay Wellbeing CIC, both based in Great Yarmouth. Whilst this has extended the clean-up process, we are happy to have been able to reduce the levels of waste that would normally go to landfill"
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