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Thousands of tents, tarps, clothes and boots left at music festivals

PUBLISHED: 15:26 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:48 13 November 2017

Chris Mastricci receives his certificate from Digby Chacksfield from the Eastern Enterprise Hub  and Nicol Steuer, managing director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, at the Festival of Enterprise at Wherstead Park, Ipswich
Picture: Burcu Senturkler

Chris Mastricci receives his certificate from Digby Chacksfield from the Eastern Enterprise Hub and Nicol Steuer, managing director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, at the Festival of Enterprise at Wherstead Park, Ipswich Picture: Burcu Senturkler

Archant

Chris Mastricci is a social entrepreneur who salvages valuable tents and clothing discarded after top music festitvals like Reading Festival, V Festival in Essex and Latitude, Suffolk.

Chris Mastricci of Festival Waste Reclamation and Distribution with his Lloyds Bank mentor Pete Basford at the graduation ceremony at Wherstead Park, Ipswich.
Picture: ArchantChris Mastricci of Festival Waste Reclamation and Distribution with his Lloyds Bank mentor Pete Basford at the graduation ceremony at Wherstead Park, Ipswich. Picture: Archant

Businessman Chris Mastricci is a walking advertisment for his business – Festival Waste Reclamation and Distribution.

When he turned up for his graduation from the Lloyds Bank Entrepreneurs Programme, held at Wherstead Park, Ipswich, his whole outfit – including a shirt looking like one of Ed Sheeran’s – had come from the tonnes of unwanted “stuff” left by festival-goers at events like the V Festival in Chelmsford, Latitude in Suffolk and the Reading Festival.

Festival Waste Reclamation and Distribution has had a busy year. I went along to Latitude this year and walked through fields of tents, of all shapes of sizes, enough to accommodate an invading army. They stretched in every direction.

But, apparently, when the music lovers leave, vast numbers of tents, camping equipment, sleeping bags and clothes are left behind. It is the same, or worse, at every festival. At the Reading Festival, says Chris, 44% of the tents were left behind.

A previous year's V Festival at Hylands Park, Chelmsford.
Picture: James McCauleyA previous year's V Festival at Hylands Park, Chelmsford. Picture: James McCauley

“There is usually nothing wrong with them that a good clean won’t sort out,” says Chris, who took part in the recent Lloyds Bank Entrepreneurs Programme run at the Eastern Enterprise Hub in Ipswich. “But they need to be collected on the Monday after a festival before they are bulldozed and end up in landfill. It is a big task, sorting and collecting it.”

However, he adds, “In these days of rising homelessness, and the refugee problem across Europe, tents and sleeping bags can be vital. There is a tremendous opportunity to collect tents and sleeping bags that people have left, to recycle them, after festivals. We have collected 15 tonnes this year, but it is only a fraction of what is available.

“Looking ahead to the next festival season, we will need collectors and people able to sort through the clothes.

At the Festival of Enterprise at Wherstead Park he had a table piled high with good quality branded clothing that had been left behind - and to make a point his shirt, jeans and jacket had all been discarded at festivals.

Crowds came out in force for Glass Animals. Latitude 2017 - Paul John BayfieldCrowds came out in force for Glass Animals. Latitude 2017 - Paul John Bayfield

Many items were as good as new, he said, others just needed cleaning. “A good wash and they are as good as new.

“The V Festival in Essex is always in August. We hope to do a lot more there next year,” he said.

“With a crowd of around 60,000 there will be at least 20,000 tents.

“If we can collect a lot more of those, we can really make a difference.

First arrival on Thursday evening at Latitude 2017 - Paul John BayfieldFirst arrival on Thursday evening at Latitude 2017 - Paul John Bayfield

“Festivals have a sort of care-free ethic, but it changes into a sort of careless ethic.

“We can only scratch the surface. If people want to leave a tent, for collection, they should pack it up.

“At one festival somebody had abandoned a £700 canvas bell tent, because the pole was broken. I have replaced it with a titanium pole and we ca use it as our office/chill out area when we are collecting on site.

“People abandon tarps (tarpaulens), which are really useful, all sorts of clothes, chairs, walking boots and welly boots.

“Many items have only been bought for the festival, and only used once.”

He looked a picture of a music festival-goer.

Chris was wearing: A checked sheet from Leeds Festival, a jacket from Brownstock Festival, Essex and jeans found after the V Festival, Chelmsford.

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