We, Kim and Cécile, decided to do our work about the waste management at festivals like the Openair Frauenfeld or the Royal Arena. We have both visited these two festival more than once and we thought it would be interesting to find out why waste is a big problem at festivals.
- We conducted a survey about the behaviour of festival visitors in regard to waste.
- We interviewed a friend of ours who has worked at the Openair Frauenfeld as a helper.
- We could get an interview with a person in charge of the Royal Arena!
- We thought of things we could do to improve the waste problem.
The OpenAir Frauenfeld is the biggest Hip-Hop Festival in Europe and the Royal Arena Festival is another Hip-Hop Festival which takes place in Orpund, Biel.
78 People took our survey. We want to thank them for that! We have set our results in pie charts. We interviewed the following groups of people: 75% were 16-20 years old, 21% 20-30 and 4% over 30. 58% of the participants have visited the Openair Frauenfeld or the Royal Arena (The Royal Arena is one of the biggest Hip-Hop Festivals in Switzerland).
1. Wie viel Abfall produzierst du an Festivals an einem Tag?
2. Wenn du ein Getränk an einem Stand kaufst und Depot bezahlst, bringst du den Becher wieder zurück?
3. Wenn Abfallsäcke verteilt werden, füllst du diese und entsorgst sie auch?
4. Wenn du campen gehst, räumst du am letzten Tag dein Zelt auf und nimmst es wieder nach Hause?
5. An einigen Festivals gibt es die Möglichkeit, Abfall zu trennen. Tust du das?
As results show, festivals in general still have potential to improve their waste management.
Interview with a person who has worked at the Openair Frauenfeld
We made our interview with Michelle. She’s a good friend of ours and has already worked 3 times as a helper for the Openair Frauenfeld. She knows a lot about the waste problem at the festival and gave us some interesting information.
“Michelle, why did you decide to work at the OAF as a helper?
First of all, I really like this festival and hip hop music in general. As a helper you are allowed to enter the festival for free. The working times aren’t that strict so I’m always able to watch my favourite acts. Moreover, I always meet some nice people my age during work. This makes this job much easier.
What are your main tasks during the festival?
When the festival starts, I have to hand out wristbands to the festival visitor. Without them, they aren’t allowed to enter the festival. During the festival, I’m busy with clearing queues and the areas around the stages. This is a nearly never ending work. It’s horrible how much garbage doesn’t get picked up. When the festival has ended, I also help clearing the camping area. This is always an absolute nightmare. Tonnes of tents, pavilions, tarpaulins, camp chairs, bottles and other waste must be disposed of.
How much do you earn for your effort?
Not much… Free entry and some drink coupons. But it’s totally worth it!
How to apply for such a job?
Fortunately, I know some of the organisers and they asked me to help them. Some of the jobs are also advertised on the OAF-homepage, but they are extremely limited.
What do you think about the trash problem on the festival?
There were some improvements over the last few years, but unfortunately the problem is still not solved at all. The amount of trash left by the visitors is still tremendous.
Do you like the depot-concept in connection with tents, plastic cups etc.?
Basically the idea is quite good, but it’s very difficult to implement this concept at a festival. People don’t want to stand in queues or are just too lazy to hand their stuff back. Pity, but I understand them.
What is your suggestions for solving this problem?
I would hire more staff for the festival. There are a lot of young people who would help for a free entry. The depot queues will become shorter and the trash will be cleared faster. In my opinion, there could also be more bins in the festival area.”
Interview with the Royal Arena
Kim and I had the opportunity to do an interview with a person in charge of the Royal Arena Festival! The Royal Arena is one of the biggest Hip-Hop-Festivals in Switzerland. It takes place every year in Biel and they managed to organize Hip Hop Icons like Wiz Khalifa, Methodman and Redman, Wu-Tang-Clan or Dilated Peoples. We want to thank Marcel Sallin and the Royal Arena team for taking time to answer our questions.
How long did the cleaning work take?
4-5 days (final cleaning included)
How many workers have you employed for the work?
over 100 people
How many tonnes of trash came together?
over 25 tonnes
Are you satisfied with the current situation?
Every year the trash is disposed in contribution with the Werkhofteam of Orpund. The tempo and the process is very good. But in the future we want to separate more waste and motivate the visitors to take their tents back home as well as seperating their trash.
How much does the cleaning work cost in total?
Between 20’000 and 30’000 Swiss Francs (incl. personal costs)
Do you engage in separating and recycling trash?
Pet and glass is separated and recycled behind the bars. From 2017, we will place separation points at the entrance to the camping site and there will be a tent depot.”
If you are interested in the Royal Arena Festival, we would like to recommend the following link: Royal Arena. Kim and I both visited the Royal Arena last year and we will definitely visit it again next year! It’s totally worth it if you like Hip-Hop-Music, especially Oldschool, like we do.
Ideas to improve the participation of the visitors
We have visited the Openair Frauenfeld and the Royal Arena many times and we have experienced some problems that could be improved.
The problem with the plastic cups
If you buy a drink at the OAF or the Royal Arena, we have to pay 2.- depot per cup and we get a chip. If we bring back the cup AND the chip we get our 2.- back. In our survey we have asked why people wouldn’t bring their cup back and some answers were like 2.- aren’t worth the effort, the queue is way too long or they don’t want to go back to where they bought the drink. Here are some ideas how we could solve this problem:
Some of the people who took our survey said that they would not bring their cup back because the queue was too long. We thought of the possibility of a separate queue, so you can bring your cup back and can “pay” your next beer with it.
Another way is to increase the charge. If you would pay 5 Francs for every cup you buy, would you return it to get that 5.- back? We totally would.
Maybe another way is to create a special OAF Cup. For example: you pay around 10.- for the cup and you carry it with you every time. A special feature would be that you can fold the cup to put it back in your trousers or your bag.
Workers who walk around
Maybe another idea would be that workers would walk around where you can put your cup in and get your 2.- back (of course you need the chip).
Problem with the tents
Every year, thousands of tents are left behind because the people don’t make the effort to take their tents back home. At the OAF, you pay 20.- depot for each tent or pavillon you take with you. If you show your tent at the end of the festival at the exit, you get your 20.- back. Why would so many people leave their tent behind? Here are some of the improvements we have thought about.
The depot is high, but obviously not high enough. Would you bring your tent back if you would have paid 50.-? We would!
Rent a tent
That is possible at the OAF, but only for the VIP section. What about a tent you could rent for like 100 franncs and bring it back at the last day? We would think about that offer whether we would take it or not.
This is a really big problem at the OAF. On Sunday morning, we really thought about not giving our tents back because the queue was WAY too long to get your depot back. We have had to wait like 2 hours! More exits would definitely solve this problem, because we think this is a big point for the most of the visitors who don’t bring their tent back at the end of a festival.
General problem of waste
At the OAF or the Royal, waste is a big problem. Many people just throw their stuff on the ground and they don’t even care what happens with it. We thought about the following solutions:
More workers like homeless or unemployees (like Sziget Festival in Budapest)
At the Sziget Festival, they employ workers who are homeless or do not have a job. That’s a good way to get workers for the festival. They can do something worth while doing this work and it is very important that these people earn a reasonable amount of money and that they are treated fairly.
Sometimes, you are just too lazy to make that effort and walk to the next bin which is maybe 2 minutes away from your spot. How about more bins?
We hope you liked our work and we hope it helped you to understand the problem of waste management at a festival. Thank you very much for reading and best regards,
Kim and Cécile
Reviewed by: Sonia Hemmerle