Abandoned tents and other camping equipment left behind by attendees of this year’s Reading Festival are set to be sent to refugees in France.
Around 2,300 tents and 500 sleeping bags were collected at the site this year, after the August Bank Holiday event which was attended by around 10,000 people. All of the useable abandoned equipment will now be given to refugees in Calais and Dunkirk, with the initiative being described as “life-changing” for those in need.
180,000 people attended across both the dual Reading and Leeds Festivals, and when they came to an end, the festival site at Leeds was described particularly 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”.
With that in mind, Raise The Roof collected hundreds of abandoned tents, as well as camping gear, at the Leeds site to be given to homeless people in the surrounding areas of Hull.
At Reading, meanwhile, Herts For Refugees were on hand to collect all disused tents and camping equipment so that they could be put to use by refugees in France.
Speaking about the post-festival scene at Leeds, Raise The Roof’s Carl Simpson said: “What we saw was just mind-blowing. 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. There are tens and tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stuff bought for the event and just discarded and left.”
Angus Clark, CEO of Herts For Refugees, said: “In wintertime, it can be quite desperate, so the things we salvage from festivals like Reading can actually be life-saving.”
This year’s Reading Festival, the first since 2019, included sets from the likes of Stormzy, Solardo, MK, AJ Tracey and more.
This isn’t the first initiative that Reading has got involved in either, with human waste from 2019’s event being put to use by Thames Water after being collected to be turned into renewable energy.