A park festival in Sheffield left residents outraged after a lack of ground protection mats led to the grass being churned into a deeply rutted wet and muddy quagmire.
The event was called BassFest and was held on the Ponderosa, a designated ‘open space’ in Sheffield, although not officially a public park.
Organisers Fire in the Park did not lay ground protection mats, so when the weather proved to be severely inclement on the day, there was nothing to prevent the field from becoming a muddy mess.
While this is in the true spirit of British festivals, it left a significant clean-up operation, and local residents are not amused.
Petition to put right the Ponderosa
Paddy Moloney took to Change.org to petition Sheffield City Council to restore the land to its previous even and grassy condition.
He wrote: “After a festival of music on the Ponderosa Sheffield, we the residents of this area are left with a churned up muddy field.
“The Ponderosa was used up to last week as a sports area for two local junior schools. This summer it has been used more by families for picnicking with their children.”
He added that “this all finished” due to the damage done during the event, and such use by local families and students would not recommence until the original condition was restored.
‘Working on it’
In an announcement following the petition, Sheffield City Council member for culture, parks and leisure Councillor Mary Lea said the authorities are working with Fire in the Park on the issue.
She added that “full reinstatement” is impossible until the ground is dry – and that the grass will not be reseeded until the spring.
Fire in the Park added: “We are fully committed to reinstating the ground and are doing everything we can to make this happen as soon as possible.“
But with autumn-winter on the way, residents face potentially six months before grass returns to the Ponderosa, all for the sake of proactively protecting the ground in the first instance.
It’s a great example of why we often recommend ground protection mats for summer festivals, as you never know when the British weather will turn and clean-up can be costly and a lengthy process.