Sunday, December 8, 2013
PORTLAND — A pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, a nearly new child-sized pair of Ecco sandals, a plastic tote bag neatly packed with snacks and a water bottle, and thousands of smashed plastic cups and lemon rinds.
James Baldwin of Portland carries bags of returnable bottles and cans up the hill on the Eastern Prom, site of Saturday’s Mumford & Sons concert. City officials said they won’t know until Monday how much trash and recycling were generated by the event.
Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
City worker Robert Fogg cleans up trash with a turf sweeper. Recycling efforts helped reduce the post-show litter, officials said.
Those were some of the items left behind on the grassy hillside of the Eastern Promenade by 15,000 people from Maine and across the country who turned out Saturday for Mumford & Sons' "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover" traveling musical festival.
Soon after daybreak Sunday, the big cleanup began. The scene on the hill was definitely post-party. The sweeping views of Casco Bay, which provided a one-of-a-kind backdrop for the concert the day before, were now obscured by mist and fog. The odor of stale pizza and fried food mixed with that of ocean brine.
City workers and private contractors picked up mountains of debris, dismantled tents, disassembled two stages and piled up fencing as dog walkers and exercisers picked their way through the litter.
"It's a total mess, but I have seen it like this on Fourth of July," said Laragh Kavanaugh, a Congress Street resident.
Kavanaugh was among the nearby residents who bought tickets to the day-long festival featuring the Grammy-nominated British folk-rock band and a half-dozen other acts. Others chose to take in the music from their lawns and decks.
The concert promoters are reimbursing the city for all of its expenses, including the cleanup. City employees who worked at the event said they appreciated the extra income.
"It helps in this economy," said Marc Spiller, public services coordinator.
A handful of private citizens took one look at the trash and saw economic opportunity. Warren Rodriquez of Portland scrambled over the grass, picking up returnable water and soda bottles.
"I've found some hats and some change," said Rodriquez.
Armed with a metal detector, Carol Whitmore of Portland searched for anything interesting, vowing to turn in anything of value.
"It's just my fun, a hobby and excuse to be outside," said Whitmore.
City officials said they won't know until Monday how much trash and recycling were generated by the event, but they don't expect it to amount to more than the litter from the 50,000 or so people who gather on the Eastern Prom for the Fourth of July celebration.
"Typically on the Fourth of July we have to do a lot of cleanup in the neighborhood, and that is not the case" for the Mumford & Sons concert, said Nicole Clegg, city spokeswoman. She said the cleanup is expected to take two days.
City workers said recycling efforts, organized by Troy Moon, the city's environmental programs and open space manager, reduced the litter. Moon and about 130 volunteers collaborated with Reverb, a Portland-based group that works to reduce the environmental impact of concert tours, to encourage concertgoers to recycle their trash or toss it in containers.
"That was an A-plus move," said Jay Robinson, a city maintenance worker.
Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:
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Carol Whitmore of Portland said if she found anything of value with her metal detector, she would turn it in to city workers. She was sweeping the hill because “it’s just my fun, a hobby.”