Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in

Garbage is a big problem at festivals. We constructed a wheel of fortune that visitors could turn after throwing away their trash for a chance to win love, become truly metal or a small falafel ball.

The Wheel of Rubbish.

The Wheel of Rubbish.


Visitors at festivals camp on site for several days. To survive this endeavor they bring goods such as groceries and camping equipment to the festival site. It is very likely that most of the packaging and goods are thrown away during or at the end of the event. When people return home after an exhausting weekend, they leave the unnecessary rubbish behind and the festival ground can resemble a field of destruction. Based on our experience, commercial rock festivals suffer from this problem the most. A sad example was the Reading festival 2013 in England which hit the headlines with “a sea of rubbish” left behind by 90.000 visitors.

The Reading festival's

The Reading festival’s “sea of rubbish” as described by the Daily Mail Online.

We decided to test a concept at the Reload festival this year and came up with a small and easy-to-maintain installation to raise awareness about garbage pollution. We conceived a wheel of fortune monster that resembled an electric guitar and deployed it next to our Monster Falafel stand. Later, by the end of the festival, we brought it to the garbage deposit pickup point to make the trash disposal areas more visible.


We built the Wheel of Rubbish using, literally, rubbish. We acquired a bicycle wheel from a friendly bicycle repair shop and reused a damage package of laminate that we acquired from a DIY shop. The concept artwork below inspired the design.

The Deedee Distortion concept artwork by Andre.

The Deedee Distortion concept artwork by Andre.


We received positive feedback for the installation’s appearance and concept. The guitar and wheel of fortune concept seemed to attract people.

However, people were inclined to cheat and turn the wheel to the falafel prize field behind our backs and the wheel proved to be difficult to monitor without a dedicated person.

The wheel attracted people but a sign alone was not enough to motivate the Reload visitors to participate

The wheel attracted people but a sign alone was not enough to motivate the Reload visitors to participate


Depending on the style, subculture and size of a festival the level of pollution and waste varies.

Talking to the responsible people for trash disposal at the Reload Festival, made clear to us that a solution for this big problem is needed. We want to help to find solutions in the future and to make it more fun to recycle at festival. This should happen through “pull-communication” (“Hey that’s cool I wanna do it”) and not through “push-communication” (‘Hey you should recycle, please.’). We think that art installations are a good approach that are both attractive and new.

Considering our first try, the Wheel-of-Rubbish, we learned that more and bigger installations are needed to raise a sufficient amount of awareness about the pollution challenge. We have developed a much larger concept consisting of games and installations that has yet to be implemented, but we promise Deedee Distortion from above will be involved again.