Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Outdoor festivals feel like something from an alternate reality at this point, don't they?

While gathering for an outdoor festival is at the forefront of many people's minds, there's a specific subset of people who are probably happy no one is running any concerts or art gatherings right now:

The custodial staff. Cleaning up after a long alcohol and hormonal-infused romp can't be any fun... right?

Reddit user, u/Damo-reece666, wanted to hear what got left behind when they asked:

People who clean up after festivals and similar events, what's the best and worst things you have found left behind?

The Weirdest Items

Sometimes you'll stumble across the weirdest items at a post-festival cleanup. Without any inhibitions, people won't think twice about leaving something behind, even if that something is maybe worth something or important to their survival.​

What Even Is Money?

I helped out some hippie friends of mine running this little hippie festival called Chronophonium, about 500 people camping for 3 days. Lots of themes around sustainability, recycling and what not.

Almost everyone left brand new tents in disheveled states all over the place.

You can buy a cheap tent for next to nothing at The Warehouse (New Zealand's Walmart). I reckon people are packing up to go on the last day hungover as f-ck and they just wanna mentally write-off everything and get home asap. These same people would have launched into monologues about wastefulness from big box stores and sustainable re-use at any other time.

When you're hungover and coming-down from a 3 day bender, principles go out the window.


At Least They Weren't Frogs?

I'm an usher at my neighbourhood movie theatre so idk if this counts but I found a plastic bag under a seat with 6 guppies swimming around inside so I kept the guppies for myself lol. I had to Google how to take care of fish but it was fun and I still have them today


Chicken Tendies Are The Best

me and my buddy Keith were working for this security group in Chicago that was notorious for paying people on the cheap, which is why they always recruited dumb high schoolers like us. However, one night we were working a concert downtown by the lakefront, and after the concert we got to take home an entire tray of chicken tendies! Our cars were parked all the way at Soldier Fields garage so we paid a bicycle carriage guy in the chicken tendies to bring us back there. A terrific ending to the night.


Why Cover It Up? Out Of Shame?

My dad used to be the guy in charge of renting out the Knights of Columbus hall. Per policy, he had to be on-site during the event, but would clean up after. The cleanup would usually be the next day, and I'd come along to help.

The best thing we found was a $500 tip left behind by the father of the bride after a wedding reception with a little thank-you note.

The worst was finding the punch bowl the next day after someone had puked in it and put a lid over it. I'm pretty sure it had been spiked with something pretty strong before that, too.


Anyone Surprised About Finding These Things At A Phish Concert?

I worked at a venue in Oregon and one of our favorite things was to list off the Lost & Found items at the end of the night in our FB page. The best was probably after hosting the group Phish for 2 nights in a row. Nitrous tanks, underwear, a car, costumes, and my personal favorite was the giant hot pink inflatable dragon river floaty.

There were 3 people on it that were high on mushrooms and they fell in the river and had to abandon it. (They're fine) I inherited that floaty after 30 days in the lost and found and we had the best summer of our lives.


Lucked Out

Sometimes, working these events leads to some good fortunate. People don't tend to watch their wallets or bags when having too much fun, leading to a great payoff for those forced to sweep up after.

Australia Sounds Great

I cleaned up for an event once and it was an event where you weren't allowed to bring your own alcohol in (so they can get you to buy it from the event itself and whatnot) so cops were taking people's alcohol.

cool, that's fine.

I was cleaning up and two cops walked over and asked if I was 18. I showed them my license to prove I was, and they gave me almost $1000 of untouched alcohol that they'd confiscated from people trying to sneak it in. bottles of vodka and tequila, a lot of beer and rum and a bunch of ciders all given to me cause I was a volunteer and not getting paid otherwise. was f-cking great


That's How A Home Begins

I've cleaned up and found entire cooking sets and chairs.


Free kitchen


Sifting Through Waste For The Gold

Obviously the worst is buckets of human waste.

Currently sporting a pair of barefoot shoes I scored from the literal HEAPS of shoes left behind at Tough Mudder events. One of the best was definitely a $120 Helinox camping chair. My bf still uses his 40oz hydroflask found post fest as well.


Getting The Short End Of The Money Stick

Did it once, as a fundraiser for a youth organisation, and collectively we found £3000 and ten mobile phones, and this was during the days when it was a somewhat luxury to have a phone.

(clarification edit: I didn't personally find and keep all of the above, this is what was found by the group of us, which was around forty teenagers. I found £35 and no phones)


That's Your Weekend Sorted

$60 and about 1/2oz of some really good herb.



And here's the stories we were all probably expecting.

Making A Game Out Of An Awful Situation

My company cleans up after festivals and the stuff we find has no end!

When we find a questionable looking bottle we play a game we call "tea or pee" (aka. Piss or pino; wee or whiskey)

Everyone takes a bet then some brave and curious sole pulls the cap and sniffs! Funny enough it's usually the guy with the weakest stomach and he either exclaims "Tea!" Or looses his lunch on the spot :)


Sh*t Tents? This Has To Be The Worst One...

Bottle of rum, lots and lots of drugs, watches, phones, perfectly good clothes, welly boots, wallets/cash etc.

Worst is sh-t tents. As in, abandoning your tent but doing a massive sh-t in it before you go so it can't be reused.


...Annnnd There It Is.

I did a clean at a 3 day music festival once.

Literally the first night I had to clean one of the portable shower cubicles, because someone had sh-t in the corner and stuck a cocktail umbrella in it.


No, Wait A Minute, This Is The Grossest One-DID YOU SAY A WHAT BODY?

Poop tent.

It's a 5 gallon bucket filled with laundry detergent with a toilet seat on top placed in a cheap tent. Imagine open that sucker up after 4 days of 100 degree weather.

Dead body. It was an apparent OD.

Booze and drugs. Also a nitrous tank. (That night after work was fun)


Always clean up after yourself. Pretty sure that's the important takeaway from today. Leave things the way you found it, bring a trash bag, and for the love of all that is holy, take your poop bucket with you.

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