After what had been hailed as the busiest and best WestFest Big Sunday so far in Dundee, vandals, drunken thieves and litter louts have left a bitter taste in the mouths of organisers.
Mountains of litter had to be cleared up by volunteers at the close of the Magdalen Green event, while drunken thieves made off with WestFest equipment for their own use, hurling abuse at the members as they retrieved the gazebo from them.
In addition, vandals poured white line marking paint all over a pile of chairs which had been borrowed from the city council for the community festival.
The litter clear-up and the cleaning of the chairs meant volunteers spent long hours after the 7pm curfew reinstating the site and the equipment to their former condition.
WestFest chairwoman Paola McClure said they had thought long and hard before deciding to go public with their concerns but felt it important to highlight the behaviour of a minority of people among the 7,000 crowd.
Pointing out that Big Sunday is organised entirely by an unpaid volunteer committee and is not a council-run event, Paola said the abuse hurled at the organisers during the clear-up by some people left them wondering whether it was all worth the effort.
She said: “The vast majority of people thoroughly enjoyed themselves and had a great time. We all felt it was the best one yet and would have gone home extremely knackered but very happy with the festival.
“But a certain group of people who were asked not to be unhelpful by taking some of our equipment and their arrogant sense of self-entitlement left us all wondering what the point was rather than being able to go home knackered but happy with the results.
“Litter will always be an issue so a huge thank you to everyone who used bin bags provided and took them up to the roadside for collection. But others didn’t and just left it for us volunteers, including a 71-year-old woman, to clear up.
“WestFest is organised entirely by unpaid volunteers. We are highly appreciative of the support we do get from Dundee City Council but this is a free festival organised by unpaid local people.
“We get some local sponsorship but it mainly happens because of fundraising, in-kind support and goodwill.
“The main stage and Star stage are hired from the council but the marquees and gazebos belong either to WestFest or the committee members themselves.
“The gazebo that was dragged away by drunks is the one we use to cover the sound desk and we cannot afford a replacement.
“WestFest cannot express fully enough how unwelcome they are and how much they spoiled a day that should have left us feeling it was all worth the effort.
“We put this event on for absolutely every other person except them.
“Finally, as we were putting away the chairs at the Star stage we noticed that some kind person had poured a bucket of white line paint over them.
“People who do things like that just leave a bad taste in our mouths and jeopardise the festival continuing.”