Amphitheatre dune left ‘pristine’ after New Year’s festival

PARTY … A New Year’s festival was held at the Amphitheatre dune near Swakopmund. Photo: Contributed

The Amphitheatre dune near Swakopmund has been left in pristine condition after the recently concluded Camp Out Dune Fest ‘23, the festival’s organisers say. The festival, which drew in approximately 1 000 revellers to celebrate the new year, has been hailed “a triumph in eco-conscious celebration”, organiser Jared Geyser says.

“Attendees were remarkably conscientious, adhering strictly to the environmental protocols we put in place. People did not litter, ensuring that the Amphitheatre remained as pristine as when the event started.

“There also wasn’t a single firework or fire outside of designated drums. It shows what we can achieve with collective effort and respect for nature.”

Local businesses and environmentalists have voiced strong apprehensions about the festival’s potential to repeat the environmental disaster that followed similar events nearly 20 years ago.

Stringent measures by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and thorough planning by the organisers ensured a different outcome this time, Geyser says.

Geyser says the organisers are committed to cleaning up a historical problem area in the old Amphitheatre dune where remnants of past events have accumulated. “We’ve organised a team to rake out the area and remove all the debris, including bottle tops and champagne corks,” he says, adding the team would also remove tyre tracks.

Aside from environmental efforts, the festival has also had a positive economic impact on the local community, Geyser says.

He says 30 to 40 locals were employed during the event, and contributions to the local economy include paying park fees and a Walvis Bay company for toilet rentals.

“It was a lovely event and I hope to do this again next year. We are committed to making this an annual tradition that respects both the environment and the local community,” he says. Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda says the festival permit was “exactly adhered to”.

“We have assessed the area after the event, and we did not observe any damage or any alteration to the environment – and we are happy with this,” he says.

Muyunda says the success of the event should convince critics to trust the government’s decision to allow such events.

“Sometimes they need to have trust in their authority because we have set laws and regulations, and anyone with the capacity to meet the terms and conditions can have access to these designated areas,” he says.

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