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September 01, 2014 04:55 PM

Mud Creates Difficult LifeLight Clean-Up

Worthing, SD

As the tear-down for LifeLight begins, organizers are still basking in the glow of one of the highest-attended weekends in festival history, even though the weather was less than ideal.

"People are comparing this to MudFest back in 2006, we remember those years of all the LifeLight years. Amazing to me the people, the passion they have for this event. People came out in the mud and the rain, moshed in the mud and then they came back," LifeLight CEO Alan Greene said.

Now that the crowds have dispersed, hundreds of volunteers are joining in to help clean up the festival grounds. It's an even harder task this year because of all the mud. Hundreds of cars and campers struggle to get through the mess.

"I'd go out there and there'd be friends helping friends, kids helping other kids pushing their vehicles. Most of it wasn't pulling it out, it just took one or two people to get behind it and give it a little push along the way," operations manager Mark Lindquist said.

For many of the campers, tractors and heavy-duty trucks are the only way out.

"We've asked the campers and stuff, the fifth wheels, they're just going to stay there and we've got a nice company that has the equipment to pull them out to the roads and then we'll hook them up there," Lindquist said.

Since moving the festival to this field outside Worthing, Greene says this is the muddiest these grounds have been. His staff is already thinking ahead so they can avoid similar issues next year.

"We're always planning and trying to learn. I see people were taking pictures of the low spots where the water was and how we reacted," Greene said.

"Where we know there's mud, maybe putting in some roads and gravel for more approach entrances into the festival. Some of the areas, maybe we can do some more drainage, raising some dirt levels," Lindquist said.

The clean-up process at the LifeLight Festival may be an especially messy job this year considering the mud situation, but all these volunteers are pulling out trailers with a smile on their face.

"They're Christians, they put it in perspective. They're like in any other place around the world, people are rejoicing in the rain, so this mud and rain is kind of a first-world problem," Greene said.

The clean-up should last about a week out near Worthing, and after that, organizers will take a look at what they can do to help crews handle the rain and the mud better at future festivals.

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