Nine Mile Music Festival Trashed Virginia Key Last Weekend, Marine Students Say
|photo by Sean Bigmani|
|Garbage covered protected dunes at Virginia Key on Monday morning.|
"Trash was piling up the sides of this ecologically sensitive area," Bignami tells Riptide.
Bignami, a PhD candidate at the nearby Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, eventually organized a group of students to bag the garbage. Now he's asking why the city won't levy a big fine against the festival organizers or even ban them from returning.
"City officials should be taking care of this," he says.
Guy Forchion, executive director of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, admits trash was a problem after the festival. But he says a combination of factors, including an unusually windy weekend, were mostly to blame rather than city planners or festival organizers.
"I was hopeful the entire event would be cleaned up by the end of Sunday, and that didn't happen," Forchion says. "That part was a disappointment."
The Nine Mile Music Festival is an annual reggae concert started 20 years ago by Cedella Marley Booker; its location has bounced around over the years, but the past two editions have been staged on Virginia Key. Last Saturday's fest drew more than 10,000 concertgoers to see headliners Stephen, Damian, and Julian Marley.
(Festival organizers didn't return a phone call or an email from Riptide for comment; we'll update the post if we hear back.) Update: A spokesman for the festival forwarded Riptide a statement that points out the festival collects canned food to support needy families, and lays the blame for the trash pileup on the company hired to take care of the cleanup. We've included the full letter at the end of the post.