Imagine throwing a party and some of your guests decided to pitch tents in your neighbour’s yard and dump their trash and empty booze bottles there. You wouldn’t tell your neighbour, ‘sorry, not my problem,” would you?

The appropriate answer seems obvious. Alas, it doesn’t appear to have dawned on organizers for this year’s Folk on the Rocks music festival. A week after the two-day event came to a close last month, discarded drink cups, empty beer boxes and other debris remained in an area directly adjacent to the site.

A week is a long time to leave garbage lying around. Lighter trash is likely to blow away – into a lake or onto someone else’s property. If some of that trash contains broken glass, the longer it remains, the more likely someone or their pet will step on it.

It’s clear the trash was left behind by revelers attending the festival – Yellowknifer staff saw them – yet no action was taken until the newspaper began making calls.

Folk president Ryan Fequet insists anything outside the festival grounds’ green fence perimeter is “solely the city’s land.” This is technically true but it was their party.

Expecting taxpayers to foot the bill and have city hall clean up after their party is unacceptable. Folk on the Rocks recruits hundreds of volunteers for the event. Site cleanup is one of the required tasks. How hard is it to direct volunteers to clean up trash at the periphery of the festival grounds? It’s not like cleaning up trash on public land is illegal.

Folk on the Rocks is an amazing event, the summer highlight for more than 2,000 Yellowknife residents each year. Organizers, including its volunteer board of directors, do a great job putting together a high quality and family-friendly event on a shoestring budget.

Clearly it would have been nice if the people who had left the mess outside the festival fence had cleaned it up themselves.

But next time someone asks organizers, ‘hey, what’s up with the trash left behind by festival-goers?’ it’s best not to pin the responsibility for cleaning it up on the city.


Way to go, Indigenous athletes

NWT athletes’ bags were a little heavier on the way home from the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto last month. Athletes from across the Northwest Territories snagged 20 medals.

Yellowknife’s Hannah Courtoreille won silver for the U16 girls’ triple jump, while Deanne Whenham won gold in the U17 girls’ golf division.

Other highlights included Tamara Lafferty of Fort Resolution shooting her way to a bronze medal in the U19 girls prone position rifle shooting competition, and Gaius Crook of Hay River and Danika Burke of Fort Resolution each winning gold in the U16 prone position events.

On the water, Kaidan McDonald of Inuvik and Davina McLeod of Aklavik brought home the gold in the U19 tandem 3,000-metre canoeing event while Inuvik’s Kyra McDonald scored silver in the U14 girls’ 3,000-metre canoe race and Marshall Brown of Inuvik took home the bronze medal for the U14 boys’ 100-metre butterfly.

But NWT athletes weren’t done running away with accolades: on the track, Kayleigh Hunter of Fort Resolution brought home silver for the U16 shot put and Brayden Sinclair of Fort Smith captured gold in the U19. Cole Clark, also from Fort Smith, took bronze in the U19 boys’ javelin and Bayleigh Chaplin of Fort Resolution captured bronze for the U16 girls’ composite archery competition.

The medals are more than hardware — they are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the young athletes who competed. Events like these are great for youth but especially for Indigenous youth, a segment of the population that is often forgotten or ignored outside the territory. Events like these help build confidence and self esteem in healthy ways, and regardless of whether the competitors came home with something shiny or not, they’re all already victors. But it sure is nice to win.