Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The Mega Night in Phuentsholing drew a huge crowd.

A total of 19 Bhutanese bands performed during the event which began on November 25 and ended on November 30.

And by the end of the five nights, Phuentsholing Thromde collected 13.6 metric tonnes (MT) of waste from the Phuentsholing Sports Association (PSA) football ground where the event was held.

Although the thromde cleaned up the ground until 4pm the next day, crowd and littering could not be controlled.

Thromde’s Working Committee for the programme pointed out that six people were deployed every night of the show which started at 9pm and concluded at 3am. After the show, when these six workers completed their shift, another seven were deployed to clean up the turf and ready the venue for the next night.

Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that two truckloads of waste was collected on the last day of the event when the musical event was still ongoing. In total, 3.6MT of waste was collected that day.

“About 15 ash boxes and 20 portable bins were placed at different locations. Our security and monitoring teams were there throughout the event to educate people,” he said. “Our teams from the Steering Committee, Working Committee, and security continuously monitored people during the show. Even the emcee announced time and again to not litter or smoke on the turf.”

However, it was still difficult for the teams to monitor everyone because of the huge crowd. On the last day, at least 10,000 people attended the show. At the end of the show, although the turf was cleaned up, it still had cigarette butts and beer can lids; the turf was also found burned in many places.

A resident, Hari, who attended the programme, said there was no way officials could control people from littering or smoking.

“This event must be the one to look back on and think about the waste discipline we have. We have so much to learn.”

Hari, however, said that the musical event must be held annually. “It is fun and relaxing. Next year, people will hopefully be mindful of the waste. On a positive note, the massive waste is a sign that the event succeeded in bringing the crowd.”

Another resident said that people were enjoying themselves to the fullest “In the crowd, it was difficult for the security and monitoring teams to control.”

Phuentsholing’s Mega Night is arguably the biggest live music event the country has ever seen. It was aimed at bringing back the liveliness in the city and helping revive the economy of the town. It was also targeted to boost the morale of local residents given the prolonged lockdowns the town experienced in 2020 and 2021.

One of the important objectives was also to attract regional tourists.