Viktor / PsyClean
Viktor Balogh, 33 years old and born in Hungary. Due to his dad’s job he grew
up in Hungary, Germany and Austria and now he is a Dutch resident.
Together with Aleksandra “Ola” Muranyi he’s the founder of The PsyClean
Crew. They are responsible for our super clean festival and for that we are for
ever thankful to them and their crew of volunteers.
- What is PsyClean exactly?
We like to call it a paradigm-changing workshop for young and old.
It is a project aimed at realizing a zero-garbage festival, regardless of
visitor numbers. This does not mean, that there is no garbage if we are
working, but it is highly unlikely that you will ever see any. However,
the final goal is a TRULY garbage-free event, but baby steps, baby steps.
The project is recruiting festival volunteers who are willing to help us in
reminding the party crowd, that only a clean festival can provide the
kind of leisure that people are actually coming for. We do this by
meticulously keeping the infrastructure in check and also never leave
any garbage lying around. When there is no trash on the ground, only
very few people will decide to put some there after all. This concept is
vaguely borrowed from a criminological theory called “Broken
Windows-Theory” first proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982.
- How did you guys start the PsyClean crew?
The idea came up several times around 2011-2012, when the psychedelic
trance community suffered a heavy growth and the old members were
not capable to influence the newcomers as much, as the newcomers
influenced each other. Garbage became a huge problem on psytrance
events and it seemed to only be getting worse. During our 6-month trip
to India in 2012-13 Ola and I came up with the idea and the “source
code” for the PsyClean concept. We made our debut in 2013 on the Swiss Burning Mountain Festival.
- Is it actually your full-time job?
Since 2017, yes! Ola still has her day-job, but we hope to change that in 2018!
- What do you enjoy most about your work?
The main goal of the project was always to lead people back to the roots
of environmental awareness, which is responsibility. In our case this
means, that we are all equally responsible for a clean environment. It is
very rewarding to be part of this change! People are having a much
better time when they are being involved with something greater than
themselves. To see this happening to thousands of people and playing
an active role in making psytrance festivals sustainable again is our life’s work.
- What are the challenges and what are the satisfactions of this job?
Well, we are working with garbage, so there is an obvious challenge
right there! The whole subject is still greatly frowned upon by society and it’s not always easy to clarify to family and friends what it is we are
actually doing. For many we will be just garbage-men/women, which is
a bit sad. Our other challenge usually results from bad weather: wind
and rain are the blood-enemies of anyone involved with waste management!
Satisfaction can be counted in the 1000’s! Our greatest source of
happiness comes from the amazing volunteers we have the privilege to
work with. These girls and boys, men and women who are not only
willing to contribute in such a great way to the festival experience of
thousands, but are doing it with a smile. This never seizes to amaze us!
Another highly satisfying part is when you are proven right. And we are,
on every single event! People want to do it better and when they are
provided the means, most are happy to see a pristine festival, even if
it’s 5 extra steps to the garbage bin. To see our approach work its magic has made us cry for joy many times.
- What is the weirdest/most memorable situation you can remember within this job?
Well… this question really can’t be answered. So much has happened in the last 4 years, there simply isn’t 1 best or 1 weirdest moment to name. I will definitely remember SUN Festival 2014 though… it rained almost
through the whole festival and if that wasn’t enough, the garbage bins
we planned basically started to explode. Nobody got hurt, but having to
invent completely new bins for about 50 stations while it’s pouring rain
AND the job also needs to be done. It was definitely a memorable experience.
The weirdest I think was in Switzerland though. The festival takes place
next to a river and after the festival was finished, one of our volunteers
saw a sizeable carton box on a tiny island in the river. With heroic effort
he managed to make it through the ice cold mountain river to retrieve
the box. When he looked at it, there was a message, saying: “Know your
shit!” Curious as he was, he opened the box, just to find a tiny piece of
poop nicely positioned in the middle. The box and its contents were
removed from the river and the camp was loud from laughter for days!
- Where do you operate?
We had invitations from all over Europe and in early 2017 we even
participated in TepozTrance, an event in Mexico. This year we are
definitely working in Spain, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
- Who is in the team? How are you organized?
As mentioned before, the founders are Ola and me. Ola is responsible for web and volunteers, I do PR, finance and a lot of driving. Our two “Generals” are Edi and Julez. Edi is with us since the very beginning, Julez joined in 2014. Since then we are basically doing every event together. Edi has a lot of experience in festival buildup and Julez is a gifted graphic designer and is responsible for our logo.
- How can Festivals get involved with you?
Most festivals are contacted by us. We know our schedule considering our already existing partner events, so we only write to those, who can be fit into the calendar. Nonetheless, we are very much looking forward to the first festival, who is contacting us out of their own interest! J They can reach out to us through our website, on Facebook, by email, phone and skype.
- How can someone become part of your team?
We are creating Facebook-events on our Facebook-page where people can join and are setting up sections for this purpose on the website of our partner festivals. Also our homepage contains a section where volunteers can apply.
- Psy-Fi is aiming at the realization of a “Zero-Garbage-Festival”. To which extend you think it has been achieved during the last few years?
Psy-Fi is very committed and has done many steps towards realizing this goal. The use of reusable cups and the distribution of pocket ashtrays are good examples, but also contracting projects like us and Utopia Camping shows, that the will is present. The change between 2015 and 2016 was truly remarkable and we are happy to see, that people made a great effort to keep the festival as clean as possible, also after the event.
Truth be told, Psy-Fi can’t resolve an issue that is so deeply wrong in the world. Plastic packaged food/drinks and low quality camping gear are cheaper and easier to access than quality stuff or a visit to the market. In the end we are back to where we started: it is the responsibility of every single individual to make the right choices, not the most convenient ones.
- What would you like to tell everybody as an easy tip regarding environmental protection?
Every pile of garbage started with one piece. Then somebody thought it’s ok to put it there too, since there was already some. And the third… and the fourth. All trash comes out of the hand of a single person. If people understood, that we could stop the issue of littering overnight just by all putting our trash into the bin, we would be out of a job within a week… It would be fine by us! J