Ever since we left the UK for Burning Man people have not stopped asking us what it was like, and I have real trouble telling them.
It was not like anything I have ever been to before, nothing like a British festival, nothing like my Dad warned me (he had been told by a friend of marauding biker gangs, trouble, fighting and drugs).
It was not a whole lot like I expected either. Clearly it was very hot, very dusty, American; but is was so well organised, tight infrastructure , so clean (fifty-thousand people and i did not see one bit of litter, MOOP, and would have picked it up if i had) not so much as a piss on a toilet seat. But this does not describe it either.
They say describing Buring Man to somone who has not been there is next to impossible, this is both a little pretentious and kind of true – here is an attempt:
Burning Man is:
Madmax meets Alice In Wonderland meets Priscilla Queen of the Desert meets Las Vegas fireworks with Hunter S. Thompson commentating; 200 miles from Nowhere, the best bits of the best British festival (Shambala?) but with no punters, no crew, no burger vans, no shops or stalls or stages or bands, nothing. Nothing but Burners and nonsense and fun, an assault on all your senses and prejudices. In a word it is mental.
The Green Man:
The theme for Burning Man this year was the Green Man – nonsense. Sorry guys but there is nothing ever so slightly green about BM. I had expected to see lots of innovative ideas but I saw next to nothing. Sure there were a handful seemingly uncoordinated displays about (one or two were even good – like the graphical illustrations of consumption – but most of them were not so good and some very bad – especially the algae which ate greenhouse gases, if that is the answer then someone is asking the wrong question). I saw some truly gross examples of needless consumption (the diesel generators powering freezes to keep steak frozen is a good example, but there were so may others) not least of which was my being there; ten-thousand miles on a plane, I took an RV, did not even try to source bio-diesel, did not even offer a lift to anyone. What a hypocrite!
The Black Rock Internationl Burners’ Hostel is a great place, dunno what we would have done without it – for a virgin Burner, with no local friends, coming from overseas; this is an amazing resource and I hope to be able to input into it next year.
a sub camp of BRIBH, Britcamp was also brilliant – Romer and JoJo did a great job but burnt themselves out in the process – next year we will be taking quite a bit of that load – We met so many great people there too.
Things I’ll be doing different next year:
For a start, no RV – even small American campers are massive and grossly unnecessary for the likes of me – I need somewhere to keep my stuff, sleep and heat water and very little more. We ate a lot less than we thought we would and drank a lot less alcohol too, but the gallon of drinking water per person per day was a defiantly a minimum. Should have had more dressing up clothes, and should have been a lot boulder with them than I was, should have had more el-wire and not accepted the gifts of glow sticks so readily.
next year half the Machynlleth valley are coming………..