It has begun …

Before there’s the Man, before there’s a Center Camp and before the first sound system is powered up, there are the trucks.

All day long on Friday, 08/08/08, trucks came from the ranch and from points further away loaded with the gear that will make Black Rock City. Semi-trailers made their way back and forth from the staging area at the 200-acre Burning Man ranch several miles down the road from the playa.

To get an idea of just how big this operation is, Maid Marian told me there are 61 containers stored at the site, along with 45 travel trailers and about 30 semi trailers. “Transpo” day is really two days long, and four semis and a bunch of smaller trucks and haulers operate 10 hours a day to get it all  out to the playa.

You walk down the rows and rows of containers and see the familiar names — Here’s all the stuff for Artica; here’s Michael Michael’s gear; here’s everything for Recycle Camp; here’s the Bike Guild containers … it goes on and on.

And standing stoically at the gate to the yard, Corey keeps a clipboard and checks off everything as it leaves the yard. “Pretty damn exciting, huh?” he asks sardonically.  … Well, exciting may not be the exact right word, but “amazing” comes close.

Burning Man, where you can act as spontaneously as you want to for a week at the end of August, is anything but spontaneous before and after the Burn. It’s choreographed chaos that results in a city in the middle of the desert.

About the author: John Curley

John Curley has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 he spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. John is a longtime newspaper person and spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since leaving the Chronicle in 2007, he was a contributing editor on Blue Planet Run, a book about the world's water crisis, and for the past two years has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He has also started an event and editorial photography business, and is also working on a book about the "Ten Dollar Doc" from Arco, Idaho, which will make a lovely film someday.

11 thoughts on “It has begun …

  • Wish I was there now. Do you think we could put a festival like this together in South Korea or China? Are we ready! This is the land of LED. How can we make all these LED’s part of a sustainable world? I wish I was there to learn how you do it!

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  • Thanks for clueing us in. It is quite an amazing event putting things together. It was amazing last year to see the time-lapse video of BRC as it came alive after it opened. But this shows it from the ground up so to speak. Keep it coming. Come by the Elders camp (7:30 and Fairlane) for a glass of wine, some cheese and some real thanks.
    Thanks again,
    Lee Myerhoff

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  • They say the first time is the best time. You look at everything with a fresh perspective. And, you remember the event forever. Thanks for sharing these photos. The groundwork for this Virgin Burner’s life-changing experience has been laid!

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  • WoopWoot! Thank you soo much for documenting these for those of us who can’t be there yet… This year, the healing dusty winds, eclectic music and beautiful humans of the playa just can’t come soon enough. I would love to thank you in person with a hug and big glass of fresh lemonade at 730 & H if you feel like stopping by. *looking forward to more images, it’s been a hellofa year, Thank You again!

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  • Thank you for the updates! I’ve already started feeling the Burner ways creep into my mundane life in the default world as I prepare to make the trek to BRC! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

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  • I can’t be there this year due to a new job (no time off), but I am trying to stave off my homesickness by watching the preparations for Burning Man. Thank you for this – it really helps! See you next year!

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  • Curley- I *really* wanted to join the DWP crew this year, but everyone told me that it was too ambitious for my sophmore year, and with an opportuntity to get some financial recovery, I am busting two jobs until I depart for the Playa. This journal. This sharing you are doing. I feel cheesy telling you how amazing it is for all of us.
    Build on you DWP rockstars!

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