No need to wait three months to dive into the art of Burning Man! Burning Man Regional Groups in more than 120 regions spanning over 20 countries are developing ways to engage local communities around the creative spirit, year-round.
Firefly Arts Collective lights up Somerville Open Studios (Photo Credit: Jonathan Macleod)
Earlier this month, Firefly Arts Collective – who organize the official New England Burning Man regional event Firefly – took part in Somerville Open Studios, one of the largest weekend-long open studio events in the United States.
Home to many Firefly artists and a growing arts community, Somerville is located just north of Boston. Read more »
AfrikaBurn 2013 — Burning Man’s official African regional Burn — is underway in Tankwa, South Africa. Now in its seventh year, AfrikaBurn is rightfully touted as “the spectacular result of the creative expression of a community of volunteers who, once a year, gather in the Tankwa Karoo to create a temporary city of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance!”
The event takes place May 1-6 on an expanse of remote desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa akin to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada (albeit a little more rocky), and its population has steadily grown since its inception … they’re expecting 8,000 participants this year. Read more »
As you wander into your camp at the end of an amazing week at Burning Man, your friend turns to you and says, “I wish I could live like this all the time.”
Your immediate response is to yell, “What, are you freaking crazy?” Followed by a list of reasons from food to hygiene to exhaustion that it is not possible. And ultimately, a seed is planted and you start to think what would a lifestyle based on your experience during that one week in the desert really look like.
Over the past 6 months I have visited 25 communities around the USA and Canada and I have found that living “like this” all year round is not only possible, it takes on a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
In 1998 I attended my first Burning Man.
For the next 5 years or so, I spent 11 months a year waiting, less-than-patiently, for the Burn.
Gradually I started to integrate Burning Man principles into my life and find pockets of Burning Man culture.
Now it feels like I am constantly preparing for (or cleaning up from) Burning Man-inspired brunches, festivals, or days at the beach.
In fact, last weekend I attended a festival deep in Baja Mexico called “Fuente Eterno.” (See video below) Now, it sells out in 5 minutes, so I am hesitant to hype it up. The odds are you will probably not be able to attend. But the point is there are LOTS of smaller events, regionals, and opportunities to gather with people who have been inspired by Radical Self Expression, Gifting, and the Burning Man Vibe.
Don’t know of one near you? Create it. Participants-only, baby.
I spoke with someone recently who said that after 3 years they, “had gotten all they could from Burning Man.” Sadly, they had failed to get the most important thing of all: It is about the GIVING not the GETTING. I return every year not to get my mind blown by the new Temple design (although that does happen each year), but because I want to enhance the experience for others. It is through Gifting to others’ lives, weeks, or moments that I receive more than I could ever “get” for myself.
Thanks to the growing number of large and small events worldwide, that process of gifting and receiving can go on year-round. There is a whole section of the Burning Man website for the Regional Network. Events large and small are growing (and being created) all over the world! Find one. Participate in one. Create one.
More and more people are seeing Burning Man – not as an event – but as a model for how to live: A model for how to interact with neighbors. A model for how to express yourself & encourage expression in others. And a model for how to Gift your talents to friends, your community, and the world.
Do you attend any large or small “Burner” gatherings? Please share your experiences in the comments!
(Video reflection from last weekend’s Fuente Eterno in Baja Mexico.)
When our group got together to start FIGMENT in 2007, we never had any idea that it could ever grow this much, this fast. In 2010, our three-day NYC event had nearly 25,000 participants, and our Boston event, just in its first year, had something like 10,000 participants. It’s really amazing to see how quickly the community around FIGMENT has grown, and it’s exciting to see where it can go next.
Welcome to FIGMENT! (Image (c) 2010 NY_Man)
FIGMENT began in New York in 2007 as a way to bring three important resources together: first, Governors Island, a former Army and then Coast Guard base in New York Harbor that had just been turned over to New York City; second, the creative energy of artists in New York, often creating work without ample resources, often desperately in need of space; and third, the ethos that many of the founders of FIGMENT had learned from Burning Man, expressed in the ten principles—basically, teaching us how to work collaboratively together to make great things happen in a way that is participatory, generous, and free from commoditization.
The idea took off immediately, and, while we expected 500 people or so at our first one-day event, we had over 2,600 people, with thousands more turned away at the ferries. We haven’t stopped since. The New York event has grown exponentially each year, increasing how much art we cram onto the island’s 172 acres, growing in participation as art projects become more ambitious, growing in duration as we add increasingly successful summer-long projects every year, and growing in stability as we build a team that believes in this event and can keep it going.
Boarding the 14-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, a flurry of butterflies filled my belly. Though I’d been daydreaming about this trip for some time, it only now felt real. Stepping off this plane in Australia would put me farther than ever before from my family, friends, and community in San Francisco. However, the knowledge that I’d be welcomed into a network of Burners in Australia and New Zealand made the start of my journey much less intimidating, the gap between our continents that much smaller.
Maid Marian and I had crafted a tight itinerary for our travels abroad and had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. Our first mission was to connect with the movers and shakers behind the upcoming OzBurn Seed 2010, Australia’s first Regional Burn that will take place in June, 2010. Over the past several months, I’d shared countless conversations and emails with Burning Man Australian Regional Contact Robin and local community organizers Phil Smart and King Richard about the work they were doing to nurture the growth of the Burning Man community in Australia. Though I knew that the work they were doing was significant, from my desk in San Francisco—and without a background in Australian culture—I had a limited frame of reference through which to understand their experiences. By visiting them in Australia and connecting with the local Burning Man community, I hoped to gain the perspective I needed to comprehend what their contributions meant to the international Burning Man Regional Network.
View from our plane over Sydney Photo by Maid Marian
FIGMENT is an annual celebration of creative culture on Governors Island in New York Harbor. It provides an open forum for artists, helps build a creative community and fosters participatory and public art. This year it will be both in NYC and Boston.
FIGMENT submissions are open for the pavilion, minigolf, and sculpture garden! Call for Art!
So off we went to Soulfire, South Bay Burners Decompression in the foothills near Santa Cruz, California.
It was in the woods and close to home, the weather was in the 50s. and a little misty,
and there were going to be over 200 of us hanging out together.
I sometimes find the weather and dust difficult at Burning Man, so it looked to us
like a regional event might be a little more like a little holiday. And it certainly was!
There were cabins or yurts you could rent or you could camp in your camper or tent, there was a restaurant, hot tubs, tennis, ping pong, music until the wee hours of the morning, Art, Rangers, and all of us, a great start to the weekend.
So if you have been thinking about going to a Regionals Event check out the Regional page, click on the map and choose an adventure that might be closer to home, but with a group of like minded, radically self expressed, wonderful people.