I just got back from my first Burning Man. Yeah, I lost my Black Rock desert cherry! I now know what being a Burner means, I now know why the people love the Playa so much and I now know why people from all over the world gather in a desert to get dirty and dusty.
Some of the oldest burners criticize how “big” and “commercial” BM has become in the past few years, selling up to 60k tickets, but I honestly think we are very lucky to have such an event on planet earth. It brings light and hope for a better world and it’s still a mind-blowing and unique experience, despite its growing size and popularity.
It touched me like no other event has so far.The main reason for this is the spirit of the event and its burners. It kind of reminded me of the best years of the Love Parade. This is something the organisers and old burners should be most proud of; having kept this spirit over the years is an incredible success. Something that no one will be able to copy as it can only be built from scratch, over time, with lots of work, the right energy and in such a special setting as the Black Rock desert. I would even go as far as saying that it’s something that can’t be planned; it has to thrive organically over the years. Black Rock City is just the best community example I have ever seen; a place where everything is based on giving, where everyone is ready to help one another, sharing whatever they have, giving without expecting anything in return, selflessly. A place where people are open to anything, eager to meet people, sharing dreams, smiling at one another. A place where no trace is left after 7 days of craziness , where practically everyone has understood the importance of respecting each other and nature.
After only 2 hours at BM I clearly understood the real secret of BM. It made me think that many people could really be inspired by this spirit. There are so many people in this world who don’t hug, who don’t say I LOVE YOU, who follow too many rules…well, this is the right place for these kinds of people to find the real way of living, to open their minds and just let it flow!
Cruising the Playa with the bike, discovering impressive art pieces and meeting such interesting people, BM is an incredible source of inspiration. Creativity has no boundaries: you can find an information service right in the middle of the Playa, a Motel where couples have sex on the balcony, a communal shower where everyone is naked, soaping each other up, or even a TEDx Talk. Why not? That’s the main question at BM. Limits are in your mind and it’s time to become kids once again or to simply BE.
I want to thank Robot Heart for providing the best music at the Playa and making me connect with the music and dance like never before. I’ll never forget dancing at sunrise in the middle of the desert, loosening up and being blown away by that incredible PA. However, I also need to comment on the dancers in the DJ booth; I think that having gorgeous girls dancing in the booth waving their asses to the crowd like “Ibiza go-go dancers” isn’t really needed. Focus should be kept on the music, the surroundings, the crowd… that’s what it’s all about, something that is truly real and raw…
However, more than anything, BM is a unique spiritual journey. This can be understood while visiting the Temple. Probably the quietest and most special place in the Playa. A temple that represents the thoughts, fears, regrets and wishes of all burners. A place where you’ll be able to write and share your innermost feelings with all burners. This temple is the last thing to be burnt down during a very special ceremony on Sunday, officially closing BM and letting go of any ghosts and bad energy.
Oh! and you can even find a TEDx event to share ideas worth spreading!
Having said all this, I’d like to make a constructive criticism. While I think that BM can be the seed for an inspiring movement that can lead to many great things in this world, I didn’t quite get all the huge fire shows made by some art cars. It seems to me like it’s all a bit of an EGO fight. Do you really need to have the biggest flame in all BM? Doesn’t it go against the BM principles of sustainability? I’d say that fireworks and propane flames should be banned from BM. For instance, El Pulpo Mecánico was one of the coolest art cars in all BM but it spent between 5k and 6k USD in propane. Is it really necessary? What for? Even if they compensate their carbon footprint, which I think they do, wouldn’t it be better not to burn anything besides the man and the temple? I think sustainability should be paramount and go before giving a great show.
Finally thanks to Jon Cline , all the amazing SA and French crew and my favorite festival partner and girlfriend, who made my first Burn so GREAT. This is the start of a long marriage.
Much love ! See you next year !
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