Difference between BM and regionals....

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happydragon
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Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby happydragon » Sat May 28, 2016 9:13 pm

This may seem sort of similar to other threads, but I can't find anything that quite answers my question, so I will open up a topic and open myself up for the resulting snark......

I have managed to make it for three years so far, (2010, 2011, 2014). I would make every year if I could but silly things like military orders, kids and the dreaded green man ticket bataan death march somehow keep getting in the way. To combat my longing for home I have tried many regional burner events. I will not be more specific because I want to keep this general, but I have been to two regionals now that are just one day block parties basically, and two which are long weekend campouts away from the bustle of civilization to some extent. I have been to these multiple times. I have also been to some other "transformational festivals" which also weren't anything close. Which leads to the question.

To me, these events, while populated by many of the same people- sometimes even the same art, camps, art cars, etc... just don't have the same effect to me that being on playa does. I am thinking about this a lot this weekend, and would love to hear thoughts from people who have done both. I have only come up with a few possible explanations so far:

1- There is something about the dust (besides causing Playa Lung) that just makes it different. I've been to regionals during thunderstorms and crappy weather, but it isn't the same as a good whiteout. I also will occasionally shake out something that I have forgotten (ok- been to lazy) to clean since a burn, and enjoy the distinct playa smell that takes be back home.....

2. Something in the wide open space... being able to climb something and see the whole of BRC... riding out to deep playa to see what's there.... just something in the open space. I really think this might be my favorite theory, since I also have a love of the sea and the open- ness of it. The non-block party regionals I have been to have been fairly sizable (not playa scale though) but have been in wooded and/or hilly locations where it's hard to see much more than a few camps in either direction.

3) Time. The length of the event makes a difference somehow. This may be related to the length of the event serving as a filter (not counting the bro-brigade that shows up around thursday-ish). This may also be related to me personally being so freaking wound tight that it takes me a while to relax into the experience.... this actually may be my most likely theory, since I usually don't relax into a burn and start really having a great time until usually mid week, even though I do feel it start as soon as I am on Playa, my camp is set up, and I have my first relax beer.

4). Experience. Lightening in a Bottle was my first festival experience, it whetted my appetite. But I am one of those cliche people who can say "burning man changed my life." I still can't put it really into words, but I can point to the day and moment of my first burn where my perspective shifted and issues I dealt with for decades fell away. BM wasn't the cause of the change, but it served as one hell of a catalyst and sped up a reaction that had been brewing for a long time. The aftermath shattered me but brought me to a really awesome place. Each subsequent burn has has a different important factor for me. The next year I went back with the woman who would become my wife and perfect partner. My last burn was her second and our son's first. Now we're planning for our daughter's first time when she's at least able to talk and walk. That first taste of a difference at LiB was part of what started the process that culminated at my first Burn, but wondering if all the history the playa has for me is part of the difference, or if it was a cause. In other words, would I have had the same transformation if I had never made it to BRC, and if the same life shattering moment of change had happened at a regional, would I feel the same way about said regional as I do BRC now? If that rambling mess of a paragraph made any sort of sense to anyone besides me.

5: Some combination of the above theories. I really think, as I write this, that it's a little from all of the above.

6= None of the above. I am talking out of my ass. I am totally cool with anyone who espouses this option, just please back it up with a reason.

But I am curious. My wife will go to BRC with me in a heartbeat, but she's tried to the regionals as well and doesn't enjoy them in the same manner either. We both think something just isn't there, but what is it?

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat May 28, 2016 9:42 pm

Regionals get pushed as the future of burning man... I don't buy it. They aren't BRC and they aren't ever going to be. There's not enough BM tickets to go around.
There's also not enough beachfront property to go around. So people build houses on some piece of ground elsewhere.
But hey, living in Speed Trap, Ohio is the future of beachfront living! Right?
Yeah. Right.

Regionals suck.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby some seeing eye » Sun May 29, 2016 10:26 am

The answer is your brain is on drugs.

First you arrive on playa, exhausted and in a state of anticipation, at a changed altitude for most and for many changed eating/appetite, possibly electrolyte challenges.

Second the environment is completely different visually, dust, sun - for many, often aurally, and as you mention, smell-wise!

Third you may reverse you diurnal cycle.

All of those brain chemistry effects are different than a regional.

If I went to, say, Israel or South Africa, for a regional or they came to our forests, the impact of the regional might be stronger.

The main burn for me is like travel into undeveloped countries, or countries with a unique project, in a far time zone, which I have found an equal drug, superior in many ways.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby graidawg » Mon May 30, 2016 5:12 pm

First of all of course its not the same, burning man isnt the same

But a slightly less facetious answer is that burning man has a much larger investment, time and money than a regional
regionals have a different crowd - its nor just burners, there are rainbow festival crowds, people who only go to regionals and people who dont go to BM anymore
Finally Burning man is in the middle of nowhere it takes a lot more effort to pop out and get another crate of beer, so when you go you are commited, a regional you can pop in and out of to a degree
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby tatonka » Mon May 30, 2016 7:10 pm

Just got back from the SOAK in Oregon , this year they went all out. It was the very close to the Burn ,just not big , only 1500 - 1600 people. Everyone was so nice :)
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby happydragon » Mon May 30, 2016 7:28 pm

tatonka wrote:Just got back from the SOAK in Oregon , this year they went all out. It was the very close to the Burn ,just not big , only 1500 - 1600 people. Everyone was so nice :)


Another difference that occurred to me as I was reading replies and pondering, is sheer size. I see pics from others' Burns and have been like, "holy crap, was this the same year I was there? How could I have missed that giant piece of art....." I mean, there is no way to ever see it all. But even the larger regionals after two days I think I have seen everything there is to see and visited every camp bar that attracted me, and I am just repeating the same day over and over by the end.

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Bless » Tue May 31, 2016 7:25 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Regionals suck.


That's rather presumptuous of you to declare that all regionals suck. Have you been to Midburn or AfrikaBurn? I haven't, but I hear they're pretty fucking fantastic.

Now, maybe the Northwest regionals do suck. I wouldn't know. I haven't been.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby mudpuppy000 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:26 am

happydragon wrote:Another difference that occurred to me as I was reading replies and pondering, is sheer size. I see pics from others' Burns and have been like, "holy crap, was this the same year I was there? How could I have missed that giant piece of art....." I mean, there is no way to ever see it all. But even the larger regionals after two days I think I have seen everything there is to see and visited every camp bar that attracted me, and I am just repeating the same day over and over by the end.


For me that repetitiveness is part of the attraction of the regionals. Having people drop by our bar repeatedly lets you get to know them better, and you're more likely to have quality interactions with them. In BRC it's more like a bunch of single-serving friends as everyone bounces off on their playa quests to the next shiny thing.

Also, as far as running a theme camp, it's a lot easier to pull off at a regional due to scale and the likelihood it's much closer to where you're coming from.

I've actually seen some pretty amazing things at regionals that just wouldn't happen in BRC for one reason or another, like laser shows on the side of a mountain, lunar eclipses, lasers shining up into an oak canopy, hanging out next to a lake when it gets too hot back in camp.

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue May 31, 2016 8:41 am

Bless wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Regionals suck.


That's rather presumptuous of you to declare that all regionals suck. Have you been to Midburn or AfrikaBurn? I haven't, but I hear they're pretty fucking fantastic.

Now, maybe the Northwest regionals do suck. I wouldn't know. I haven't been.


Well no, I haven't been to those. AfrikaBurn does sound a lot better than most.
I'm just extra-less-excited about regionals because I'm not even that pumped about the big burn. And the northwest regionals I've been to even sucked when I was ultra stoked about the big one.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Ann_Vader » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:50 am

I think that your mileage really does vary when it comes to regionals.

I've been to some extremely well run regional burns that were shining stars on all fronts.

I've been to burns where I couldn't get off site fast enough.

Some things I've noted about the good ones:

The organization behind the burn is stable, but open to new ideas.
There is a core community that attends the burn and sets the standard for art, music, theme camp interaction, attendee behavior/culture, and degree of volunteerism.
Ticket limits, ticket access, attendance cap. There are a lot of ways this is done - but the idea is that tickets are not always easily obtainable except by burners which seems to prevent a high degree of douchebaggery in attendance and also limits scalping.
Sites that are easy to navigate and camp on, have a nice amount of shade and sun, are accessible by essential services like porta potties suppliers, and ambulances, private, allow for a reasonable sound policy and other frolic, have cooperative land owners, don't require police presence or "unfriendly" security, and are isolated so the neighborhood kids don't end up at your burn drinking all your booze. Or stealing your wallet while you are off at the effigy burn.
Distance from Nevada? If getting to Nevada isn't an option, you make your own burn as awesome as possible

Being an official burning man regional is not required. I've been to more unofficial burns that were way more awesome than recognized official burns.

My suggestion - don't paint all regionals with the same brush. Get to Lakes of Fire, Flipside, Mooseman, Transformus, Ignite - and if you are brave, join us at Frostburn.

I am really excited about getting to the playa in 2016.

I'm also really excited about getting to the perfect little 500 person burn I went to last weekend (Ignite) in 2017 too, and Firefly in VT in 3 weeks...

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Drawingablank » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:25 pm

I like regionals. Not nearly as much as I like the big burn, but they are fun nonetheless.

One thing I have found is that regionals became way more fun once I started a theme camp. Ours is very popular at regionals so we are bringing it to the big burn this year.

I guess it also helps that the core group of our theme camp have been to about 5 big burns each - there is definitely a noticeable difference between burners and most regional only burners.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby WileE13 » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:55 am

Regionals are a great option for people who don't live near Northern Nevada. For those of us who do though, Burning Man is the regional Burn.

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Feeline » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:33 am

(Yes I realise I'm reviving a dead thread but I wanna, and it's not THAT old yet..)

I was searching for info on regionals because I'm thinking of going to Afrikaburn next year and wondered if there were any regional comparisons going on in the forums.

It's interesting reading others' opinions of regionals here, I am assuming most people are talking about North American ones? I have been to Black Rock City but since moving to the UK have only been doing European regionals and I've been having an amazing time at them. No, they are not the same as the Big One, but I've had some experiences that were at least as fun and transformative.

I have never been to a regional in North America and I wonder how they compare? Since I will be moving back to Canada on the west coast in the future and would then likely be going to regionals around west coast. Having tapped into the Burner scene in London UK has been amazing, I've met so many awesome people and been to great events here, I am hoping that when I move again I can tap into the local scene there. Hearing all the complaints here is a bit disheartening but then again it's only been a few people sharing and I'm sure it all depends on each event.

The best regionals in the UK and Europe were all about a week long each, so not just weekend parties but proper burns, with theme camps, workshops, art, parties, things on fire and all that good stuff. I've been to events with a few hundred or a few thousand people and had a blast. Each was unique and most events were not "official" regionals as far as I can tell, so were free to interpret the principles as the co-creators wanted. It's true that you don't have a vast flat expanse of desert and lots of huge things to climb, however each different location has its own special joys (watching a temple burn on top of a pyramid shaped hill that used to be a coal mine, or hiking up a desert mountain to watch the sunrise). I've enjoyed the intimacy, the way you bump into the same people over the week and get to know them and bond with them, you might become a 'regular' at your favourite theme camp and get adopted by them. You lose the variety and freedom of anonymity of the 'city' but gain the more tight-knit feel of a village. It's also way easier to get involved in a bigger role at a regional, taking on a lead role in organising the event itself or a theme camp, even if you don't know a lot of people. Very few "bro" types come to regionals here, but that's probably because Burning Man is less on the radar of mainstream Brits and Europeans than it is in the US and Canada.

Nowhere festival (the Euro regional, basically) is in the desert and attracts people from all over Europe. You get the harsh environment and isolation there, but with added cultural exchange. A lot of people go there who have never been able to go to BM but who have embraced the Burner ethos and participate and give a lot.

I'd love to hear what people who have been to regionals both inside and outside North America think about how they compare? Is there a different vibe, or is it just a case by case basis?

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby torrey.smith » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:57 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Bless wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Regionals suck.


That's rather presumptuous of you to declare that all regionals suck. Have you been to Midburn or AfrikaBurn? I haven't, but I hear they're pretty fucking fantastic.

Now, maybe the Northwest regionals do suck. I wouldn't know. I haven't been.


Well no, I haven't been to those. AfrikaBurn does sound a lot better than most.
I'm just extra-less-excited about regionals because I'm not even that pumped about the big burn. And the northwest regionals I've been to even sucked when I was ultra stoked about the big one.


So I've been to Flipside '14, Midburn '15, and Afrikaburn '16, and they were all awesome.

Like way ahead of the average on-Playa BM experience awesome.

They were raw, intimate, and the art was wild.

Midburn and Afrikaburn (especially) are big enough to completely lose yourself in the vastness. Also dust. Lots of dust.

Of course they are only awesome because people make them awesome. I went to Afrikaburn with a suitcase full of power tools and proceeded to get my wannabe badass ass handed to me by the coolest group of builders you could imagine, consisting of people from all over the globe and led by one Verity Maud <3 <3 <3 (once again thanks for putting up with me in my state!)

The Playa is an incredibly beautiful place, but it exists in different forms all over the world.

I dropped into Afrikaburn, found my camp, set up, suited up and went out to the build site to the same Playa I fell in love with on the other side of the world. I actually felt more at home there at the beginning of my build than I did setting up Sextant this year (this has been a hard f***ing year for me).

Burning Man proper has a long history, and with it, lots of bureaucracy and institutionalized thought. This is inevitable, and nobody's fault.

The Regionals are our chance to go wild and bring that vigor back to the hearth, lest we fade into irrelevance.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Feeline » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:12 am

torrey.smith wrote:I went to Afrikaburn with a suitcase full of power tools and proceeded to get my wannabe badass ass handed to me by the coolest group of builders you could imagine


What group was that? Was that for a specific project, or general build help? I know Verity did a cool temple in 2015. If I go I definitely wanna help build art.. and I'm also sure I'll have my ass handed to me by more experienced builders but will try my best to learn quick and be a useful teammate, as I have done at Nowhere and other regionals. (If you can recommend any projects/teams, lemme know :D )

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby torrey.smith » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:21 am

Feeline wrote:
torrey.smith wrote:I went to Afrikaburn with a suitcase full of power tools and proceeded to get my wannabe badass ass handed to me by the coolest group of builders you could imagine


What group was that? Was that for a specific project, or general build help? I know Verity did a cool temple in 2015. If I go I definitely wanna help build art.. and I'm also sure I'll have my ass handed to me by more experienced builders but will try my best to learn quick and be a useful teammate, as I have done at Nowhere and other regionals. (If you can recommend any projects/teams, lemme know :D )


That was Awakening 2016.

I was just a random person off Facebook trying to lend a hand. I spent most of that time in existential crisis over a recent divorce :/

I cannot recommend Verity's crew highly enough.

I am hoping to attend Nowhere next :D
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Dr Helix » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:34 pm

Bless wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Regionals suck.


That's rather presumptuous of you to declare that all regionals suck. Have you been to Midburn or AfrikaBurn? I haven't, but I hear they're pretty fucking fantastic.

Now, maybe the Northwest regionals do suck. I wouldn't know. I haven't been.


I have. Freezer Burn. It's in Alberta, Canada. I've been 3 times and it's fantastic. They are a sanctioned Burn and so all the elements are there. It's a four day event on GRASS. Lovely. I don't miss the playa a bit when I'm there. It's also held near the equinox in June so the days are 18 HOURS LONG. Great theme camps and plenty of bars. Wonderful vibe from longtime burners. They have maybe 800 people so not big, but enough that you get a crowd buzz from all that's going on. Can't recommend it enough.
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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Feeline » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:24 am

Ooh that Awakening project musta been great.

Nowhere is special, it’s much smaller than Afrikaburn but the landscape is very pretty and there’s a very culturally diverse crowd. They have less things on fire though because it’s often not allowed due to all the brush that could start a bushfire. But funny enough there’s more to a burn than burning things.

I’ll have to check out Freezerburn when I’m back in Canada again. For me I think it’s the principles and the crowd that makes something a great event, we can work with a wide variety of landscapes to make them fun.

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Ann_Vader » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:47 am

I'm glad to see this thread revived. Especially now that I've attended regionals for a few years and had my first year on the playa, so perspective!

Maybe my experience is different because I live in an area where we have a pretty active community and I hang out/camp with people I know at both regionals and on the playa, but I feel like the regionals I attend keep me connected to the things I love about burns so it doesn't have to be a one time a year experience.

Being a regional burner was good prep for the playa too. I didn't tourist, I contributed to pre-event planning and build week for my camp, and volunteered on the playa during the event. I had enough socks, stayed hydrated and had a great time!

I hung out with friends in the same situation. Regional burners, first time attendees. Very similar experience to mine.

So maybe regionals are the future of burning man as an entry point? You've got first timers who are virgin-virgins and then you've got virgins to burning man, who might have a clue how things work. I'd think the latter is a good thing!

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Re: Difference between BM and regionals....

Postby Ratty » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:40 am

I'm excited about attending the Sacramento regional next year. (My project for that event is very time consuming now.) I'll be needing a fortune teller or tarot card reader. I would love to have a typewriter fortune teller. This will be my first regional. I had planned to go this year and it was flooded out. The Census team has turned out to be my favorite department. Going to SF headquarters for work parties keeps me connected to BM. East Bay Burners has events all the time in Oakland. The Amtrakathon and the Hof are week-end mini vacations. I even joined a Sunday 'hoop' group. All of these things can't take the place of TTITD but they add to it.
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