How Was It for You?

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
sandfly
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How Was It for You?

Post by sandfly » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:05 am

I missed Burning Man this year. Stuff happens. Anyway, BRC is different every year, and the event is so big that it's not really an event, it's a smorgasbord. So, for me and anyone else like me, ... how was it for you this year? For you non-virgins ... what seemed like last year, or two years ago, what seemed noticeably different and how did you feel about it?

I.e., how was it for you this year?

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Ano » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:19 am

Third year. First year that I've seen past the city itself and started seeing some of the politics and puppet-masters. I had an amazing time, working for Gayte was the single best thing I have ever done at Burning Man, but more than a few things left a sour taste in my mouth. I was harassed by BLM for having a Jolly Rancher handed to me, my theme camp was full of clueless virgins who were the embodiment of the "LA Sparklepony" stereotype, and I spent many of the best nights fighting with my significant other or dealing with something stupid relating to her.

I had a great burn but, blah blah blah. I don't know how to frame it, really. Already gearing up for year four, though, and making a lot of changes. I also came back to the default world to learn that a good friend of mine of many years had passed away. I found it fitting that I saw my first temple burn this year, at least.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by sandfly » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:33 am

Ano wrote:Third year. ... Already gearing up for year four, though, and making a lot of changes. I also came back to the default world to learn that a good friend of mine of many years had passed away....
Sorry to hear about your friend.
Last year it seemed the culture was notably different because there were so many more newbies, as a result of "regulars" not getting tickets. Curious whether anyone else noticed that last year, and how that played out this year.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Eric » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:42 pm

sandfly wrote:Last year it seemed the culture was notably different because there were so many more newbies, as a result of "regulars" not getting tickets.
I keep hearing this stated as if it's a proven fact, as opposed to being an assumption. Just because it's been a massively repeated Burner talking-point since the first sell-out in 2011 doesn't make it reality. I haven't noticed any huge change in the amount of "regulars" (by which I'm assuming you mean someone who has been multiple times), but when you grow the population by roughly 20% from last year, there is bound to be a larger percentage of newbies. I've noticed that some of those are clueless newbs, some are stealth newbies, most are somewhere in the middle, but that doesn't affect my enjoyment of the Burn anymore than someone else's bike decorations affect how mine look.

As for the "culture" - which one? The dance-camp culture? The spiritual camp culture? The Thunderdome/DPW culture? The "fuck yr Burn" culture? While I've never noticed a monolithic Burning Man culture, I have noticed more people recognizing that being a "Burner" no more defines you than being a "Christian" would (Catholic, Lutheran, Monophysite, Coptic, Baptist, Anabaptist, Eastern Orthodox, liberal, conservative - they're all "Christian", but some of them are at complete odds with others). I think that more people are finally realizing that the "Burner" appellation just means we go to the dust rave, not what we do when we're there.

As long as people aren't stepping on my Burn by doing something directly to me, then I have no problems with how they spend their Burn. If what they're doing really bugs me, I'm free to move - my Burn is on my shoulders, not theirs.
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Elorrum » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:46 pm

thank you Animus.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by sandfly » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:55 am

Eric wrote:
sandfly wrote:
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist
If it were only a camping trip in the desert, I would never have gone, and would never go again.

How was your burn this year?

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:06 am

Mine was just fine. The world remained unredeemed, however.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Lonesomebri » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:18 am

sandfly wrote:
Eric wrote:
sandfly wrote:
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist
If it were only a camping trip in the desert, I would never have gone, and would never go again.

How was your burn this year?
Mine was great. I love camping in the desert.

Lots of new people, travelers from other countries, at least my interactions... I worry that they go thinking it's a music fest or rave, and aren't up for the solid fact that they will be camping in the desert. But those I met were joyous, bright-eyed, picking up moop, sleeping in the dust, bathing with handi-wipes, greeting it all with a grin, generous...

The rains helped keep the dust down, light cloud cover kept it relatively cool in the day, warm at night. The weather could not have been better.

Saw my first police dogs on the playa, at the burn.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Stray Dog » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:29 am

Since it was my first burn I have nothing to compare it to. However, I am so glad I heeded the advice given me on this forum: Go in with no expectations and no agenda. I did just that and I was pleasantly surprised, and changed forever.

Maybe folks are bringing in expectations that they shouldn't?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by sandfly » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:42 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:.... The world remained unredeemed, however.
Yes, I know, I was here, in it, waiting for you all to come back. Without the +/- 50,000 Burners (whatever that means) in it, the default world seemed a little darker.

.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Fanplastic » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:31 pm

It was the best burn ever for me. I spent time (getting somewhat dusty) with many of the most creative and innovative people on the planet. What more could you ask?
The job of the artist is to continue to deepen the mystery. Francis Bacon.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by sandfly » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:53 am

Thanks to those of you who let me share your experience a little bit, vicariously.

Anybody know what the attendance numbers are? I.e., out of all those tickets sold (don't remember the final number, but it is large), now many ticket holders came to the Burn? Yes, in part, I'm curious to know how many tickets the scalpers ended up eating.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by AntiM » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:17 am

I'm into decade two. I did seem to meet more newbs, but they were all happy, prepared and having a blast. That made me happy. I did notice some of the porto banks taking a beating and pumper trucks in from far away.

My burn did have more scheduled events than I like, and our transport had issues which keeps me close to camp when that happens. Great camp mates and visitors kept me entertained. That is what it is, makes for a different "flavor" of the burn, but it was still Most Excellent.

I don't go out to the temple burn, haven't for years. Multiple reasons, so I don't miss it. I'll go when I'm ready.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Morrell » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:38 am

We got married at the Temple by Dr Deb! How could that be anything but awesome!!!

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:01 pm

sandfly wrote:Anybody know what the attendance numbers are? I.e., out of all those tickets sold (don't remember the final number, but it is large), now many ticket holders came to the Burn? Yes, in part, I'm curious to know how many tickets the scalpers ended up eating.
That is information that typically the llc does not reveal.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Stray Dog » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:15 pm

The BLM was holding them at the gate because there were too many inside BRC. Looks like there was room for plenty more to me. But I'm just a dumb pilot.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Drawingablank » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:12 pm

sandfly wrote:Last year it seemed the culture was notably different because there were so many more newbies, as a result of "regulars" not getting tickets. Curious whether anyone else noticed that last year, and how that played out this year.
I too got a notably different vibe last year, although I didn't attribute it to newbies. Last year overall seemed much more subdued than usual and I saw far more "used car lots" and "RV walls" - it seemed like there were entire blocks devoted to car parking lots.

This year those same blocks were loaded with interactive camps on the road frontages. I have no explanation, but I sure was happy to see things change back.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Eric » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:21 pm

sandfly wrote:
Eric wrote:
sandfly wrote:
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist
If it were only a camping trip in the desert, I would never have gone, and would never go again.

How was your burn this year?
My Burn kicked ass, fractured rib and all. One of my best ever, honestly. I hardly got to see any of the art because travelling around was a wee bit painful, so I spent most of my time in my camp, or in the camps of a couple of friends, hanging out, getting drunk & bonding. I did get to see the Mir Burn (and get caught under the burning debris field), which I loved.


I think you miss the point of Fishy's quote, and the reason I like it: you'll note it doesn't say "only a camping trip...", it's referring more to the people who act like Burning Man is the spiritual center of the universe, and will solve all their problems. I see it being about the people who call a place they've never been "Home" (once you've gone, I don't have a problem with that, though it's not a term I would use), and who place all their hopes on this place making them "whole", or something. That's a whole lot of expectation to put on a place, yet I see it being done over & over.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by DrYes » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:20 pm

sandfly wrote:
I.e., how was it for you this year?
Was awesome. My first time organizing a theme camp, my first time DJing (great success!), and the least I have abused my body at a burn thus far. By the end of the week I still felt great whereas I've normally had enough and am ready to leave after 8 days out there.

The only real bad part this year involved medical issues with campmates. One guy was a friend of a friend of a friend, who showed up with 2 other campmates that have only met him twice, at 1 am on Monday. Only one other campmate saw him as we were all out here or there at that time. I woke up about 9:30 am the next morning, saw the campmates he had arrived with, said hi and asked where this guy was. "Man down!" Turns out he was itching to get going, and promptly took what I'm assured was Way Too Much of a substance that raises ones body temperature as a side effect.

By 6 am, he was in a helicopter to Reno, unconscious, having already had liters of saline pumped into him, his clothes cut off, ice packed around him, etc. He was unconscious for two days. The rest of us never did meet him, and since I booted him from the camp going forward (don't need that kind of drama) we never will. He is our Phantom Campmate who is a Cautionary Tale going forward. We've turned his last name into a verb, as in "That guy really pulled a <last name redacted>."

I also had to call the rangers to help my wife, who somehow managed to pull a muscle badly enough that she couldn't walk. They and the medical staff at the ranger's station at 9 plaza were awesome. Kudos to the whole team and everyone we came into contact with over the course of the couple hours - some of the friendliest people in a city of friendly people.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by forty_eight » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:09 am

newb chiming in

it was awesome

it dawned on me one morning that it REALLY was "a camping trip in the desert"

and it was not diminishing in any manner at all

it's what made it spectacular when taking in BRC in all of its absurd grandeur

we're camping in a temporary city

that's throbbing and blinking

camping

in a blinking desert

awesome

lol

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Savannah » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:18 pm

Dig it, man.

*snap*
*snap*
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by JayBobBoy » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:38 pm

I had the time of my life!

I had been plotting my return for many years and this year it all came together. I met and joined a camp of really dedicated burners early in the spring and was able to become an integral part of the planning and execution. I worked my ass off at the camp builds assisting with whatever I could and was a big part in planning the layout/design of our camp. The creativity and determination of our camp leaders was awesome.

After being a weekender in 2009, I was determined to see the whole event. I arrived with the "A Team" on early entry Friday and watched the city grow. We worked hard and had the camp infrastructure (shade, kitchen, shower) and some of the yurts all set and ready to go before most everyone arrived. Then when everyone rolled in on Monday, the rest of the public camp stuff went up fast and easy. It was beautiful. All hands on deck, no questions asked. By Tuesday at noon, we were mostly done and settled in to enjoy the week at full speed! It was right about then that my two brothers showed up to share the week with me. Being able to share this with my two closest friends was very special!

All of our hard work was rewarded with great placement (Thank You BRAVO!) and a remarkable drama free camp of about 48 people. We had a great mix of veterans and virgins, old and young. We came together as a family early in the week and it was great having that network of support and friendly faces.

All of our equipment worked as it should, for the most part. The few small issues we had were easily corrected with creative playa engineering and some kindness of neighbors. Both were wonderful. The zip line from our castle structure along 4:30 between A and B was a simple and elegant design that worked great. Easily over a 1,000 rides were taken. I'm pretty sure every kid on our side of the city came by.

Our neighborhood was wonderful. A special shout out to our friends across the street at the Hardly Bar for the endless whiskey and to the Solar Co-op for the free phone booth. There are just too many cool people we met along the 4:30 corridor to mention!

A big Thank You to the BM community for being you! Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later!
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by magdalen23 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:57 pm

Drawingablank wrote:
sandfly wrote:Last year it seemed the culture was notably different because there were so many more newbies, as a result of "regulars" not getting tickets. Curious whether anyone else noticed that last year, and how that played out this year.
I too got a notably different vibe last year, although I didn't attribute it to newbies. Last year overall seemed much more subdued than usual and I saw far more "used car lots" and "RV walls" - it seemed like there were entire blocks devoted to car parking lots.

This year those same blocks were loaded with interactive camps on the road frontages. I have no explanation, but I sure was happy to see things change back.
Having not been since 2009, I had a different impression: virgins galore (not necessarily a bad thing!), a shocking ratio of RV's to real camping setups, huge rings of deserted suburbs. The vibe reminded me a little of 2000-2001, my first years at Burning Man, when from what I understand, things were really changing. There was a huge ravey-party-bullshit vibe & I felt that this year. I met tons and tons of people from Europe and Israel who seemed to be part of that global party scene, and brought some of that attitude with them: at night especially, go to the big-enormous parties and burns, swarm what used to be the open Playa (this time was crowded all day and all night), leave the rest of the city abandoned. Met some very nice people from that scene, too, don't get me wrong. Since I don't even *go* to the big parties and art-car DJ stuff? I thought it was weird that I nevertheless met so many people who were primarily at BRC to find the next "cool" gigantic party.

I definitely had some good experiences, too. My Tarot readees and workshoppees and Burning Tarot archaeology dig participants were like 98% really awesome... my campmates were incredibly rad... I saw some good friends... made a few new ones, too. Somehow the larger vibe depressed me, though. I might just be having an off year, or it may be that the evolution of Burning Man doesn't match with the evolution of my own life, and I need to start doing Fourth of Juplaya or just move along.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by nikster » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:00 am

#7 for me.

As for burning man in general this year was the year that Burning Man went international. I swear I met more people from outside the USA than from the inside, a big difference from the years before. I met lots of people from London, Canada, France, and various other Europeans, Israelis, South Americans, and lots of Russians as well.

I don't see this as a negative; I don't know there's nothing wrong with the big party rave tents. A lot of the music not my style but people seemed to have a blast. I did wonder a bit about a certain theme camp on the Esplanade which played a track from Robot Heart 2012. I noticed because I happened to listen to that track all through the last year - it's good stuff; but come on, at Burning Man where every DJ would just die to perform in a prominent location, you've got to do better.

As for how it was; well it's different for everyone right. For me it was the best burn ever. I'll just leave it at that. I've had transformational experiences before but nothing like this. This was it.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by BBadger » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:40 am

Or maybe just the year you noticed? I ran into lots of foreign people the years I went.
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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Stray Dog » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:49 am

I liked meeting people from other countries. The Canadians were my favorite. I would speak really slowly to them and tell them that their English was very good for a foreigner. :) Most of them got the joke. Some didn't. If they got offended I would just say "I'm sorry" and by Canadian law, they could no longer allow themselves to be offended.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by magdalen23 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:57 am

i hope i didn't sound anti-everyone-from-everywhere-else. i just didn't like the find-the-next-cool-party vibe and it reminded me of the global party scene ravers i remember from the '90s. probably they had a blast, learned some stuff, and maybe the other giant party-vibe places will be better as a result. i guess i feel like if i wanted to go to Goa or Ibiza, i would go there (if i had a lot of money) instead of the Playa.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Stray Dog » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:11 am

I just think you shouldn't allow anyone else to define your burn. I'm not part of the party 'till you puke set so I stayed away from most of the loud music raver venues. As long as Burning Man maintains it's radical self-expression directive, then it will always be a cool place to go. They can rave as part of their self-expression. I can help others and chill as part of my self-expression.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by magdalen23 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:32 am

i know, i know, you make your own burn. been doing it since the year 2000. i'm aware that i have overall-good years and occasionally overall-bad years, and so does everybody else.

but sometimes the vibe changes, and if family matters mean you can't attend burning man for four years, you might come back and not like some of the changes. and no, you can't make your own experience out in the deep playa if it is packed with people, packed packed all the time, because the event has gotten huger and the newer crowd acts like they're home in the default world: leave your house at night to go downtown to the local club scene, full of things that other people have made for your entertainment. that's what it felt like to me: abandoned streets and suburbs, a big party on the Esplanade and in the open playa, and hey, this topic is named "How Was It for You?" this is how it was for me. i don't need to be judged or lectured about How It Was for Me.

how it was for me: i loved the individual interactions, with a few exceptions; i didn't like the general vibe, the crowdedness of what used to be the deep/"open" playa, and i didn't care for the overall big-party vibe this year. i came home and was actually relieved to find a number of friends saying the same thing, so perhaps i'm not totally out of my mind for feeling dismayed by these things. and yeah, when i'm part of a community, i "allow" other people to "define" my experience. if i wanted to be a control freak about everything i experience, i'd stay home and lock myself in my house instead of venturing into the desert with nearly 70,000 people, whose actions and vibes and attitudes are indeed going to affect how i feel.

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Re: How Was It for You?

Post by Stray Dog » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:38 am

Peace! Didn't mean to rile you up.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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