Star Wars In The Desert [Update]

Image: Mixmag

Image: Mixmag

A Star Wars themed rave in the desert? Sounds like a good idea to me.


Fest300 brings us the exciting news:


At last...a festival with lightsabers and lasers in equal supply. Celebrating its second outing this past February, the Les Dunes Electroniques Festival returned to the dunes of southern Tunisia to a crowd of cosmopolitan locals and adventurous Star Wars fans



Before you pack up your costumes and catch the next plane to Africa, you might want to actually watch the videos. I don’t see much Star Wars going on. All I count is one Darth Vader mask, and zero lightsabers and lasers.

Image: Paris Bouge

Image: Paris Bouge

Tunisia is the place George Lucas chose to be the planet Tatooine in his movies, and it is also being used by JJ Abrams in the new installment. The location of this set is close to where the rave takes place. It seems that Fest300 is stretching this connection to call it a Star Wars-inspired EDM festival.

Mixmag offers us more useful information:

At the end of last month thousands flooded to the Dunes Electroniques festival, which is nestled away in Nefta in Tunisia, also the place where parts of Star Wars were filmed.

The festival takes place on the site of Mos Espa, known to lovers of the film franchise as the spaceport on Tatooine. IRL, the exact spot is known locally as Ong Djemel and was built four decades ago by George Lucas especially for Star Wars.

Now in its third year, Dunes Electroniques welcomed Kölsch, Superpitcher and Derrick May, among many others, to the dusty town.

On top of this, attendees were given the opportunity to explore the set and watch artists from the Tunisia’s local music scene in an area surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

While not everyone gets into the spirit of things at the event, a number of festival-goers take it upon themselves to dress up as their favourite characters, so seeing a Darth Vader or Princess Leia wandering round isn’t considered a strange sight.

For general ravers, who don’t have to get into Cosplay to have a good time, this could be an interesting experience. Of course, you’ll be in a country where many of the young men have run off to fight for ISIS. Protestors to the festival drive around with megaphones yelling “Allah-uh-Akbar!”

From Al Jazeera:

On Saturday the ultra-conservative group Hizb ut-Tahrir held a small protest in Tozeur against the festival, arguing that it went against local values. The next morning, a car drove through the main square with a man yelling “God is great” and waving the group’s flag bearing the Islamic testament of faith.

Most locals, however, seemed pragmatic about the regional benefits. “Some people support it. Some people are against it,” says shop owner Naceur Hamadi, shrugging. “It’s bringing business to our town.”

While the number of tickets sold this year — 6,500 — fell short of a projected 10,000 visitors, the hotels and shops in Tozeur and Nefta enjoyed record sales for February.

Despite the bad weather and organizational issues, most of the young people interviewed said they planned to return next time.

Emna Bouguira, a 23-year-old medical intern, had spent half her first-ever monthly paycheck for a two-day pass — $155, the equivalent of one month’s minimum wage here. Interviewed at a rest stop on the six-hour drive back to Tunis, she says she had had a “mixed” experience. “The music was good, but it was badly organized,” she says.

But for her and others, it was a chance to see the Tozeur region for the first time, and she would like to return.

“Young Tunisians, we like to have fun. We like this atmosphere,” says Atef Braham, an electrical engineering student from the coastal town of Monastir. “This is the real Tunisia,” he says, taking a sip through the straw hooking up to his beer helmet.

He takes a moment to join an impromptu dance circle led by a guy wearing a fluorescent orange T-shirt that reads, “Always find a reason to smile.”

The full article from Al Jazeera is quite interesting, read it here.

Save yourselves a trip to Africa, Star Wars fans…you’ll see more Star Wars stuff at Burning Man.

Image: herby_fr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Sandspeeder in a Dust Storm, 2005. Image: herby_fr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Jawa Sandcrawler, 2007. Image: Rubin Starset/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Jawa Sandcrawler, 2007. Image: Rubin Starset/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

star wars storm troopers

[Update 3/4/15 4:56pm]

A Balanced Perspective has pointed us to this up-coming Star Wars themed rave event with DJs in California on May 22. Star Wars art cars, unite!

rebel alliance

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away….

“Luke Skywalker has returned to
his home Planet of Tatooine in
an attempt to Rescue his
friend Han Solo from the
clutches of the vile gangster
Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the
GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
begun construction on a new
armored Space Station even
more powerful than the first
dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate
weapon will spell certain doom
for the small band of Rebels
struggling to restore Freedom
to the Galaxy…”

We invite you to our 2nd Annual Epic Star Wars Cos-Play Event… “Return to Tatooine” May 22nd – 25th
Memorial Day Weekend…

Return to Tatooine, This Time to Help the Rebel Alliance….

Come Dressed as your Favorite Sci-Fi Hero. From Dragon Ball Z to Boba Fett come let your Geek hang out. Don’t Have a Costume? Relax you can always Fake it…


Here is the Listing of Happenings…

Hawaiian Luau on the Kona at Dusk, Sat 23rd & Sun 24th of May. Don’t forget your Hawaiian Shirt, and Board Shorts, yeah..

The Corusant Ball (Late Saturday Night)
Lose yourself in the Fun, and Dance the night away at our Corusant Ball, with welcoming Host, Lando Calrissian. Costumes are encouraged, but certainly not required!

The Force is Strong With This One (Costume Contest)
Join in our Costume Contest, held at the Main Stage, Friday and Saturday nights, and show off your Finery, and win amazing Prizes, and throngs of Admiration. C’mon, take a turn on that Catwalk — Rrrrowww!

Mos Eisley Bazaar…. (Vendor Area)
Our Vendor and Artisan Area, Mos Eisley Bazaar will be packed with Weapons, Books, Artwork, Clothing, Jewelry, the Paintball Shooting Gallery, and oh so much more. It’s a Market like no other in the world!

(no plastic or painted parts ie. must be striped of any moop)
this is a self-reliant Event, if you come you bring your own Equipment, Power, Etc, no one is paid to bring there Art, Perform or Set Up a Theme Camps
all ages 14 and under, are Free.

Tickets Available Here:

General Admission $25 / $35 at the Gate

(Gate Sales are Discouraged)

All Ticket(s) are non-refundable.

For those with RV’s, right up the road is a very inexpensive Water refill, and Grey Water Dump station, at Red Rock State Park Ricardo Campground, please call them for up to date info. ( )

The Details:
Its on 20+ empty acres of private desert land, up Highway 14, near the City of Mojave California. Its just to get a head count of how many are coming so we can get enough Portos. Some Cell Phone and 4G Data services do not work out there, however AT&T seems to work fine.

You can Tent, RV, Camper, or sleep in your Vehicle. Radical Self Reliance must be practiced here. Just like any Camping Trip, bring everything you will need. You will need your own H2O as well. And as always, Leave No Trace.

You can come out as early as Thursday May 21st, but I’m sure most will arrive on the 22nd …..

We will have several nice sound systems out there, and various DJs will be spinning a set and Live Bands playing. If you want to provide some entertainment, please let us know. You are welcome to bring your fire toys, but also bring your fire safety equipment as well. All musical instruments are welcome.

(will be posting more info such as performers etc. later on in the month as time slots/spaces are filled)
Hey Guys Just So You Know…

We are a “VENDOR FEE” FREE Event… Come and set up a table, sell your wares, there will be no set-up/Booth Fee of any Kind. We encourage Artist Painters Jewelers, Artisans to Barter, Share or Sale Their… We may set up a Bartertown” area over by the Chill Dome. Sound like something you be interested in Contact Princess Hamade or myself… “Support the Arts, and the Artist.”

Our World would be just a little bit duller without you…

On the property there are 2 little Bars (mostly BYOB), Volley Ball, Badminton, a 2 Story Pyramid, 16′ Dome, Desert Golf, Horse Shoes, Darts and 2 private RVs. Oh, and Fun…

In the area there are many really cool things to do as well. The Mojave Boneyard or the Airplane junkyard, and Mojave SpacePort are right down the street. There are a few Ghost Towns in the nearby area, one Living, and some awesome yet bizarre manmade Rock Formations. And you are welcome to bring some of your Art out there as well, large or small.

Bikes are welcome too, and highly recommended, the desert is a big place.


Please RSVP the following information:
Camp Name or Your Name:
Number of people in camp: (not everyone in your camp needs to RSVP. We just need a total head count)
Arrival Date:
Type of camping: RV, Camper, Tent, Vehicle
Approx. footprint size needed: (No one will have assigned camp areas, we just want to make sure there is enough room for everyone. )

IMPORTANT INFO FOR PERFORMERS, ARTISTS, DJS, ART CARS, AND MAJOR THEME CAMPS PLEASE EMAIL ME at with your name, general info, (ie. phone number, email where u can be contacted) and your ETA. This is a non paid gig, all money made from the event helps establish the ranch for future that we can continue providing a safe place to play! it also covers portos!

Don’t forget to include a short summary, pics etc of what you would like to bring to be considered for two comp Tickets. Please note: Theme Camps unfortunately still only get two Tickets..we may be able to provide discounted Tickets.


For Future Info and Pics/Videos of the Event, as well as Questions about the location… join our group

Dubai Aims To Take Ibiza’s Party Island Crown

Image: Arabian Business

Dream Island will be one of the four Al Marjan Islands in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Image: Arabian Business

One way to look at Ibiza is a bunch of really big clubs. So all you need to do to reproduce it is build some even bigger clubs…right?

This appears to be the viewpoint of the rulers of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, who plan to build an artificial island dedicated to 24/7 partying.

From LessThanThree:

Thanks to a newly constructed man-made island in the Arabian Gulf, Dubai will have a 24-hour, non-stop party scene that looks to rival the likes of Ibiza and Vegas.

Tentatively titled Dream Island, the party complex, which is dedicated exclusively for partying, will consist of two “mega clubs,” four beach clubs, and five hotels. The four-million square foot island will be able to host over 20,000 people at any given time and will include over 100 different restaurants. No personal licenses will be required for the purchase of alcohol.

[Read more: Dubai To Construct ‘New Ibiza’ With Man-Made Party Island]

Of course, this viewpoint overlooks the 40,000+ ecstasy pills a day fuelling the hedonism in Ibiza, or the cocaine and ketamine being sold on the beach in broad daylight by girls in skimpy bikinis.

Technically, the island is in Ras Al Khaimah. Of the 7 Emirates that constitute the UAE, it is known particularly for its beaches – the beaches of the other Emirates having suffered tremendously over the last couple of decades, under the impact of the world’s biggest construction boom.

The UAE certainly has the money, and the engineering nous, to pull the construction of this island off. But will the world’s clubbers be drawn to a place where you can get the death penalty for drugs, 6 months jail for holding hands with a girl who you’re not married to, a year in prison for kissing?

According to the Daily Mail, the Sheikhs have their eyes set on drawing Burners. To them, the Burning Man Festival is a prize, something they can “win” for their nation like a Formula One race or the America’s Cup.

Sales and marketing director George Saad said: ‘We’re trying to make it the new Ibiza – a mini Ibiza dedicated solely to partying.

‘People will be able to come here, stay in the hotel party at clubs on the beach, anything in the world you can do.

‘And we are trying to attract festivals to come here – like Burning Man.’

If they build it, will we come?

From the Daily Mail:

New Ibiza: An artist's impression of the planned Dubai party island ' Dream Island' where alcohol will be freely available

Expanding: The plans for the party island are on show alongside other building projects planned across the region at the Dubai Property show

It looks more Miami than Ibiza

Original: Ibiza has been popular with partygoers for years but the new 'Dream Island' planned in the UAE is promising to rival the Spanish resort

Wet t-shirts in an Islamic country? Will there be foam parties?

Plans: The initial designs for Al Marjan including 'Dream Island' which developers hope will rival Ibiza and attract revellers to the Arabian GulfThe developers of the third of four islands that make up Al Marjan are looking to attract £3.2billion of investment. The party town is on show and seeking British investors at the Dubai Property Show, in Kensington Olympia, this weekend…

The 4 million square foot island will feature no homes and will only be open to visitors and residents of the neighbouring islands. The island was built in 2013 and development to make it into a clubber’s paradise is expect to be finished by 2018.

The four islands of Al Marjan stretch nearly three miles out into the sea and cover an area of 2.7 million square metres. 

[Read the full story at the Daily Mail]

You can fly direct from the US to the UAE from 6 different cities, it takes 12 hours from New York and 16 hours from San Francisco.

An island solely devoted to partying has some appeal. Still, they’re going to have to try pretty hard to compete with this:

Image: Trey Ratcliff/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Sunset in Ibiza. Image: Trey Ratcliff/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Basic Burning Man Bitch

The Bold Italic has a hilarious look at the “Basic Bitches of the Bay“.

Although San Francisco in and of itself is a vibrant and unique city that fosters eccentricity, you will still see those who fall prey to the growing contagion of the Basic Bay Bitch. Without necessarily being bitchy, basic bitches embody the standard, typical nugget of certain SF subcultures. They can come in any age, gender, or race. You recognize them from a distance; and you also recognize yourself in them. So without any further ado, here are some of our most basic bitches:

One in particular looks very familiar!


Image: Leila Moussaoui, The Bold Italic

Image: Leila Moussaoui/The Bold Italic

Check out the other Basic Bitches of the Bay.


The Positivity In Popularity

A guest post from reader Shifty Fox.

1507464_f520Good ol’ Black Rock City. Home sweet home, am I right? I stand in awe at how much it has grown over the years. These days it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t heard of this magical and idyllic temporary city in the desert. A dusty Shangri-La of sorts, in which tens of thousands of people flock to each year and tens of thousands more attempt to but can’t as a result of a population limit which in effect creates a ticket supply and demand. The good word is out and it seems like everybody wants to see what this place is all about. Now, there have always been opinions of the event becoming too popular even well over a decade or two ago. But ever since 2011 when the event first sold out, these opinions seem much more prevalent. Could it be true? Has Burning Man become too popular an event, or a victim of its own success that is simply too big for its britches? We have all read the articles and heard the opinions about how it isn’t what it used to be, and how “it was better back in the day…” Though personally I generally find it hard to agree with these viewpoints because I feel they are somewhat narrow-minded opinions that only stem from the individuals perspicacity and lack of insight, in relation to the popularity of Burning Man.

557227_10201150757269734_1559314795_nAnd fair enough. If we look at the effect that popularity has on a lot of things, it doesn’t always lead to the most desirable end results. There are small intimate venues that gain popularity and over time become the next hot bar or club spot. Small bands and DJs that start out in a garage or a bedroom make it big and are often considered sellouts once they attain fame. And there are the music festivals that started out as fairly small events and go on to become annual massive music festivals with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance, complete with corporate sponsorship and all. The state of popularity as it pertains to events such as Burning Man and other similar festivals is often shaded with negativity. There is this feeling that when so many people become privy to something great, it takes away from the unique and magical qualities that made it so special to begin with. Though a part of me can’t help but think that this feeling is somewhat selfish in its existence. After all, if something is so wonderful and positive, shouldn’t it be shared for all to enjoy? Not hoarded by a few?

Image: Trey Ratcliff/StuckInCustoms

Now what I mean when I say selfish is that I feel people often don’t look past their own disgruntled feelings of dissatisfaction over minor issues that really only directly affect the individual and their ability to have a good time. For example, the thought that because of the progressive popularity of the event, there are increasingly too many virgin Burners attending annually. Or the issue of ticket supply and demand, which is directly related to the events popularity. Often fueled by ego, an individual can become irritated because they didn’t get a ticket and someone who they feel is less deserving, actually did get one. Or the thought that with the events popularity comes what is believe to be the wrong kind of crowd. Those that are said to spectate and not participate; ‘the bro, the weekend warrior, the wealthy 1%er, or other types of people that some individuals believe should not be in attendance. But all of these things are selfishly only an issue to the individual because they believe it interferes with their standards of the burn experience as they see it fit for them. They are possibly not seeing the bigger picture and how popularity affects more than just them and their good time. And I believe these feelings and opinions do not accurately reflect the very real and positive effects that come from the popularity of the Burning Man event. Perhaps it is difficult for some to see past their own comforts and desires.

believeI am convinced there is a bigger picture to it all. I believe Burning Man to be an exception to the idea that popularity allows for negative results to culminate, and subsequently end an entity’s golden era. I believe there are direct and indirect ways that the popularity of Burning Man is positively changing individual’s hearts and minds, as well as affecting families and communities around the world for the better. I truly believe there is positivity in popularity.

Over the years Burning Man has given way to a number of great organizations that are doing wonderful things locally as well as worldwide. The seemingly endless streams of inspiration, creativity, and motivation that emanates from these wonderful organizations, cannot be denied as a positive force. Some of the more prominent organizations that are a direct consequence of the Burning Man event include:

brs_header 4
Black Rock Solar – The mission of BRS is stated as “promoting environmental stewardship, economic development and energy independence by providing not-for-profit entities, tribes and under-served communities with access to clean energy, education, and job training.” This is done often by donating hours of labor, solar products, and professional installation of solar products to these under-served communities.

Burners Without Borders – The objectives of BWB are to “promote activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.” The Philippines, Haiti, and the United States are few of the places they have offered disaster relief for various unfortunate catastrophes such as fires, hurricanes, and floods.

Black Rock Arts Foundation – The folks at BRAF have made it their mission “to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.” This is done through a process of presenting grants to a number of artists and arts programs. BRAF works with various communities all over the globe to produce creative and often unusual works of public art that serve to conjure the inspiration in people, and create a sense of community.

The Regional Network – This is the most prominent byproduct immediately stemming from the popularity of Burning Man. The event has inspired others to organize and create events with a similar ethos to the Burning Man event. Currently there are roughly 130 regional families spread across 6 continents in 31 countries around the world that are officially affiliated with the Burning Man Organization. There are also an untold number of non-affiliated groups and events as well.

These organizations are byproducts directly related to the popularity of the Burning Man event, which is a melting pot for like-minded people, that gives them the ability to network and become inspired to create these types of organizations, families, and events. These are only four listed examples but there is a plethora of other small groups and organizations that have come into existence all around the globe as a result of the growth of the Burning Man event, community, and culture. These are undoubtedly examples of positivity in popularity.


Open Playa

Aside from all the positive effects emanating from organizations and regional groups, we also have the individuals themselves and the profound and life changing experiences that are often had while attending Burning Man. The capacity for positive energy that the individual radiates back out into the default world long after they have returned home is something that should never be allowed to reach a maximum limit. I refuse to think we need less people sharing in a culture that produces such untold amounts of utter positivity.

Image: Unknown/DustToAshes

Image: Dust To Ashes

There is an infinite list of constructive things to be gained by the individual while marinating in this playa pool of positivity; whether it is a sense of family and community, the feelings of impassioned closeness with others, emotional purging and sense of spirituality, the use of social skills in an unconventional world, the networking, the friends, the fun that never ends, the projects, the laughs, the cries… the self-discovery sunset and tequila sunrise. It is virtually an endless source of positive energy, ideas, and knowledge. And it is largely (if not completely) due to the growth and popularity of Burning Man, that all of these things have the ability to thrive there and continue to inspire others who visit our dusty home, to appreciate, motivate, create, and then take these values home with them, so that they can be injected into the veins of life, and the individual can and go on to inspire others to do the very same thing.

For most of us who have attended it is easy to understand the harmonious and magical way in which Burning Man touches many peoples lives, and how it continues to directly effect most of us on a daily basis. But it may be more difficult to imagine the even higher untold numbers, possibly in the millions, of people that are indirectly affected by the Burning Man community in roundabout ways, without ever having known it. I was once one of those people.

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

About 17 years ago I was a completely lost and irresponsible kid who really had very little direction and even less drive. Always feeling like a lone black sheep I carried around a lot of weight and stress with me from various things in my life. From family issues, to the deaths of loved ones, and throw in a handful of other destructive devices, they were very confusing times indeed. On top of that I was still trying to find out what my worth was to the world. Over time I had tried various things to alleviate this weight but as a young adult back then, I really had no idea what I was doing. Who really does anyhow? Things were pretty obscure and uncertain at the time. But it was by chance, (or fate?) that I would soon make friends with a few Burneresque types in a small town up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Through my friendships with these great people I would eventually go on to participate in the creation of small events and get-togethers that carried a similar Burning Man ethos and vibe. I had yet to attend Burning Man at the time, and wouldn’t for some years. The clueless kid that I was, I had no idea that at the time my life was already beginning to be affected by the Burning Man community in this second handed sort of way, years before I had ever attended the actual event.


Image: Dust To Ashes

Image: Dust To Ashes


La Contessa

I eventually moved to the land that originally gave life to the Burning Man event, the beautiful and unique city of San Francisco. I fully immersed myself in the Burner culture and community. I finally attended Burning Man, as well as other events and began volunteering for little projects here and there. I tried to educate myself as much as I could on the history of this fascinating experiment of a not so conventional community in the desert. I had been turned on to this seemingly endless world of ideas and creativity. I found a number of people whose life stories were similar to mine, people who had imagination and ingenuity, and radiated positivity. I fell in love with it all. And over the years as I continue to bask in these pools of positivity and meet new and interesting people, I can’t help but see all the wonderful things that have been created by Burners. It makes me curious about all the great things that have yet to come in to existence by the many potential Burners of the future.


Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

So now here I am, having done this dance in the dust year after year for over a third of my life. I have undoubtedly evolved mentally and grown as a human being, for the better. I feel eternally grateful for the things I have learned in that desert, and the experiences I have had. I have a stronger bond with my family and have forged close relationships with a number of great people that I may have never met otherwise. All of these people that I relate to have seen the changes and the effects the event has had on me, and in that, they have felt the effects themselves. In the desert I have learned to let go of the things that stop me from living my life and I have taken those lessons and reflected them back out to the rest of the world. I shudder to think of the road I may have traveled had this community not diverted the direction of my life and pushed me down a different path. I can honestly say that Burning Man has changed me as a person. It has transformed my interactions with people, and has forever broadened my horizons and the outlook that I have of this magnificent world on a daily basis.

Image: Ari Fararooy/Vimeo

Image: Ari Fararooy/Vimeo

In a way it can be said that Burning Man inadvertently affects every single person in the default world that we Burners come in contact with, without them ever even knowing it. The same way it did to me when I was younger. Before I had ever stepped foot on that desert floor. Now I pose the question, if Burning Man can have such a strong and profound effect on me, and I am just one person, how many others has it affected in this way? And even more importantly, how many others have the potential to be affected by it in the future? Only time will tell. As the event grows in popularity, so does the community. And subsequently the culture, the networks, the families, the art, the love, and most importantly the human individual all grow with it.

So now, every time I hear someone say that Burning Man is too popular or too big for its own good, I can’t help but laugh a little on the inside and think to myself, “if you only knew…”


Image: Michael Holden

Image: Michael Holden