29 Hours in Line; Only Half Made it in Before Closure

John Curley has provided an update from Media Mecca HQ. Last year, there were 55,000 people in Black Rock City by midday Tuesday. This year was a lot less:

giant feathers

photo: John Curley

The sun had come out by midafternoon, and the puddles started drying up, and there were rumors that Gate Road would soon open up. That apparently happened around 6 pm for the people who had been stuck between the gravel of Route 34 and the entry gates. After those people made it into the city, traffic control people started telling the folks who were stuck out on the highway that it was safe to travel. Then the ok was given to the people in Gerlach, then presumably the green light extended all the way to the 447 exit off of Route 80.

We heard stories of the spontaneous parties of people trying to make the most of being stuck, of being participants at Waiting Man, and we also heard of horror tales of the hours it took to get through the lines. Louder Charlie said he heard the longest it took for one person  to make it from Gerlach to Black Rock City was 29 hours. Oof.

The population at midnight the night before last [Sunday] was 27,900; by midnight last night [Monday], there were 38,400 people in Black Rock City. So a little better than 11,000 folks made it through the gates by midnight Monday, the day of the big rain. But last night the city still felt small and intimate. That might have been because the recent arrivals were still setting up their camps, not going out and about.

photo: John Curley

photo: John Curley

…We finally made our way out to the Man and wandered around the tent-like souks for a bit. The souks really were a philosophical and aesthetic risk this year; there was a lot of affection and community-building around the Regional Projects, which the souks effectively replaced. But for us the move worked on two levels; the playa area around the Man felt more open and spacious, giving the Man the space he needed to have the most impact. Plus, the souks created a gathering place at the base of the Man. It very much felt like we were in a marketplace, at least of ideas, as we were making our voyage. Canvassary, indeed.

Read the full article here.

This means that there were at least 30,000 Burners who couldn’t get in because of the rain.

People on social interwebz watching the live video feed have been wondering what happened to all the art this year. In past years, Burners from official regional events have created art for CORE – the Circle Of Regional Effigies. These statues were placed on the Playa around The Man, and were burned on Thursday night. Last year there were 24, in 2012 there were 34. This year they have been replaced with one giant fuck-off effigy, the 120-foot tall Burning Man. There can be only one, as they say in Highlander. Back in the day, we used to burn everything – big art, small art, camp structures, items symbolizing things we wanted to let go of. Now, it seems the energy of the 70,000 strong event (which happens in the middle of a pentagram) is being directed to 2 major burns, both controlled by BMOrg: The Man and the Temple. From a spiritual/magickal perspective, this is very significant.

The scale of The Man and Embrace also contributes to the perception that the Playa is empty. There are actually a ton of art pieces visible in the UStream feed, but most seem pretty minor. It’s only when someone is standing next to one or cycling past that you realize that even these small art pieces are really rather large. Most of the camera shots feature the Man or Embrace, which dwarf everything around them. Last year’s Control Tower was one of the biggest things on the Playa and it seems to be back, turned into a climbable observation platform. If that is the same basic structure as last year (and why wouldn’t it be), it definitely looks small in the shadow of the Giants.

tomas embrace

photo: Tomas Loewy

The “live traffic updates” from @bmantraffic ended at midnight Tuesday:




4 comments on “29 Hours in Line; Only Half Made it in Before Closure

  1. Pingback: What Dreams May Come – Part II: The Introduction | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Pingback: What Dreams May Come – Part I | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. CORE was a part of their franchising operation, an attempt to build out the ‘regional network’ …its first year was 2011, ..the year burning man first sold out of tickets….

    with so many ‘core groups’ being just from the bay area/california .(7 in 2012)…and probably seeing little impact ($2000 each to the projects, iirc, and of course the support and probably compd tickets) they probably decided it wasnt giving them the gains they desired, especially in a post sell-out climate. ….. the llc also doesnt seem to be keenly interested in being directly involved in creating art projects… (remember the endless kickstarters for these dozens of CORE effigies?) ….dealing with the entrenched groups/entitlement was probably a pain in the ass as well.

    I’m not sad to see it go….it felt off from the start… though less art sucks, they should have simply commissioned regional groups to build art, ..not used them as some team building/franchising tool by dangling a tiny bit of money and some help from DPW HEAT at them.

    on another front….i think the reliance on crowdfunding such large projects as EMBRACE and The Temple also could lead to less art….. Embrace had to raise over $150,000 …just 3-4 days before gates opened JackRabbitSpeaks was asking the community to fill a shortfall of $16,000 in funding for the temple.. (which raised at least $50,000 on kickstarter alone)

    if i recall correctly the average CORE project was less than $10,000 … we could have had at least 20 similar projects worth of money in the givers-pockets if burning man simply funded the two biggest art projects out there.

    it will probably never be perfect.. but.. they could be doing a lot more…

    • Thanks, good assessment.

      I wonder if there is any link between the small number of official regionals listed on the web site, the CORE burns, and the large number of regionals claimed by BMOrg in their public speeches. They want more Regionals, but having to create an effigy every year and ship it to America was a friction point for new regional events. Now it seems much easier for anyone, anywhere, to become a regional – all they have to do is pay BMOrg to send 2 people there for “ranger training” (as per Midburn)

      Now the regionals can just do Kickstarters for their franchise fees, lol

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