Earthcore at St Kilda Festival, Melbourne, Australia, 2004. Click to experience.
Oakey’s back to the burn! One of my favorite DJs ever, especially since I spied him rocking away on the dance floor as a civilian to someone else’s set at the Earthcore stage at Melbourne’s St Kilda Festival. A long, long time ago. Whatever happened to DJs that dance?
Seeing Paul Oakenfold playing for 8 hours to a nearly empty Stonehenge in 2004 was one of my best Burning Man moments of all time. Last year he was involved with new mega sound camp White Ocean, and they brought trance back to the burn. FINALLY! Astrix and Simon Patterson rocked it to massive crowds. This year promises to be even better. Quite possibly THE best collection of artists to ever perform at one camp at Burning Man. And it’s all gifted to you for free!
This year’s White Ocean line-up is so good I had to double-check that I wasn’t reading The Onion. Dave Seaman (aka GOD). Hernan Cattaneo & Nick Warren. Seb Fontaine. Plump DJ’s. Astrix, Above and Beyond, Markus Schulz, Sander van Doorn. JUNO REACTOR. I repeat: JUNO REACTOR. Run, don’t walk, to their gig: my favorite band in the world. Live psy, it is a show like no other. Think Shpongle meets Infected Mushroom meets Lucent DossierExperience.
Try dancing to that shit for 6 hours straight and you’ll know what I mean.
OMG OMG OMG! If I was 30 years younger, this would be like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus just fucked and spawned a twerking baby Kardashian. This is the dance music equivalent of Germany’s performance in Brazil today. GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!
Yes, it’s safe to say that I’m excited by this news. And also devastated, since I won’t be attending Burning Man this year. Somebody please Soundcloud these sets, or even better, stream them live.
The White Nights at 10 o’clock and Cinammon are broken up based on music styles:
DJ Paul Oakenfold at the Green Man, Burning Man 2007
Burning Man isn’t about lineups. You don’t go there just to see your favorite artists. However, music is still a huge part of the annual 60,000 person art experiment. Everywhere you go at night at Black Rock City, you’ll see DJs spinning on art cars, in nightclubs, and massive festival-style stages on the playa.
Today we found out that the rumors were true about the epic lineup for the White Ocean sound camp events, curated by Paul Oakenfold and Timur Sardarov. Each day will be dedicated to a different genre of electronic music, with some serious talent to boot. Some of the most surprising names to see include Above & Beyond, Markus Schulz, Sander van Doorn, Chris Liebing, Astrix, and Fehrplay.
Additionally, White Ocean posted a photo on their Facebook page of the stage design they are building, which looks to be fully equipped with massive flamethrowers and pyrotechnics. We’ll see you there!
Listen up, kiddies. You can take all your Aoki/Mau5y/Guetto/Calvins with their gimmicks and USB sticks and shove them up your nostrils. This is proper fucking doof doof right here.
Seriously people. Juno Reactor. Watch their amazing 2007 live performance in Tokyo, featuring Steve Stevens on guitar, in the video below. Thankyou Oakey! Let’s hope they develop a massive following on the West Coast as a result of this, so they have to come back here and play all the time.
Haley Dahl, 18, has been attending Burning Man since she was 9.
Where the subject of children attending Burning Man comes up, controversy follows. Strong opinions run the gamut, from people who believe that radical inclusion necessarily means juveniles too, to those who look askance at parents who bring their children to an adult party in a hazardous environment, or even call the practice a form of child abuse.
Haley Dahl is eighteen years old, and has been going to Burning Man since she was nine. She lives in Los Angeles, where she rocks out with her band,Sloppy Jane.
I met Haley on the playa, and she promised to write to me after the burn and tell me all about her experience growing up in Black Rock City. This is what she wrote:
When I was a child and my family was still an unbroken unit, we would take trips to my Grandpa Yab’s country house in upstate New York every summer. I have only a few vague memories of these traditional family retreats; holding my Raggedy Ann doll in a bed that smelled like leaves, walking in the forest with my grandpa to go see butterflies, and a sense of normalcy that I at this point in my life feel totally disconnected from, because once upon a time in 2004 my dad approached me and said “so this summer we have a few options. We can either go to the country house, or we can do a weird mystery thing that I’m not going to tell you anything about.” And this was how nine-year-old me ended up at Burning Man.
We went, just my dad and I. I remember at that point there was still no cell phone service in Gerlach. We left the last gas station in Nixon and called my mom, her voice quivered on the phone when she said goodbye to us right before we went over a metal bump that signified the end of cell range. I’ll never forget the way she sounded, it was as if she thought that we were never coming back. And I guess, in a way, we never really did. We never went back to the country house. And as we passed through Gerlach, my dad pointed into the desert and said “that is where we are going.” And I said “you mean by the giant cloud of dust?” He looked at me and said “the cloud of dust is where we are going.”
When we got in it was dark. We went to Kidsville. The mayor was wearing a top hat and a diaper. We walked to Center Camp and we thought it was all of Burning Man, and we were totally blown away by it. We put up our tent, it blew away. We spent the rest of the week in the car. I had no costumes so I painted myself blue and wore a mylar emergency blanket as a toga.
The next day we walked around and I remember feeling so overwhelmed by all of the colors, the costumes, the art, it was a world I felt like I had made up in my imagination that had materialized in front of me. I teared up and it made my dad panic. He asked if I was doing okay and asked if I was going to need to go home. I looked up at him and said “thank you for bringing me here.”
Haley Dahl, age ten
I think Burning Man is an excellent environment for children if you are willing to be a parent. Not a fly-little-birdy-go-experience-life-Mommy’s-on-acid kind of parent, but the kind of parent that actually DESIRES to treat Burning Man like a family vacation. Let me explain that a little better; I have talked to a lot of adults who have said “oh, so your parents gave up their Burning Man experience for you.” That is not how I feel about it. My parents are not polyamorous drug-takers or heavy drinkers. They weren’t “giving up” the right to go to the Orgy Dome; they wouldn’t have wanted to go anyway. So it was pretty easy for them to steer me away from anything too raw. I think having attended Burning Man as a child was one of the best things that could have happened to me. It gave me a very strong sense of self at an early age, I entered middle school with self-esteem and totally did not give a shit if I was ostracized for it because I knew I was cool as shit. And in case you didn’t know, that is incredibly rare for a middle school girl.
THAT BEING SAID, I STRONGLY SUGGEST AGAINST BRINGING YOUR FUCKING TEENAGE DAUGHTER TO BURNING MAN. Bringing your child to Burning Man as a child is awesome because they get to spend their early developmental stages being told that it’s totally fine to be an individual. Once your kid is a teenager, especially a girl, I think it’s advisable to take a few years off.
People really like to act like Burning Man is a really safe environment where everyone has evolved past normal human bullshit. That just isn’t true. I’m an attractive young woman who has lived in both Los Angeles and New York, places known for having high scumbag populations. It is safe to say that I have experienced more blatant sexual harassment confrontations at Burning Man than I have anywhere else I have ever been.
Because I attended Burning Man as a child, I grew up pretty fast mentally, and because of hormones in food (or something) I grew up pretty fast physically too. I was an old fourteen, and that was around when Burning Man started becoming less safe for me. People like to pretend that because it’s Burning Man it’s totally okay to catcall and/or be aggressively sexual towards women. That is not okay, especially if the woman is in fact a fourteen-year-old girl.
I remember being drunk and in one of the big dance camps and making out with some random guy. I said “how old are you?” he said “I’m twenty-five.” I said “I’m fourteen.” He paused, looked slightly surprised, and said “I won’t tell if you won’t. . .” and thus began a long saga of disgusting men taking advantage of my naivety and teenage drunkenness.
Haley Dahl, age eleven
Fast-forward two years to my (now ex) douchebag post-2009 burner boyfriend in his five-hundred-dollar fire-spinning attire drunkenly spitting at me and screaming in my face about how I didn’t know how to experience Burning Man because I wouldn’t let him be free and sleep with other people.
The main problem with growing up at Burning Man is that Burning Man grows up with you. It’s not the home it used to be. The increase in popularity and rise in prices has turned it into a playground for bourgeois assholes who like to act like taking ecstasy and cheating on your wife with a nineteen-year-old white girl wearing a bindi and a feather headdress is enlightenment.
I will always wonder if Burning Man has really changed so hugely since my childhood, or if I am just seeing different sides of it because I’m older now. I’m sure it’s a combination of the two, but ever since Bad Idea Theater closed I’ve spent all of every night at the Thunderdome. . . because if I wanted to go to a fucking rave I would just go to downtown L.A. and pay ten bucks instead of five hundred, you know?
Anyway, by the time I was seventeen I was bored of drugs. Now I’m eighteen, I’ve quit smoking, I don’t drink much, and I go to the gym every day. I never go to parties and I’m not even going to college because my career has already started. If there is anything that Burning Man has robbed me of (other than a fucking normal life), I’d say it robbed me of my twenties. I watch Fraser. Enough said.
Do you have a first-hand story about growing up at Burning Man? Tell us all about it in the comments after you check out Haley’s band, Sloppy Jane, playing the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood:
Burning Man is a builder’s wet dream. A temporary city, with no real construction restrictions – except Leave No Trace.
Right now I’m in my RV travelling to the Superbowl in New Orleans with the Exposure Burner crew who managed the build out of the legendary Circus Maximus for Nexus in 2010.
It took clay models and months of CAD design, for something that probably just seemed like a rope swing to most Burners. It took a crew of 25 people, 2 weeks to build and 4 days to dismantle. It was designed to accomodate 10,000 people at any given time – the crowds to see Bass Nectar and the Funktion1/Turbosound audio system definitely approached the limit. Likewise, out on Treasure Island you can see the amazing amount of work that Marco Cochrane puts into his sculptures like Bliss Dance and Truth or Beauty. Bliss Dance only used a computer for one tiny part – load balancing analysis for the one foot that is on the ground and supports the whole structure. Everything else was painstakingly made by hand. And that includes multiple iterations of clay modelling miniatures. It is 45 feet high, you can climb over it and up it, and it’s still going strong out as a public statue on San Francisco’s Treasure Island. It lights up like crazy and you can control it with an iPad.
So Burners know something about architecture. We also know something about temporary, pop-up communities, and re-using or re-cycling materials. Many different kinds of temporary modular structures are invented at Burning Man, or prototyped there. For example in 2004 one of my Burning Man dreams manifested when I brought an RV with a second-story vertical popout:
…would love to say that it was my trailer, but I rented it from Will Smith. For anyone interested, call up my good friends at Anderson Mobile Estates. Ron and his son RJ have both been to Burning Man, they love it even though it’s a bit of a downgrade from their usual clientele like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. If you want to book a trailer from them, don’t even dream of trying to pretend that it’s not going to Burning Man! Just tell them the truth, and you’ll get the desert-hardened vehicles you need.
But Burning Man isn’t all about grandiose displays of luxurious extravagance. You can do it small too. For example, many people get low income tickets, their presence is our presents. And others spend money wisely, for something they can use again and again.
The hexayurt is one of the greatest Burning Man inventions. They can be clustered together in pods. A simple swamp cooler (thanks FIGJAM) or portable A/C unit can turn 3 or 4 connected Yurts into the ultimate chill zone.
Hexayurts costs very little, are easy to construct, and are re-usable.
My RV cost me $19,000 on eBay. We stuck in a killer sound system and reupholstered out a lot of the 1950’s dumb-ask damask – surprising to see in a vehicle built in 2000, but I guess they’re catering for a particular geriatric demographic. It’s been to 2 Burns, Lightning in a Bottle, and all around the country. 2 slide-outs, 34′ long, 2 A/C units, bathroom and shower. If we run out of room I can pop out the inflatable tent. For anyone who wants to go to Burning Man more than 3 times, something like this will probably pay for itself. Another advantage is this thing is frikking LOADED for whatever party we want to take it to. It took almost until Burning Man 2012, to drink all the booze that was still in it left over from 2011. And when I say almost – we didn’t manage to drink it all. Not to mention how easy it is to find lighters, duct tape, bottle openers, papers, headlamps, glowsticks etc.
Last year, we brought an ekoVillage shipping container. Solar powered with battery backup for night; air conditioning; a keg; iPad driven A/V. It was a nice little private party space at our camp, for up to 20 people. Some people slept in it, some people fucked in it. The container is a powerful object in a Cargo Cult, and expect to see more of this in the future. This year there were at least 400 shipping containers at Burning Man.
If your budget doesn’t stretch so high, you can still have an amazing camp. I am a fan of the Tiny House movement: these are true mobile homes. Less is more. There have been Tiny Houses at Burning Man, but the Tiny House blog themselves also admire other Burnitechture. I recommend reading their whole guide from 2011, but here’s some highlights:
a tiny house and a hexyurt together
the French Quarter: where are the whores?
…and on that note, I’m gonna go, because we just pulled up to the real French Quarter. Go ‘Niners!