Spring: In the Air, and on FIRE

by Whatsblem the Pro

Mr. President, we must not allow a trebuchet gap!

Mr. President, we must not allow a trebuchet gap!

Have you ever wanted to set something on fire and fling it straight to Hell with a trebuchet, then set the trebuchet on fire and dance your crazy ass off?

I know, stupid question. We all have. It’s a universal dream, held in common by all humanity, everywhere.

If you haven’t yet managed to make that dream come true for yourself, Spring Fling is for you. They’ve got the trebuchet, they know the secret of making fire, they’ve got Opulent Temple, Dancetronauts, and Digital Apex personnel to play the special music for you. All they need is your crazy dancing ass, and the world can finally end happily. . . and it’s free!

It seems like new burner events are popping up everywhere lately, like mushrooms. . . and pretty much everyone agrees: that’s a good thing. As a culture, we need to spread and grow. We need to find opportunities to preserve and evolve our more radical artistic and recreational tendencies, and get ourselves out from under the thumb of the corporation that runs Burning Man. Regional events, sanctioned or unsanctioned, are the scaffolding that makes that happen.

To that end, from April 26th to 28th the Mojave Desert fifteen miles outside of Barstow will come alive with lights, beats, poi spinning/fire dancing, pyrotechnics, whatever amazing talents and gear you bring with you, and a sky full of high-velocity objects of your choice zooming devil-may-care to a fiery doom. “Bring your tools,” exhorts the website for the event. “Bring your hard hats. Bring your party pants.” Bring that inanimate object you hate, too, for the trebuchet.

You’ll also get an opportunity to learn something about meteorite hunting, and maybe even find a meteorite or two of your own. The dry lake bed where Spring Fling is being held is prime territory for meteorite hunters, and you’ll undoubtedly witness some innovative techniques for finding them.

Due to the site being private property (though it is adjacent to BLM land), Spring Fling has some unusual restrictions – no glass is allowed, for instance – but for the most part, this decommodified leave-no-trace event will be free of the rules and restrictions that prevail in Black Rock City. The judicious reader will appreciate the depth and quality of that freedom when I mention that you must sign a liability waiver to attend, which legally speaking is a lot less laughable than the somewhat less than binding ‘contract’ we see on the backs of Burning Man tickets. Spring Fling isn’t going to be total anarchy, but it will definitely be potentially fatal in a good way.

Attention, meteorites: You can run, but you can't hide.

Attention, meteorites: You can run, but you can’t hide.

Here’s the events schedule for Spring Fling 2013:


Friday night we will hold a large bonfire at Center Plaza. There will be music and the Beer Garden will be open (the Beer Garden is free, however there is a two beer limit).

A smaller trebuchet will be launching whatever you bring to launch, up to fifteen pounds.

The entertainment tent will have some stupid movie playing, and there will be popcorn available. Bring your own chair.


During the day the Beer Garden will be open, body painting will be offered, and a geologist will be leading hikes for meteorite hunters. Several camps will have music playing and other attractions.

All Day: Trebuchet building will start early; please bring your tools and hardhat. Yes, a hardhat is required. We will have the main frames already assembled. The goal is to have it completed by 3PM and a test firing at 4:00 PM.

9:30 AM  10:30 AM: Coyote Dirt Pancake Breakfast. Join us at Center Plaza for some warm pancakes.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Mud wrestling competition will take place. Winner will be the second to launch the large trebuchet. Showers will be available for you to clean up.

1:00 PM 2:00 PM: The 3K Coyote Run. Try our obstacle course and see if you can make it to the finish line. Mud, fire, Sand People, coyotes, beer/soda, water. . . and hopefully more Sand People. Winner will be third to launch the large trebuchet. Showers will be available for you to clean up.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Ultimate Animal Costume Dodge Ball. Bring your animal costume or paint your body to look like some sort of animal. Last person standing will be fourth to launch the trebuchet.

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Burning Man Lessons. Come and learn about Burning Man and how to prepare and participate in this epic journey. Hear from experienced burners and let them teach you how to prepare, setup camp, what to bring, the do’s and don’ts of Burning Man, and anything else you want to know.

3:30 PM 5:30 PM: Fire poi dancing lessons. Want to learn how to dance with fire? Come to this event and learn the art of fire poi dancing. Our instructors will teach you the basic skills and equipment needed.

4:00 PM: Listen for the horn, bell or some other large noise. The practice launch will be underway.

3:30 PM 5:30 PM: Beer Pong/Quarters Tournament. We will teach you how to play Beer Pong with the big dogs. This a 21-and-over activity; wristbands will be checked.

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Communal camp clean-up. Please join us in preparing the large trebuchet for launching and general camp cleanup. We will do a general camp cleanup and prepare the area around the trebuchet for the burn. This will be a communal effort so please come.

5:30 PM 6:30 PM: Fire display and show. You won’t want to miss this.

6:30 PM: Join us in the plaza for the Memory Launch. During the day a hay bale will be available to which you can affix a note, photos of loved ones, etc. . . anything you would like to symbolically fling away or give a special ride. This launch will be one of sorrows, pains and joys. Once the hay bale has burned to ashes, the party will begin.

After the Memory Launch, we’ll have a fire show and start launching other things with the big trebuchet. When the moon rises above the mountains around 10:00 PM, we will burn the trebuchet to the ground with a fireworks show to celebrate the event.


The gate will open at 8:00 AM and you can leave at that time. We’re asking for volunteers to help break the large tents down and load them on the big truck. Please clean up your camping area and haul all your trash out.

For more information, check the Spring Fling website, or the Facebook page for the event.