(This week, I’m truly honored to have spoken to two East Coast Burners that are truly larger than life. If you’ve partied in NYC in any significant fashion you’ve probably seen them out, dressed to the nines. They’re four time Burners with a unique perspective that we’d all do well to learn from. Diva PsychicStar (Patricia) repurposes furs & The Geniuz (Jeremiah) commands broadcasts. This is a deep dive folks, so turn on one of their favorite sets from playa, from White Ocean, Robot Heart, Pink Mammoth & Distrikt, while you read!)1. How was Burning Man 2015?! How did this all start for you two? Burning Man 2015 was challenging! It was our fourth Burn with each one being different and each one offering a new experience and takeaway. It takes a lot of money/effort to trek across the continent from New York to join the tens of thousands of Burners for an event culminating months of regional festivals and camp fundraisers. Our style is to mitigate as much of the dry, dusty Playa harshness as possible by bringing as many creature comforts and tried and true costumes as we can. We have always been RV campers, which gives us a leg up when it comes to daytime sleeping and shelter from the dust storms. Continue reading
This is a thought experiment, a call to action, or maybe even a plea. Perhaps it’s the ravings of a lunatic, if you don’t agree with me. The community of people who read this blog are the only ones on the planet with both the openness to listen and the determination to find solutions to complex problems. If we can figure out how to throw the best party in the world in the worst place to throw it, surely we can figure out this whole water thing.
Specifically, I want to talk about the cost & availability of water at events throughout the country, off-playa. We have Burning Man camps throwing stupendous parties as fundraisers for BM & regional burns. These events showcase the idea that parties can be principled, community-building affairs. These events are superior to “retail” or “EDM” styled dance music events, and we generally are pretty smug about how much better they are. Not for nothing, as they totally are. However, they aren’t perfect.
One thing that’s somewhat baffling is price of water at all of these events. The fact that I’m paying $5-6 for a bottle of water at Pacha, Avalon or Hakkasan is one thing. But when I’m being charged the same amount at a camp fundraiser, I think there’s a problem. I totally understand that it’s a fundraiser and we’re there to support, but we also rely on a gigantic population of people who go to these parties but never make it to Burning Man. I’m not sure why gouging these people is justified. I don’t believe water should ever be a profit generating item on party budgets but I also know I’m not the King of All Parties.
I think there’s a real opportunity for Burners to lead on this one, and make parties across the country better. There are plenty of influential DJs, producers, promoters, 1% & 0.1% members who enjoy the Burn and know that it’s important for us to ask serious questions about where we get our water, how, and who we buy it from/how it’s produced. Why am I paying 6 bucks for a bottle of water, that was ordered in bulk from some Big Water ZombieCorp? Why is it that we’re not making the hard, possibly slightly less profitable choices about providing tap water (it goes through the best water filter jugs at least once), advocating for water conservation & reforming the laws around large companies bottling our municipal water supply and selling it back to us.
Before anyone says it: No, this is not a call to have water given out at Burning Man. I’ve got a map from the 2006 Burn on my wall above the computer I’m writing this on, and would never want to make BM anything less than the rugged, non-plug & play carnival of stupendousness I remember it as and know it can be. The idea of having water provided at the Burn is antithetical to the goals of the event and those who attend. At burn fundraisers in real bars, warehouses & places that aren’t the deep playa however? I don’t understand why water is more expensive there than it is at the dubstep show up the street. Aren’t we better than that?
If we can spend thousands of dollars on desert dancefloors, epic structures, rainbow lights and art cars with dancefloors inside of them (yo dawg, I herd you like dancefloors…), we can drop a couple of dollars making sure the water that we’re selling at these fundraisers, or gigs we’re associated with isn’t exploitative. What would happen if DiSORIENT, False Profit, Opulent Temple, Kostume Kult, White Ocean, Bubbles & Bass, Robot Heart just decided to negotiate with venues to ensure water was free or a dollar? If they opened with “what do we need to do to ensure water is free/sold at cost at our fundraisers?” I’d imagine they’d get a lot more traction than if I threw up another useless petition on change.org that you wouldn’t read or sign. What would happen if Burners who owned companies took a look at how they used water? What would happen if superstar DJs who play at Burning Man every year started putting “free water” in their riders off playa? If the green room can come stocked with a dozen bottles of champagne, what would happen if it started being part of what ticket holders expected when we went to a Burning Man camp fundraiser?
Yes, this would mean we’d need to make some hard choices, work to ensure that California doesn’t entirely dry out, and that we’re more conservationist than hedonistic when it comes to water usage. But maybe it catches fire (like Western parts of the USA this time of year). Maybe headliners like Bassnectar & deadmau5 start demanding it. Maybe California BM groups help make this a signature issue to solve, not to spar or win political points on. Maybe we remember that it is about Gifting & Decommodification as much as it is about Radical Self Reliance. Who knows, maybe we remind the dance music universe that water isn’t for making money on either, and things get better for everyone. Even people who will never make it to the playa.
It’s fun to dream. Thanks for dreaming with me, for a moment anyways. Hope you’ve got your reusable water bottle within arms reach while you’re reading this. I know I do.
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 Dossier Experience.
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:
Monday – Eclectic
Tuesday – Progressive
Wednesday – Trance
Thursday – House
Friday – Psy
Saturday – Heck no, it’s Techno
Here’s the full lineup:
Here’s what EDM blog LessThan3 had to say:
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!
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.