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Out of AfriKa(Burn)

By Helena Sheridan

I got infatuated by the concept of Burning Man in 2012. At the time I had no idea it would lead me to experience Burns on three different continents.

I didn’t realize it would suck me so deep into a culture of people so diverse, yet so similar, that I would eventually draw a (small) salary from it and get to be involved all year round in creating spectacular events and experimental communities.

DPW in Tankwa Town.... (Photo credit: Adriaan V Zyl)

DPW in Tankwa Town…. (Photo credit: Adriaan V Zyl)

In 2015 my involvement as the Coordinator of AfrikaBurn’s Department of Public Works gave me an opportunity to travel to Australia and work with Red Earth City’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The setting, the faces and the accents may change, but at its core the spirit of the people, who give so much of their time to put on an event of this nature, remains the same. This is my tribe.

Same / Same, but Same, but Different

To date I’ve been lucky enough to work at Nowhere, the European regional Burn in Spain (2012 and 2013) with around 1000-1200 participants and at AfrikaBurn, the world’s biggest regional, in the Tankwa Karoo of South Africa (2013 to 2015) with numbers in the range 8000 to 11,000.

Burning Seed 2015 was a fantastic middle ground in terms of participants (3,400 or so) and I really enjoyed the sense of community I found at Red Earth City.

....meet DPI at Red Earth City

….meet DPI at Red Earth City. What is it with this crew and containers??? (photo credit: Andy Flint)

Interestingly the concerns and issues that plague the membership and the Operations Team at AfrikaBurn HQ in Cape Town also resonate with the Burning Seed team in Australia.

The rapid growth of the events, the constant need to reinforce the message of consent, conflicts between the Ten Principles, keeping everyone happy in a radically expressive environment and burn-out amongst key team members seems to be all too evident both sides of the pond.

Meeting the Challenges of Event Growth

How does a decommodified event start to pay key crew-members? To what extend do we rely on volunteerism and how does involvement not become exclusive if only certain people can afford the time to work on the event? How do we keep growing our events while making sure the culture and Principles of the movement are not lost in the influx of virgins? And at what time can we expect big sound systems to shut up for a while so we can hear the sounds of the beautiful environments in which we find ourselves?

I certainly got new insight on some of these questions during my time at Seed 2015 and I hope I provided the crew on that side with some new perspectives too.

For one thing, I was really inspired by the amount of time, money and effort the citizens of Red Earth City put into theme camps (at AfrikaBurn there are no theme camp grants and there’s a lot more focus on mutant vehicles and big artwork).

With the rascals at the Grong Grong

Helena (centre) hanging out with the Red Earth rascals at the Matong local

It did me good also to see how the communities in Sydney and Melbourne hang out, get creative and take Burner culture back to the cities where they live. Seeing how involved people get in their camps or artworks allowed me valuable perspective as someone who has always just seen the practical, infrastructure side of such creative events.

Come say Aweh

I hope more of the core crew and participants from Seed can come visit us in South Africa to see how much we do with so little. The third world (and our location 3hrs from ANYthing) certainly makes us think outside a lot of boxes and a lot more ‘McGuyvering’ is implemented.

I think our two events can learn a lot from each other and together we can all take big bold steps into the future.

I want to thank everyone who hosted me, offered me a couch, a tent, a sleeping bag, a meal, a drink, a puff, a pill, a good time. I have much admiration for the crew putting on this spectacular event without a cent to compensate the time they put in and I have made a whole lot of fantastic new friends.

Come to Tankwa Town, I will look after you!
Yours in dust and deet…. Helena

AfrikaBurn takes place between 25 April and 1 May 2016 – at the time of writing, tickets are pretty close to selling out, so get in quick.

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Tantalize Your Tastebuds with the Burning Seed COOKBOOK!

Burning Seed Cookbook

Spellbinding recipes…. by Burners for Burners

So you’ve heard about the dates for Burning Seed 2016 and you want to relive the experience of Burning Seed 2015 by watching this awesome video, and you’re planning to invite a few close friends over to talk about how this year will be better, but then…. what to COOK!!??

Well, for those who haven’t yet heard, those clever witches at the Burning Witches Association (BWA) have a few of their beautifully illustrated Seed Cookbooks available for purchase, as part of their fundraising efforts for Kids Camp at Burning Seed this year.

These spellbinding volumes include signature cocktails, recipes and Seed survival tips from the wonderful Theme Camps, Crew and Burners who bring the party, structure and gift of themselves to the Paddock year after year.

Make it a Night to Remember (or Forget)

Burner friends coming over you say….? How about starting the night with The Captain’s Cocktail of white rum, OJ and grenadine (Bring Your Own Cup of course)?

Next, move effortlessly into the virtually-no-prep Presidents’ Quinoa Tabbouleh (see full recipe here).

Wrap up the evening with Sunset Island’s caramel bananas with toffee sauce and, with a few more Captain’s Cocktails, you’ll be well on your way back to Matong.

And then for the morning after try a cup of Dr. Love’s famous-beyond-the-Paddock Cup of Love (yes the recipe is available!)

Get Your Copy

Sound good? Donate $25 to receive a Cookbook of your very own so you can sample these sensational Seedy delights and more. (note: please use Google Chrome browser if possible to access the Facebook shop, there are some issues with Safari browser)

Sales of the Cookbook went to support kids camp last year and all sales for the remaining copies will be directed to support Kids Camp in 2016.

Are you organising or planning a fundraiser for Burning Seed 2016? Email comms@burningseed.com with the details – we wanna hear about it!!

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Save the Date…. Burning Seed 2016

by Shaye Harty (President)
Y’all! So here we go again…
Red Earth City will rise once more in 2016 in our beautiful Matong State Forest location….
Gate will open at NOON on Wednesday 28 September and close at NOON on Monday 3 October……
Got goosebumps yet? No? OK well, why not re-live the magic of Burning Seed 2015 with this amazing video … that should help…

Why these dates?

The dates of 28 September to 3 October were proposed at the Burning Seed Team Leads’ Summit in November 2015 and agreed in January 2016 after consultation with NSW Forestry and other local stakeholders.
There are a number of factors are at play in terms of how we land on these dates:
  • They occur at the start of the statutory bushfire danger period 1 Oct-31 March. This gives us optimal site conditions while making sure we manage risk effectively.
  • They’re consistent with the timing of previous events and we are confident of the broader community’s support for these dates.
  • They don’t clash with other major burner events or festivals eg Burning Man.
  • The period includes the NSW/ACT October Labour Day Public Holiday (3 Oct) and the Victorian AFL Grand Final Public Holiday (30 Sept).
  • The dates fall within the NSW School Holidays (24 Sept – 9 Oct) and Victorian School Holidays (17 Sept – 2 Oct) making it easier for burners with kids.

Are there any options for early entry before 28 September?

Limited early entry will be available ONLY to registered Theme Camps, registered Media, artists and volunteer crew eg build crew. If you turn up early and you are not eligible and registered for early entry, you will be turned away.

What about leaving later than 3 October?

All participants will need to vacate the site by NOON on Monday 3 October. There will be a 24hr pack-down grace period as in previous but only for registered Theme Camps.

When will tickets be available and how many will be available?

Tickets will be available and on sale in the next few months.  As in 2015, there will be a cap on tickets for Burning Seed in 2016.

Why is there a cap on ticket sales?

We need to manage responsibly and sustainably the growth of Burning Seed. The cap on participant ticket sales is linked to the number of crew volunteers each year who have committed to support the production of the event.
So it’s kinda that simple… more crew = more participants.
The 2015 Crew Survey shows only around 8% of participants volunteered – we need to improve on that so get your wriggle on and jointhecrew@burningseed.com
For more info visit www.burningseed.com, swing by and like the Official Burning Seed Facebook Page or visit the 2016 Burning Seed Facebook event page
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Learn More About Red Earth Ecology

by Jo Roberts

Photo Credit: Jo Roberts

Silver, Goldust and Varnish Wattle seed

As we begin 2016, it’s a great time to pause and reflect on the past year for Red Earth Ecology with an overview of 2015’s planting, recent activity, and plans for this year’s regeneration.

Red Earth Ecology is a specialised crew which nestles cosily in the embrace of Burning Seed’s Leave No Trace Team. We provide a forum to gather and share information about the ecology of Red Earth City and the local Riverina area as well as specific plant groupings and animal associations.

We visit our beautiful forest playground throughout the year, documenting all the changes to the site’s flora and fauna, and creating reference libraries to monitor these changes over time.

In the lead up to Burning Seed we have an important role in educating Burners about how to tread more softly on the land that we all share for that wonderful week of the year, and we also run regular, and popular bush walks during the event to help give participants the opportunity to connect with the land and environment which supports Burning Seed..

Photo Credit: Jo Roberts

RJ and Narelle working in the propagation nursery

Each year, in Autumn, Red Earth Ecology works with local farmers on bush regeneration projects to increase flora biodiversity and also to provide specific types of habitat for several local bird species that are in decline.

This regeneration effort is largely driven by recognition that part of our Civic Responsibility to the community involves off-setting the biodiversity loss to the ecosystem at Red Earth City that is inevitably caused each year by the impact of us few thousand souls who participate in Burning Seed each year.

In late 2014 Red Earth Ecology began a regeneration partnership in Matong with a local farmer and Burner family David, Sonya, Rosie and Digby Spencer­ -Currie, and in May 2015, about 30 volunteers spent a weekend working

Photo Credit: Madeline Fountain

Plants ready to go into the earth..

together, planting about 2,500 seedlings of 40 varieties. Check out some of the photos from that awesome weekend.

The crew gathered were like a brains trust of diverse and fascinating knowledge. It was a great opportunity to teach each other more about the plants, animals, changing ecosystems and social history of the local area. In the evenings, we feasted, laughed, loosened, relaxed. Thank-you so much to our hosts, to those Burners who travelled up to 8 hours to be there, to the locals and the Wiradjuri community for their gracious hospitality and participation.

About half of the plants we source each year are grown at cost, in the Brucedale Community Nursery and Seed Bank outside Wagga Wagga, managed by me, Jo Roberts, and my father Keith. In the late Spring following Burning Seed last year we spent time seed collecting, focusing on Acacias and other hard seeded local natives, and battling hoards of ants for the nutrient rich booty, which we then planted during a small working bee in December.

This year we are continuing to plant on the same land, extending last years plantings, and beginning on some new goals for 2016 and beyond.

We’ll be holding another bush regeneration planting weekend on 22-24 April 2016. If you want to get involved sign up on the event page on Facebook.

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Building a Stronger Sydney Burner Community

by Jarred Taylor (Jayman)

Sydney Burners

Community Design event: Sydney Burners Inc.

The Sydney Burner community continues to evolve with phenomenal support and growth over recent years.

We had our biggest year ever in 2015 with Theme Camp fundraisers, crowd funding campaigns, civic activation and regular events, in particular the fabulous local crews running regular beach and park sessions.

Now, following a lead from our Melbourne Burner crew who established their own incorporated entity in 2015, Melburners Inc., the Sydney Burner community is working towards creating a new membership-based not-for-profit legal entity. In November last year we held a Community Design Session which helped to kickstart the conversation about setting up the entity – check out the presentation from that session.

You can get involved in Sydney Burners Inc. in four main ways:

Why create a legal entity for the Sydney Burning Man community?

  • Enable us to enter into contracts (e.g. property leases for an event space / maker space / art space / club house)
  • Promote and support creating more art and large art for local and regional events
  • Obtain relevant insurances for events and other needs without the liability falling on named individuals
  • Limits liability to individuals and members
  • Further support community projects (e.g. Beneficent Burners)
  • Operate more (and bigger!) events and fund raising
  • Develop vision and leadership
  • Encourage personal growth and professional self-development opportunities (e.g. Committee member, Project leads)
  • Opens options for local licences and permits (e.g. Liquor Licence)
  • Continued financial transparency and regulation by NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Currently there are a range of roles available for interested crew including website content management, member administration, board administration, legal and finance.

To find out more and to find out how you can get involved, visit the new website.

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Wanna be part of the Seed Crew? The Wranglers need a 2iC!!!!

Photo Credit: Onur Karaozbek DSvision.netA BIG THANK YOU to the just over 8 per cent of participants at Seed last year – around 280 souls – who supported the 2015 event as Community Crew. The good news? We’re gonna do it all again in 2016!!!

Every year, as the event grows, so does the need for more Community Crew to get involved and gift their time and skills. For many on Crew it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn something, make new friends and contribute to the community.

You know what’s holding Seed’s growth back? Crew. Crew. Crew. Too few people are signing up which has left us kinda understaffed over the last couple of years – remember the cap on tickets last year? Yep that’s cos we got too few people signing up for Crew…

[YOUR NAME HERE ], 2iC, Crew Wranglers = SWEEEEET!!

So we start the new year with a call-out for one of the key Crew leadership roles that helps to make it all happen – that’s right! There’s a Crew Wrangling leadership role available and it has YOUR name on it!

We’re seeking a 2iC (second in charge) Crew Wrangler to work with all Seed teams to help identify and fill crewing needs in 2016 and beyond. Check out the role description like now!

What IS Crew Wrangling??!

2016 Crew Wrangling Co-Lead Carly says Crew Wrangling is a hugely important, varied and rewarding role with Seed….

“The 2iC Crew Wrangler is really vital to the overall success of the event – both in terms of recruiting enough people, matching them to the right roles and making sure the whole thing is a win-win-win – for Seed, for the Team and for the individual. No pressure!”

“We need crew pre-event, on-site and post-event, who can commit to anything from a few hours a day to dozens of hours during the year, and with skillsets ranging from finance to construction, medical to catering. But it doesn’t stop there – we’re keen to talk to anyone who wants to contribute!!!

“People love the opportunity to crew – we did a crewing survey last year and the satisfaction rates were through the roof – people said they really loved the experience and that they’d not only come back next time but also recommend it to their friends.”

Curious? Up for the challenge? Get into it!

The 2iC Crew Wrangler will work with the Crew Wrangler Team Co-Leads to reach out into the community and act as magical crewing matchmakers, linking individual skills, interests and capabilities with Seed’s crewing needs.

C’mon… you’re curious right? So check out the 2iC role description, get busy with your email to the Wranglers to register your interest and to find out more. If you interested in something that’s not this Crew Wrangling opportunity take a gander at the other Crew roles on the website and/or register your interest in crewing with the Crew Wranglers.

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MOOP THAT, MELBOURNE!

MOOP SQUAD!

MOOP Squaddies take LNT to the STREETS!

Burning Seed’s very own MOOP SQUAD! hit the streets of Melbourne in December much to the surprise and delight of pre-Xmas shoppers. MOOP (or Matter Out of Place) is a serious business for burners - find out why

The MOOPSquaddies - Carly Bobarly, Di Paulger (of Mint fame) and PRINCESS TRASHBAG herself (the delectable Nikki Santos) - spent a few hours around Bourke St. Mall, Collins St. and Federation Square during Christmas week, MOOPing it up for the Melbourne masses!

“It was a really busy day,” said Carly, ”with heaps of families out shopping and looking at the Christmas decorations and displays. We each picked up about a medium bag of MOOP, mostly cigarette butts and stray candy wrappers/paper.

“To be honest, our main goal was not so much the huge amount of MOOP collected, but spreading the message to families and Christmas shoppers that 1) anyone can pick up rubbish and have a good time while doing it and 2) reusable bags are preferable to plastic, that is, try and cut down on your plastic while shopping.

“We walked around singing a few jingles about rubbish (courtesy of Will and Brendan at MOOP Patrol HQ) and approaching people carrying plastic bags, offering them a calico bag in exchange, and asking them(or their kids) to add the plastic bag to the train on Princess Trashbag's dress.

MOOP SQUAD!

Kids saying no to plastic? FANTASTIC!!

“We had a mostly positive response from the shoppers (only 2 people refused the calico bag) and the kids were fascinated by Nikki's crazy attire. I heard many parents explaining what we were doing to their kids. It felt good!!”

Check out all the photos from the day here at the MOOP SQUAD- XMAS Edition on Facebook.

Seed’s very own MOOP Daddy and Leave No Trace (LNT) Team Lead - Maddocks - says this is exactly the kind of off-Paddock activity Seed’s Leave No Trace team wants to encourage.

“This year at Burning Seed we had an unprecedented number of participants so the task of Leave No Trace was significantly bigger than ever before.

“What’s fantastic is to see the MOOP SQUAD and other Seed participants taking LNT to the default world and spreading the MOOP message - these Melbourne based burners are doing some fantastic work, including a couple of recent Merri Creek clean ups involving dozens of participants."

Take a MOOP journey through Red Earth City with the 2015 interactive web-based MOOP map. There’s heaps of information about different areas of our forest playground this year including Theme Camp LNT performance, plus photos, videos and more.

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And the 2016 Burning Seed theme is…

WANDERERS_verona_rupes_03Ok, you space trippers and big dippers, the 2016 Burning Seed theme moon walks among us. Druuummmmm rooooolll: it's Deep Space.

Wondering how we travelled through time and space to reach this place? We collected 97 suggestions from the community via our online voting app, Town Hall Social, with 413 votes helping us to create the shortlist - trolls notwithstanding (Zzzzzzz). Team Leads then voted for the top pick at the Summit in November.

For a quick history of what themes walked before and the wherefore of having one, you can go here

Thanks to Victoria Vickery, who made the Deep Space suggestion. Her choice was thrown into inspiration wash of our Team Leads and turned into the following blurb by the stylin’ scribing of our outgoing Comms Lead, Jane Lyons. 

In January, we'll youhoo the community again for applications for our Theme Design Lab. In the meantime, check out some inspirational images, thoughts and talks: Neil DeGrasse and his astounding facts; a TED talk on challenging perceptions in space; and images from Erik Wernquist's film Wanderers, which are based on actual space footage.

Deep Space

For millennia, humans have been inspired and guided by the stars and the Deep Space that stretches endlessly around them. Before even the ancient Greeks or Galileo, Aboriginal people have used the secrets of the night sky to survive the Australian landscape, passing down dreamtime stories that science is now using to further unlock the mysteries and histories of our stars and universe.

And as technology has made the flesh both willing and able, humans have reached as far as we could for these celestial bodies. Nations have laid down swords to build shuttles and stations, and both our efforts and popular imagination have sought to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before.

But we are not only part of this universe; the universe is part of us, says famed American astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The atoms that make up life on Earth can be traced back to stars that collapsed and exploded, scattering their guts across the galaxy. Celestial lights begot life as these guts of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen solidified into solar systems, planets and life itself.

Is our desire for Deep Space a desire for our birthplace? As we reach for those stars, are we reaching for ourselves too - a journey of discovery into the unknown limits of the universe and ourselves, or a return to the merely forgotten? A primal homecoming?

At Burning Seed, we love to greet each other with “Welcome home”. For us, the Paddock is both a return and a mini-world beyond our known worlds. It’s a journey of discovery that is as much about place as the unknown space that we explore together and within each and every one of us.

And within each and every one of us lie deeper spaces still. Microscopic galaxies spin round and round as electrons orbit our atom suns, moving us continually through time and space - pointillistic mirrors of the universe that surrounds us.

Such connection, says DeGrasse, is the fundamental juice of the universe. We are not small in the face of it. Instead, we are beings enlarged by our star-birthed atoms, connecting us one to another through the sheer act of participation in life.

Or Deep Space is just a flimsy excuse to wear that hot space-chick outfit, ride ‘em space cowboy, or brandish your Star Wars nerdism with pride. Take your pick.

How will you participate in Deep Space at Burning Seed 2016?

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Summit – all questions great and small

Summit 2015

Team Leads and 2ics in action during the Summit.

Teams Leads, 2ICs and leads-to-be gathered at the Summit in Sydney on November 27-28 to chew the fat over this year’s event and tackle some of the big questions for next year and beyond.

It was also an opportunity for a changing of the guard (sob) and the introduction of a new council that will be the vanguard of Burning Seed’s future.

To read these stories, hitch a ride over here to say hooroo and check out the new council here.

But back to that meeting….

Over two (very) full days at St Peter’s Tortuga Studios, 32 people gathered to hear each Team Lead give a brief presentation on the highs, the lows and the so-sos of their area this year.

Another year’s Summit put to bed – and now we dance.

It was also an opportunity for everyone to ask questions about each Team’s AfterBurn report, a more detailed overview that is prepared before the Summit and which every organiser is expected (ahem) to pore over.

But the big questions were a family affair, with the group throwing around a few hot agenda potatoes together. These included:

      • 2016 Burning Seed dates (soon, my lovelies, soon!)
      • Ticket sales: Now that Seed is selling out, the dynamic of how we sell and price tickets will need to change. Much discussion has led to the formation of a ticketing subcommittee to investigate and propose solutions and direction.
      • Community Crew numbers: Recruitment was an issue across all the teams, with only 8 per cent of Burning Seed participants signed up as Community Crew.
      • Event capacity & ticket caps: Issues with recruitment and infrastructure limit our rate of growth.
      • Paid positions: With the event growing rapidly and many key people gifting the equivalent of full-time or part-time jobs, the question of pay is raising its head. 
      • Proposed new teams or initiatives: These include a Civic Services Department, which will help organise our new teams – Indigenous Affairs, Fun Police, Temple Guardians and Sanctuary (harm-reduction chill space).  Other initiatives include a Ceremony Coordinator and a Burning Seed Archivist. 
      • Effigy design: While the community can still contribute conceptual ideas, the design of the Effigy has come back in house.

Wanna be more than a fly on the Summit wall? A Burning Seed AfterBurn report will be available online in the new year, giving you an overview of each team area.

For those who nerd out with numbers, details and facts, the Summit minutes will soon be available along with each team’s AfterBurn report. These give a more detailed account (aka long) of what worked, what didn’t work and recommendations for each team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inter-Burn travel fund for Melburn Theme Camps and artists

Melburners IncFantastic news for Melbourne-based Theme Camps and artists!

MelBurners Inc. is offering travel grants to support projects going to other Australian or New Zealand Burns in 2016.

They have a total of $500 to offer, so grants may either be split into smaller amounts or given as one $500 grant.

The travel grant is not for personal travel. It aims to support the transport of infrastructure (i.e freight) for Melburners to showcase their projects at Modifyre (QLD), Blazing Swan (WA) and Kiwiburn (NZ) in 2016.

Melburners Inc is the incorporated association that was set up in 2015 to run Melbourne Decompression events and manage distribution of any profits to benefit the local burner community,

Applications are now open and can be made at any point over the next year. For more information about the travel fund or Melburners Inc. membership, please visit the Facebook Page or email info@melbournedecompression.com.au

Melburners Inc.