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Burning Seed 2016 – First Site Visit!!

Red Earth... but no City - YET!

Plenty of Red Earth… but no City – YET!

It begins! We’re six months out from what promises to be the best Burning Seed yet and crew from Seed’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) made the first site visit of the year this week to check in with the local community and start making plans for site works and improvements.

Running an event like Burning Seed is no short term deal. As the event has grown (and continues to grow) over the years, much work is involved in managing that growth, being mindful of the impacts on the site and on the local community, and taking account of a range of factors that relate to our commitment to Seed as a sustainable event.

Each year brings new lessons about how the event can be improved. For instance the DPI crew spent time on site last week reviewing the situation with roadworks, with a view to expanding the space particularly around the Gatehouse to ensure adequate lanes for emergency exit and to help address the problems in 2015 of the traffic bottleneck near Gate/Greeters.

DPI crew start their journey towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI crew on the road towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI also met with the sanitation team that handled all our 85+ toilets and 70,000 litres of toilet waste last year to talk about better ways of getting the waste trucks in and out of the Paddock, and to begin consultation on any additional infrastructure needed.

The site visit also provided an opportunity for the DPI crew to meet with our friends in the local community in and around Matong to discuss more ways that we can help leverage Seed for the benefit of local people.

For example, we raised more than $3000 in funds for local schools last year with our ice sales, and there are some great new ideas and initiatives emerging for 2016, including raising funds from the local collection of garbage on departure from Seed, and potential water deliveries to site.

If you want to get involved in crew for DPI or any other team get in touch NOW with our crew wranglers by signing up on the website.

And, if you haven’t already signed up for the Red Earth Ecology planting weekend next month – 22-24 April – now is the time!

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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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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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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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Bring Home the Burn

by Tristen Tan

Coming back from a Burn is a feeling like no other, right? This is particularly the case for a lot of first-time burners – you’re still processing the energy, the connections, the enriching experiencesBeneficent Burners you had in a temporary city built by the passions of thousands. Where do you go from there? What do you do with that energy? Well here’s what you do – you bring the Burn home…

On returning from my first Burn I realised I had found a community who were doing things differently. I wanted to do the things I wanted to do differently with these people and that’s where Beneficent Burners began.

We want to harness the energy we create together at a Burn. We bring together like-minded and inspired Burners and also anyone with similar intent who wants to channel their passion, intelligence and creativity into projects that will bring light into our community and the World.

One of the biggest takeaways I had from Seed this year was validation that there is a need for Beneficent Burners in our community to make the bridge between Seed, the values and principles and the real World. For example some of the projects we’re currently into include local environmental clean-ups, community events, social efforts like helping older Australians stay active and socially engaged, and educational work to encourage kids to free up their minds and create stuff.

Beneficent BurnersWe’re also into more guerilla-type projects – we love giving out homework assignments at our meet-ups! For example, we encourage people to get out there and GIFT – to friends, family and to strangers – and to bring their stories back to share.

Over the next few months we want to develop and evolve the Beneficent Burners website, get a regular newsletter going, recruit people to help create content, run their own regular meet-ups, create and collaborate on new projects, support fundraising efforts and get these engaged people to help steer the direction of this cause.

For more information and to get involved, please check out our website www.beneficentburners.com or join Beneficent Burners Australia or Beneficent Burners Sydney on Facebook.

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Merri Creek meets its match while Sydney calls last straw

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]B[/bra_dropcaps]urners donned their flamboyant finest and kicked some trash-ass at Melbourne’s Merri Creek on May 9 as Kamp Kraken led another initiative to move Burner life beyond the Paddock.

Around 60 people donned gloves, gumboots and garbage bag and rocked up throughout the afternoon to wade through the muck of Merri Creek and remove rubbish. Wheeliebin beats (thanks BBB!) and tea and bicki treats fuelled the intrepid trash troops.

And the strangest thing found? A case half full of sweet potatoes and the desiccated body of a fox. Awards were given for the weirdest finds and best costumes, but the biggest reward was a satisfying 45 big bags of rubbish, 15 bags of recyclables and assorted hard rubbish collected. 

There are plans to make Merri again, so stay in the loop by liking the Kamp Kraken page.

Meanwhile, Sydney’s Beneficient Burners Beneficent Burners are currently looking for volunteers to help get cafes and pubs involved with Plastic Free July.

They’re encouraging cafes to give a discount to people who bring a reusable coffee cup, and for pubs to only hand out straws when they are specifically requested.

If you’d like to ask your local café, or take on a whole street, contact Shelby Ann to get hold of some posters. They also have a script for what to say when approaching the cafe and pubs.

For more info, contact Shelby Ann chinochai@gmail.com  or join the Beneficent Burners’ Facebook group. 

 

 

 

 

 

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It takes a community to build a forest

Written by Ash Blackwell

Mr wattle you will do just fine

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]N[/bra_dropcaps]ew friendships were made, ties between the local community and Seed community were strengthened and a whole lot of good dirty fun took place at the recent Red Earth Ecology biodiversity planting in Matong.

On Saturday May 2, around 30 people from all over the east coast and the Riverina came together for a weekend to plant a forest.

There was music, dancing and a whole lot of planting and watering of native plants. Not to mention Jo’s amazing home-cooked cakes and slices.

Best of all, the weekend gave the local community a chance to interact and learn more about the kind of people that get involved in Burning Seed.

I think they’re almost convinced that we aren’t a cult, and the contribution to the local environment is starting to get around.

The Red Earth Ecology project was established as part of Burning Seed’s ‘Leave No Trace’ principle.

Burning Seed is held at the Matong State Forest, and while we can pick up our litter, we cannot completely remove our impact on the forest. The Red Earth Ecology team work to develop and implement projects that leave a net positive impact on the local ecology.

Over the last two years, the team has worked with local property owners to extend and develop tree corridors on sections of their land. One of the risk factors for small birds and animals is the fragmentation of their habitat. By helping to establish corridors of local plant species, we provide food and shelter for local insects, birds and other species.

Last year we worked with local Burning Seed participant Brian Jones to extend and enrich a tree corridor on his property adjacent to the Ganmain State Forest. Unfortunately Brian Jones fell quite ill late last year (We wish him continued progress on his journey back to good health).

This year, local plant whisperer Jo Roberts reached out to other Burners in the area, who would be happy to facilitate a planting project. Dave and Sonja Currie stepped up to help and offer their property, which is just down the road from Brian.

A big green thank you to all who came and all who contributed. And a very big thanks to Jo, Maddock, Dave and Sonja who made it all possible.

                       diggin them in it takes a team to build a forrest

                       Nikki the kookaburra whisperer plants and peace

Red Earth Ecology strikes again: (clockwise from top left) diggin’ this project, the gang’s all here, Nikki the Kookaburra whisperer, peace and plants. Pics: Madeline Fountain

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Kraken’s TENtacle moment with Wiradjuri

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]T[/bra_dropcaps]he writing is on the wall — Kamp Kraken has stretched its tentacular theme camp presence beyond the confines of the Paddock and shown how to make Burning Seed more than just one week in a land far far away.

For the past two years, Kraken has donated 10% of what it has fundraised during that year to a chosen charity. The Theme Camp kicked off this initative in 2013 with a donation to the Wiradjuri wall project, which was recently completed and unveiled.

Birth of an idea

The idea was first proposed by one of the Krew, dashing Dan Ducrou, who hopes to see more Theme Camps do the same.

“I proposed the idea in recognition of the fact that many of the wonderful people who make up Kamp Kraken want to make a positive impact on the people and communities around them. We are so lucky to have the time, freedom and access to resources that we do – why not harness a portion of this abundance and feed it back into the local community?” says Dan.

“I hope this is something other Theme Camps pick up on in their own fundraising ventures. Burning Seed is such an enriching, revitalising, delicious experience for all of us – we all get so much out of it – how easy and rewarding it can be to give back.”

Enter the Wiradjuri project

The Wiradjuri wall was a local community project that involved Wiradjuri elders and youth producing a public artwork in the heart of the Narrandera township.  The wall was a way to honour the Aboriginal cultural history of Narrandera shire and create a beautiful public space where special musical and cultural performances could occur.

Why did Kraken decide to share this particular TENtacle moment with the Wiradjuri project?

“We chose to support the Wiradjuri Memorial Wall out of respect for the Traditional Owners, the Wiradjuri, on whose land Burning Seed takes place. We wanted to support something that involved local community members, something that would have lasting impact and something that elevated recognition of the Wiradjuri in the Narrandera township,” says Dan.

“We also flew the Aboriginal flag above Kamp Kraken for the duration of the event – the flag was given to me by a Wurundjeri Elder (Traditional Owner of the greater Melbourne area) in the lead up to Burning Seed – and presented the following hand written note to the Wiradjuri Elder who Welcomed us onto his country.”

Today, we are meeting, partying, dancing and sleeping on the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri. For this we give thanks and pay our respects.

In being here, we acknowledge and are sorry for the deep hurt and suffering caused by white settlement.

We are sorry for the loss of language and culture, for the children taken from families under racist government policies, and for the cultural disinterest of broader Australia. We are sorry for the ongoing disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that is born of structural exclusion, racism, dispossession and indifference.

We visit Wiradjuri country in the spirit of friendship. We hope to be part of a healing generation that openly acknowledges past wrongs, whilst searching for ways to build positive relationships and contribute to the local community.

In line with this year’s Burning Seed theme of ‘Re:Creation’, Kamp Kraken is proud to be contributing $800 to the Wiradjuri Memorial Wall – a local community project that will see Wiradjuri Elders and youth produce a public artwork in the heart of the Narrandera township.

This money was gathered through Kamp Kraken fundraising efforts in Melbourne, in the lead up to Burning Seed 2013.

Thank you for hosting us.

With love,

Kamp Kraken

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Melburn Town Hall: reporting for duty, sah!

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]T[/bra_dropcaps]he recent Melburn Town Hall (April 14) was another great chance for well-done Burners and rare to medium-rare Burgins to bring their ideas and questions to this awesome community forum about all things Seed and burnery. 

Town Halls are run by Burning Man regional contacts in both Sydney and Melbourne on a quarterly(ish) basis, and are a way for the Burner community to spend some face-to-face time discussing issues and brainstorming ideas for their local community.

Crowdcreation of our imagination

One of the most popular topics at Melburn Town Halls is Participation. It’s great to know that people are so keen to find more and new ways to bring their brains and brawn to the Burner community, particularly when no-one gets paid for this crap.

We all work, we all play and we all pay…it’s a LOVE job! There’s a huge range of skills to learn and share — gate, greeters, rangers, medical, temple, or effigy build — and Town Hall participants heard it right: this event is about unlimited creative potential, people. Don’t think about it, DO IT!!

#burneveryday

Town Hall also talked about how to participate and promote Burner initiatives outside Seed — that’s right — #burneveryday! So, stay informed, check out burningseed.com, join the plethora of Facebook groups, tell your mum you’re going to Burning Pub whether she likes it or not and you won’t be back for dinner! Whether you want to participate locally or interstellarly, there’s something out there for you.

There were some practical questions and answers too — people were keen to find out why Seed starts midweek and finishes on the Monday. Answer: Well, there’s no medical onsite after Mad Monday so it’s all about keeping you folks safe. If you really wanna get in early then you can apply for an early entry pass if you’re part of a theme camp or an exhibiting artist, so get your groove on!

We love us some Theme Camps

Speaking of Theme Camps, people were also keen to learn more about them — some Theme Camps have been going since the dawn of SEED .. some are new.. some are huge and some are small.. some provide, food, booze, hugs or spanks. Yes, that’s right.. spanks, dipped in butter, with a chilli and lemon marinade…

Theme Camps, while being crazy fun, also provide fantabulous platforms for participants to experience the 10 Principles: the backbone, heart, liver, kidney etc of the Burning Man concept. You can belong to one Theme Camp, none or many. It doesn’t really matter. You can jump on board an already existing crew or go create something completely new — it’s up to you!

Tickets and traffic

OK, so there’ll be limited tickets this year, as Town Hallers heard, and this is one way that we’re looking to better manage the traffic in and out of the site, as well as maintain the sustainability of the event in general — its resources, people and culture. There’s also a rideshare page on Facebook, and if you wanna do the whole public transport thing there will be someone looking into getting a bus to do runs to the site from Wagga. We’re keen on reducing the in-and-out flow of cars from the site so keep an eye out for more news on this.

So that’s nearly the wrap on the Melbourne Town Hall. Town Hall is what you make it folks, so get along to your next one (Sydney next up in May) and make your contribution.

And over to you Sydney?

Other Melburn Town Hall conversation topics that you Sydneysiders might wanna continue include: Art Cars, YEAH!! — Making the Galah more mobile friendly? — How do we attract new artists from international Burns and take our art to other Burns? — Queensland Burn — um YAY!! (that’s happening in July folks, see this month’s Galah) — Town Planning: let’s create a foodie area so we can share resources (we like this!) — (Sad face) but we will need a new home for Seed soon, we’re growing like crazy… do you know a place we could call home when we grow up?