10629

Burner Journeys: Lessons from KiwiBurn

By Miss M.

We came well prepared. 3 of us. 

Mr. B - a many time Burning Man voyager, USA and Africa – a kiwi living in London for the last 20 years, home on holiday, first Kiwiburn, with 20 years of European festivals under his belt. You probably saw him, a cheeky grin and a conversation for everyone. (A committed remover of MOOP who taught me that MOOP belongs to whomever sees it first)

Mr. C - a well-travelled and adventured kiwi living in NZ who had been to both Burning Man and AfrikaBurn, once each. A gentle bear who quietly helped each camp manage their sound emissions (when he was allowed). 

And me. Miss M. Lifelong Londoner. Raver. Dancer. Well educated city-kid who grew up in a hippy home. I had been to Burning man once, with B. and moved here 2 years ago to live with C.

In 2007, Burning Man changed my view on the possibilities of the ways of the world. Which is quite something to do to a Londoner. I don’t drink alcohol and yet still it took me almost the whole week just to be able to go to bars (with my own cup) and ask for water. And the warmth and generosity of all and each that I encountered blew me away.

Growing up in that hippy home I was taught to share all I had with friends. But growing up in London your circle was precisely defined. Friends yes, strangers – don’t even make eye contact. An education like that is hard to shake.

At Burning Man everyone was friends. Friends you already knew, and friends you had yet to meet. I never knew the like. Every one talked and laughed and offered what they had. People stopped each other in the street/path/playa and said “You look hot, let me give you some water? Some sun screen? Come rest in our shade for a while…”. Or “You look hungry, do you want half of my pizza? Do you want to give this one to someone else?”. Gifting the gift of gifting. Ripples of love.

And the outfits, the costumes, the inventions and the gifts. BM is not a bartering system as its sometimes reputed to be. It’s just gifts. A rainbow of colours, creation, conversation, generosity and inspiration all around us. Art all over the playa. People all over the art. And everybody talking, sharing, dancing and laughing. Amazing. It changed my view of how the world could be. We all have enough. We could all share. And what a world that could be.

I took that knowledge back to London with me and it shaped the years to come. It opened paths and doors and created many new relationships; started when I would talk to strangers just like the Burners talked to me.

And then I moved to New Zealand. Bringing my London sass and stride. Ready to meet a new community. Ready to work and dance and live and laugh. Only to find that the world here was a different place. Even at parties or festivals. I don’t know why. But people are shy. Or perhaps they think I’m mad for talking to them when I don’t know them. Hard to say. They don’t invite strangers in to a conversation. Or their hearts or homes or lives as we did back home. As we did to the many travellers we found along the way. And a part of me felt sad and wished for home.

Then I found out about Kiwiburn and thought, “Well here we go. This should be different”.

(I guess?) So I got tickets, signed up for a shift, volunteered my services to find a way to contribute, collected my boys and off we went. And it was different. In every way.

The Artery was my first port of call. I volunteered for a shift and had a ball. (Erin you are amazing).

Thursday morning we made food to share for the communal breakfast, and almost gave it all away just walking down the hill, people delighted but surprised it seemed. When we arrived we saw that lots of people eating, but not so many brought things to share, at least not that we could see. The lovely lady in the kitchen came out and gave me a hug for bringing my plate. I was touched, but also surprised that it seemed to surprise her.

And I guess that’s what I saw and learned at this, my first year. Some people really got it. The kids who made grilled sandwiches under a tree one day and gave them out to passers-by. The arse-gallery circle in the woods. The Mint Country Club. The Artery. The clothes swapping line. The pizza posse in the upper field. Those who shared drinks with strangers. Those who put on parties in their camps. Those who electrified nipples and those who slapped bottoms. Those who set up swinging bar doors and those who provided a dancing pole. Those who dressed and Art-ed and laughed and danced and shared. Those that built the community and those that dismantled it. You all rocked the festival. I salute each and every one of you.

And to those who were shy and just starting out, who kept themselves to themselves a little more, getting an idea of how things might be – I’d just like to say: look around, pick what you liked best and bring it back next year, in your own way. 

Mr C wondered if we might organise ourselves a little better next year. Given the ratio of infra-structure to participants (lots: not so many), perhaps we could time table the parties not to clash so that there are enough party-goers to create a crowd at each one – Mad Max(ine) where did you go?

Mr B commented that when he first went to AfrikaBurn it was 23.8% dressed up and now its 90%. (Look at the pictures on the Kiwiburn page and get inspired). These things take time. Community takes time to grow. Especially from small seeds. Community comes from sharing and welcoming. It’s a little different from standard Auckland (where I live - you know, the white wine and high-heels posse). But its 100% Burner. Let’s dial it up. 

It was great. And we can do better still. We need to spread the ethos of participation, inclusion and community on the Paddock still wider. Burns are what you make them. Burns are what you bring. Burns are what you share. Burns are what you wear. Dress up. Talk to strangers. Pass what you have in your pocket to whomever is standing next to you. Treat the paddock like one big family. And so it will be. It’s not just up to the camps. It’s up to each one of us. 

We came well prepared. 3 of us. Water, sunscreen, food and shade to eat and share. Outfits outfits and more outfits. And we laughed and danced and talked and shared. And we were welcomed. And I found the people I have missed these last 2 years. The global tribe. Thank you Kiwiburn. Mr B, Mr C and I cannot wait to see you all there next year.

Go check out KiwiBurn.

KiwiBurn 2016

KiwiBurn 2016

KiwiBurn

KiwiBurn Art Grants Committee Member Rohana Weaver

www.ilovephotography.de

KiwiBurn 2016... Photo: www.ilovephotography.de

 

www.ilovephotography.de

KiwiBurn 2016...Photo: www.ilovephotography.de

10046

Burner Journeys… Why do we do this burn thing?*

By Leash

A lot of rhetoric gets thrown around about the fundamental philosophy of burning man and regional burns… what it is to be a “burner”… and then a volleying of either post-modernist cynicism, or holier than thou rationalist, or sacred space community, or adherence to principles, or volunteerism intensity focussed, or seniority of burn experience centred interpretations of what that means. “Do you even Burn, bro?”

The Burn? What does it mean? Is it empty and ultimately meaningless in relationship to our broader communities and the world at large? Is it an authentic and intense crucible for growth and learning with transferable lessons? Or is that trip a naiive indigo child or reductionist intellectual projection of fantasy that is best served up scoffs and eye rolls? Is the meaning of our shared time simply pingers and dancing, and if so is that so bad, isn’t that enough? Is the concept of being a burner simply a brand? Burner™? Is the burn not real? Why do we devote so very much of our lives to it? Is it a cult? There are some strong indications in the positive. I feel like the only person I can answer this question for with any kind of authority is myself.

 

lesh01

lesh03

Leash’s burnerTM odyssey

Burning Seed has been a part of my life since we first landed on Bellingen’s lush, bamboo laden and psychedelically wonderful and overwhelming shores back in 2010, but I can’t say it’s really been the most pivotal part at all times or even now. I’ve had a lot of other fucking stuff on.

I’ve been making the very slow chug towards becoming a working scientist in a country with a 26 year low of investment in science as a proportion of GDP and a lot of fucking TV ad money to brag about our “ideas boom”, working to support citizen centric science, building a decent events industry career, helping run a community garden and a small farm over a couple years each, holding space for entheogenic and other progressive “consciousness” movements I both believe in and at times of which I somewhat doubt the honesty.

I’ve been keeping the personal finances afloat, juggling the key priorities of self-care, family, relationships, friendships, grappling with mental health challenges through years of therapy, tricky family trauma, a godforsaken bad back, an autistic mind which I love but often facepalm about in equal measure, sexual awakening pleasures and pangs and generally pressing on towards greater balance, health, authentic relating, individuation and fulfilment, cooking, eating, gardening, writing, dancing.

 

 

I’ve been engaging with wonderful mates who send me videos of alpacas or godawful pirate jokes and go for beautiful sculpture garden walks with me and let me play with their kids or rope me into helping them dress an ARIAs performer in a giant fluffy egg, and love and laugh and empathise with me deeply and vice versa in an genuine fashion and help me decide whether or not to date a non-ironic Satanist ninja (beautiful man, I’m a jerk for even bringing this up, but that’s sometimes another big part of me), doing absolutely nothing at all except maybe lying in a hammock or some grass for long periods of time, wandering beautiful and fascinating places and
ideas: the whole spectrum of life-filling things.

This is my small, weird bombastic world. It’s a bit megalomaniac and intense perhaps – but that’s just who I am, I came out like this and make no apologies for it although I push to tweak it and improve it, especially the parts that impact negatively on other people shining their own crazy or quiet and circumspect beacon. Parts need a lot of work, parts I’m really proud of in a fairly sane balance. There are many things in it that have brought me personal meaning in different ways and loads of joy, peace and pain and a life that feels by and large more and more engaged and real.  I need some more fucking exercise, cash-flow and sex and less pointless fights but overall it’s going fine and I’m working on that too.

How does “burning” fit into the picture?

Sometimes I scoff at how much Burning Seed fits into the rest of my life. Packing and planning for months, working for hours on end for days mainly in some kitchen or mythological/mystical wank or another, dropping into a cuddle puddle, throwing the odd theatrical tantrum, dressing like marginally more of a festival nutcase than I would every other day of my life, dancing around a fire nude and maybe winding up feeding a grown man dressed like a cat a delicious, nutritiously balanced breakfast with the consistency of cat food in a completely non-ironic manner, aka a fairly typical Leash Burning Seed experience.

But I do it, because I’m a huge martyr, I’m addicted to food praise, I love connecting with new people and wild vivid experience and I probably need to dance more and have more mud wrestles with rascals to balance this kind-of uptight organism out. But mostly because it personally brings me meaning on a real, raw visceral level. I feel compelled to. I do it because I feel like Burning Seed is a part of me that is a bit less rational. I feel an inexplicable sense of belonging, which I can’t logically explain yet and maybe never will.

Why do any of us burn?

For each of us, that meaning we relate to it and gain is to the great extent personal and individual and related to our broader lives and perspectives and community. Much of the time I’m mostly in it for the dancing and pingers. We all live in our own simple and humble or brashly full microcosm of life which is individual and personal, and how we engage with meaning in that is very much up to us and there’s no huge rights and wrongs ultimately aside from “try not to be a dickhead!” and even that one’s highly contested and situational.

It is also importantly a collective space, which brings us something bigger than the sum of our parts riffing together off all of the things that we each individually bring to the table and closer relationships we’ve built at seed over the years and in our broader lives. Many of us pitch in up to the eyeballs, especially many of the old cranks on “Burning Seed Sucks”. Some of us only pitch in a little. One beaut old cheeky seasoned burner simply comes along to dance and be joyful each year and he is so delightful and fun this is unarguably valuable for our community. And let’s not forget Slave, I absolutely never will.

We have a shared set of principles, crews we form based on deeper compatibility of interests and values, and a community that is spinning out from it where we have rich and diverse and individual friendships, relationships, disconnects, etc. just like in any other walk of life that also spin into our regular lives without a perfect overlap but definitely some influence for many of us, positive at its best.

The only thing I feel I can say with some certainty about us as a group Burning Seed shakes us out of our patterns and shells at its best to engage us to relate in a more real, human, authentic way, and throws us into the usual stupidly shadowy and stuck or self-righteous and stuck patterns of humans trying to interact in other ways, but overall is a vivid, real and loving container for fun loving humans, and the sum of whatever meaning we all put into it.

I haven’t got all of the answers of why we are doing this thing, but I love the process of us all figuring this out together and am optimistic we can push this shared inquiry into meaning further. Lots of efforts towards this have always been made, at Town Councils, Red Earth Talks, and online discussion when it doesn’t deteriorate like a self-righteous witch hunt or an episode of Degrassi Burning High.

Only you make Burning Seed meaningful to you, from your own individual take on it or from the values we share. Don’t just take it from the FB air time hoggers like yours truly.

Leash

 

lesh02

P.S. I fucking love Burning Seed and every single person I have ever met there even if I can’t necessarily always/ever get along with some of you because of the sum of all of our flaws and I totally personally believe we’re maybe helping bring forth a utopian society together one day in spite of ourselves. When I was 4 years old I totally thought I could talk to Jason Donovan in my mind though, so maybe I’m deluded. Anyway, Pollyanna here believes what she believes, and I will always unashamedly be a complete tree wizard.

#fuckyerburn #jasonifyourestilllisteningIloveyoutoo

Also, for more on the philosophy of meaning at Burning Seed, check out:

Or weigh in here at the Burning Seed Philosophy group, started by one of our lead Rangers and Burner™ extraordinaire, Wonka.

*This blog is primarily Leash rattling on from her own perspective only, not as any kind of official comms representative of Burning Seed ?

9183

The Evolution of the Temple

by SirANDY

Less than two weeks to go until the deadline for submissions for concept designs for the 2016 Burning Seed Temple and we are HELLA excited to see what you folks come up with!

Since the earliest days of Seed we’ve had some truly amazing Temple Burns - from Rob and Kursty’s green bamboo at the original Bellingen Seed (2010) and then at Matong with Myke McQuaid’s Temple of Time (2012) and Spirit Temple (2013), Elba Garcia-Clark’s Labyrinth (2014) and Brad Ogden’s Tower of Babel (2015).

Rusty, Seed’s beloved Temple and Effigy co-ordinator, has supported burning and construction of Seed's Temple and Effigy structures from the beginning and Rusty also plays a key role in the ARTery and in the new Fire Art Response Team (FART).

The first year in Bellingen we knew the green bamboo was going to be hard to burn, and the large embers tend to fly quite a distance," says Rusty. "That’s not such a big deal with a small group of people but we saw the same thing happen with last year’s Effigy - so bamboo is now banned for all the big burns at Seed,” he says.

Fresh challenges

Every year, each designer/builder/artist/architect has had new and fresh challenges to face - from finding the inspiration for their design, to budgeting, finding enough crew, accessing/learning the skills to create the structure, dealing with the elements during the build and ensuring a safe and successful - and awe inspiring! - Burn that Leaves-No-Trace.

Myke McQuaid says in the early days at Matong, with the budgets very tight, the size and scale of the Temple Burn was more modest than we can expect now.

I did the temple in 2012 and 2013," says Myke. "Both years the wood came from a local neighbor near Matong and was made from cyprus. The first year was roughly 76 sticks of wood of various sizes and a few sheets of plywood for gussets.

My strategy was always 4 builders in 4 days or it's probably too large a project. That was early days though and the budget was tiny so it fit. Nowadays you need lots more crew and lots more time.

Whatever the budget, make sure you’re clear upfront on the deal with the organisers - in terms of supply of power/fuel/lights/food/security/site prep/ what happens during the burn and after. Also expect 50% of your volunteers to go AWOL!

 

temple03

temple03

 Myke's 2012 'Temple of Time'

temple02

Elba's 'Labyrinth' design from 2014

Budget growth

Myke was working with budgets of just under $950 in 2012 and around $1300 in 2012/13 while Brad Ogden’s Temple of Babel came in (on budget) at $15k last year. As the Temple has evolved so has the time/crew/material needed to build it.

Last year we had 6-8 crew at any given stage for prefabrication, 8-10 crew on-site (15 involved over the course of the project) and the whole thing took approximately 120 hours on build/prefab + 20 odd hours of designing,” says Brad.

In terms of wood and other materials we used 783 linear meters of 100x50, 40.8 linear meters of 150x50, a 6 metre 300x300 (that was shaped down into a 260mm hexagon)...   there was about 1500 batton screws (492 in the 6 supporting legs alone), a few fistfuls of nails and a few star pickets.

In terms of the build, pre-fabrication can take a lot of the stress of building on-site out of the equation but be careful when pre-fabbing with rough sawn timber... shrinkage is real.

Expect the unexpected

One rule of thumb that both Brad and Myke say all designers/builders need to consider…. expected the unexpected and be prepared to make compromises on site.

From the very earliest phase you need to think about how this thing will Burn,” says Brad. “For instance, in hindsight, we should have put a little more work into weakening the central post. It should have been obvious that once one of the sides was gone it would have fallen over. I expected it to stay upright a little longer than it did.

Also, no-one anticipated the amount of embers being thrown off by the thin ply skin. We normally work with thicker ply, but we had to compromise getting the laser cutting quote down to an acceptable level.

You have to think of the end at the beginning,” says Myke. “Like, how is this thing going to burn? Density is good - it allows for a good heat build up. In 2012 we had trouble getting it lit fully because it was so open but in 2013 - now that was the burn I was looking for!"

 

 

Safety Third

Safety is of course the most critical consideration for any Temple builder/burner.

In 2015 we introduced the Fire Art Response Team to tighten up our safety procedures and to facilitate smoother burning in and around the Paddock, particularly at the main Burns,” says Rusty.

I like the Burns when the crowd has to move back more because of the heat of the fire - they get to feel the power of the Burn and this only adds to the experience and to the understanding and respect for fire and what we do for a big Burn like the Temple.

Weakening - or making cuts in the timber to ensure a smooth Burn - is a very important consideration with the generally thick timber of the main support structure. You have a big safety circle with the Temple Burn for most of the day before you burn, so you can be bold with the weakening cuts and with your liquid and solid fuel loading.”

Learn from the Burn

It’s always great to learn something new,” says Myke.I’m a mechanical engineer, a veteran burner, handy with tools but in 2012 when we had 90km winds on-site and the Temple started listing a guy came over to help me and taught me a trick I hadn’t known before to stables it.”

Brad says design and build skills are important but not everything.

I’ve got basic carpentry skills, I’m self-taught on Sketch-Up, I have a rudimentary understanding of engineering/physics and some project management experience - but you don’t need to know everything - there are heaps of people involved who are ready to offer help and advice.

I will say this though - if my experience of the Temple build last year taught me anything, it's that if you turn around once, and do the Eagle rock... everything will be OK....”


Got an idea for a Temple design? - Get to it! - less than  two weeks to go!!! 

temple01

Brad's Tower of Babel Temple design from 2015

8833

Burner Journeys… Finding Your Creative Power!!

by Acid Mama

The Burning Man (and Burning Seed!) community is a unique creative space when it comes to enabling people to push their comfort zones and try something new. For those of us who have had the opportunity to step up into our creative power and participate in a collaborative project for Burning Man or one of its regional events, we know how magical this experience can be.

Nothing fabricated about this - it's as real as it gets...

Being a Burner means doing cool stuff like DANGER!!

Furthermore, if you are a woman, as I am, and you’ve had this kind of opportunity, then you know just how empowering it can be to have your skills appreciated and encouraged, nourishing a part of you that thrives on creativity.

Getting Involved

In 2006 I experienced my first Burning Man and the incredible WOW-factor of Black Rock City. That year was eye-opening, challenging, and beautiful. When I left the Playa, I vowed to return with a major contribution. I’d enjoyed being a punter my first year, but felt that there was a deeper way I could participate.

In 2007, I bought an old school bus, gathered friends and talent, and rocked back up to Black Rock City with a hula-hoop camp. Our theme camp was bare bones, but still ticked the boxes. Yet still I wanted a deeper level of involvement.

During the next year, I relocated to study jewellery and metal fabrication at Uni – and this is where I found my niche. I got a job as the fine metals studio assistant, taught classes, ran open studio sessions, and assisted the students. On the side I was tinkering, playing and experimenting with welding, steel work and plasma cutting in the large scale metal fabrication studio. Then one day, somehow, through word of mouth, I got a call…

Finding Your Niche

“Prof”as he was called, had heard about me and my work through a mutual friend. He told me the story of his Burning Man theme camp and asked if I would join their crew – the Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe – a Burning Man fix-it camp that had been operating on the Playa since the mid ’90s. What had started off as a pop up tent with some rolling tool boxes, had, by the time I got involved, turned into a camp with massive acreage right on the Center Camp ring of Black Rock City.

We fixed, broke and re-made anything that came to our door; bringing welders, every hand and power tool imaginable, any nut and bolt we could gather. Incredible opportunities landed in our laps, as we helped large-scale sound camps, amazing art cars, even the Department of Public Works crew. During the next 4 years, my experience with Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe radically transformed my Burn, and my life.

Getting Creative - Flame Effects Archway At Centre Camp

If you ever wondered why we call ourselves Burners…THIS!

Bringing the Skills to Seed

Fast forward to Burning Seed 2015: I’d stumbled into being involved again, working as 2iC for Theme Camps, and being a part of the team creating the flame-effects archway at Centre Camp. 
This latter project was an amazing opportunity for me to get back into welding and metal fabrication, work collaboratively with men and women, and dabble in a realm I thought I’d lost forever when I left America. 

Through this project, a plethora of other opportunities have opened up, and I am deeply grateful for each of them. It’s now my turn to give back, and create opportunities for other women to explore metal fabrication and welding techniques.

Women: Rule the Weld!

Women (of Melbourne)! If you’ve ever wanted to upskill in welding and metal fabrication, now’s the time. Starting in May I’ll be offering a 6-session Women’s Welding Workshop every third Sunday, 10-4 pm. The course will be held at NORM Warehouse which has just moved to an awesome new space in North Coburg, right behind the Batman Train Station, next door to Bunnings.

The skills you will learn in the course could enable you to design, create and install incredible art on the Paddock, allow you to upskill in an area that nourishes and enriches a practice already in place, or simply encourages you to make wicked yard art. Whatever your intention is with this course, know that it is welcome and encouraged. The space I am cultivating will be exclusively run by, managed and filled with women: female instructor, assistant, studio manager, as well as female students.

Learn more about the course and enrol!! Alternatively, send an email for more information.

***

What do you think? Want to get more involved and unlock your creative potential? Burning Seed is a DO-OCRACY made possible ONLY BY YOU! Find out more about Community Crew positions, email the Crew Wranglers for information or check out the ARTery for more about how you can bring your imagination to life on the Paddock!

Wanna share your Burner Journey? Email us with YOUR story at comms@burningseed.com

8462

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.

6089

Prez’s pilgrimage to new Burn horizons

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]S[/bra_dropcaps]eed’s event coodinator — our beloved Prez — recently jetted off to seek new Burn horizons, taking her crustie Burner butt and her eagle event-manager eye to this year’s AfrikaBurn and Blazing Swan. Her mission? Seek, explore, make copious notes and bring it all back to make Seed even more successful.

Written by Shaye Harty

I had decided to take the whole of April off and just BURN IT UP by heading to both Blazing Swan in Western Australia (1-7 April), where I worked the gate, and AfrikaBurn (27 April- 3 May).

As an 11-year burner, I have seen and done a lot in the community. So, these days I am always seeking out adventures in Burnlandia that don’t fit in my usual status quo. AfrikaBurn has been on my Burn list since I heard about its inception not long after I started burning. And this year everything just fell into place.

I met Travis, the AfrikaBurn Minister of Propaganda, and his wife Abi, the organisation’s Financial Controller, at Burning Man last year when I was working for the Burning Man Project. We hit it off straight away, and they helped facilitate my trip over to South Africa, which BTW is insanely gorgeous and still feels quite wild.

I told the AfrikaBurn organisation that I would be happy to work with the operations team as I wanted to learn as much as I could about the nine-year-old, 10,000-person strong gathering out in the Tankwa Karoo desert, about five hours from beautiful Cape Town and down the most infamous of tyre-eating roads.

Check out more Prez pics here As it happened, the Event Operations Manager that I wanted to intern with resigned before the event, and the AfrikaBurn team asked if I was game to fill her shoes on site. It was the best decision I could have made, because I gained so much insight and knowledge of how better to run Burning Seed, both at our current population and beyond as we grow to larger numbers.

By going to both Swan and AfrikaBurn, I experienced the best of both worlds: to see behind the scenes of an event only in its second year and 1400 people, and to see behind the scenes of an older, more-established event.

They were both equally fascinating, but not without their own set of production problems, all of which is important for us at Burning Seed to learn and grow from.

Personally, going to two events on both sides of the spectrum was such a joy to experience. Every participant loved each Burn, and that is what makes running an event like Burning Seed, Blazing Swan and AfrikaBurn worthwhile.

We do this for YOU, you fabulous burner you! And the best part about it for ME, is that I get to call this professional development and pretty much burn year round.  Burn Bright!

Some lessons for Seed

[one_half]

Blazing Swan

  • A solid community crew base is a must: Blazing Swan has a passionate core of people putting on the event, but they are working too hard when they could have a lot more help from the community.[bra_divider height=’10’]And while Seed’s own passionate core has expanded, we need to ensure that we also maintain and build our core and community crew so the event can grow.[bra_divider height=’10’]
  • Location location location: The Blazing Swan site is epic: picturesque, only four hours from Perth and supported by the local Shire and community. It can expand exponentially if it is well managed and supported with good infrastructure.[bra_divider height=’10’] Seed needs to get the most out of our current site by continuing to build on our relationships with the local community and developing our infrastructure. But we also need to keep looking for a great new site to accommodate our growth.
[/one_half][one_half_last]

AfrikaBurn

  • Communication is vital: Managing the logistics of a 10,000-strong event can only happen if there is a well-functioning radio network, as well as documented procedures that are easy to follow if someone fills a position that they have never done before.[bra_divider height=’10’]At Seed, we’re making inroads with protocols, procedures and documentation but there is still more road to go.[bra_divider height=’10’]
  • Signage for all services should be big and bright: There should be no question about how to find what you’re looking for. Need medical?  There should be a big, bright red cross that you can see from all the way across the event.  Need information?  Need Ice?  [bra_divider height=’10’]All of these services are located in the Centre Camp area, and while it is easily located on a map, you wouldn’t believe how many people asked me where these things were. The same applies to signs leading to the event from the desolate dirt roads of the desert.[bra_divider height=’10’]Seed’s onsite and street signage could learn a lot from this.[bra_divider height=’10’]
  • Establish resolution processes: Working with a large team means that everybody isn’t always going to agree, so there needs to be ways to come to agreement quickly and without much conflict. [bra_divider height=’10’]The person who led meetings was trained in conflict resolution and proper meeting protocol and wasn’t part of the logistic team. This was a great way to guide everyone to resolution in difficult discussions.[bra_divider height=’10’] Seed’s lead community organisers have developed good meeting processes and ways to work together, which means we don’t have as many conflicts to resolve.
[/one_half_last]
5444

Bigger, better, burnier!

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]U[/bra_dropcaps]m, so, like are you sitting down? So, Australia’s THIRD annual Burn for 2015 has just been named. The community has voted, and the 2015 Queensland Burn will be known as MODIFYRE!!!

The Burner community in Downunderland has seen phenomenal growth in recent years, and the Burner cultural calendar is sure looking pretty, with Blazing Swan in WA this week, Queensland’s Modifyre planned for early July and Burning Seed lighting up NSW in October.

Hang on — Precon?

You’re right! It only seems like a few weeks since the inaugural Queensland burn — PreConception — which was held last year at the Yarramalong camping grounds in Charlwood, 14-17 November.

The Burn brought 105 people together for a pretty intense gig, which you can read all about in the Preconception AfterBurn Report. And some of it continues to live on in the Phage, PreConception’s combined Effigy/Temple. You can see the Phage at Modifyre, thanks to the safety-conscious cats in the Queensland Fire Service, who imposed a totes fire ban on the night the structure was set to go blazy.

Check out these pix from the event. There’s just not enough time in the year for all that fun to go around….

Our Queensland cousins are now calling for creative hands and minds to contribute to the 2015 event. Whether it’s costumes, Theme Camps, workshops or art, get your creative oonz on at Modifyre — and keep your July diary clear.

More details and a website on Modifyre are coming soon! To join the crew, contact crewformodifyre@gmail.com

4921

Seeders descend on Kiwiburn

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]K[/bra_dropcaps]iwiburn 2015: Wyrd was the hottest on record in so many ways! With daily temperatures over 30C, we were blessed to have Burning Seed’s Mint Country Club (MCC) roaming the Paddock gifting refreshing beverages to many of the 950+ participants.

The MCC joined forces with Cape Carnival, a few of whom had camped with MCC at Seed in 2014. Jayman was back too, and our hardworking Ministry of Public Works was full of Aussies too, so ‘Straya Day was a little raucous!

It’s the 12th Kiwiburn and the second at the Hunterville site, and we had the most interactive art we’ve ever seen as well as an incredible Temple, and a female Effigy for the first time. Both burns were spectacular. The busiest place during the day was ‘beachside’ by the cooling waters of the Rangitikei River and nighttime hot spots were Barrio del Chur!, Dancealot, Balrog’s Playpen and The Camp Formerly Known As F^ck Yeah!

We loved having so many of our Australian neighbours burning with us – thank you so much for making such a huge effort to be there. It warmed our hearts and goon bags. We hope to see more of you next year!

Report by Kiwiburn’s Shelley Watson
Image courtesy of Paul Chaffe