10984

Gumboots and Goosebumps: August Site Visit…

By Squeaky Queen (aka Lara Warren)

(check out the PDF for a full version of this site update with all the pix from the weekend)

Zellers, Squeaky Queen, Tech Support and Jesse James arrived Saturday 13th August at approx. 2pm. It has been a very wet few months, already exceeding the average yearly rainfall by 63mm. We were expecting it to be very wet. It had been dry for 10 days when we arrived. It was sunny and a very pleasant 16 degrees.

I felt excited to be returning Home, and what a beautiful place it is. Wide open spaces, all very green at the moment (the upside of the rain), birds everywhere and the smell of forest breezing through the air.

Gate

The area around the entry gate remains a bit of a puddle, but is easily passable as it has some road base and will hopefully dry out.The entry road is looking mighty fine after being widened. If it rains, this area is known to become slippery and 4WD only, but for now, it’s OK. It’s going to be graded again before the event.

The area around Gate has been widened to allow Gate to be on the same side as the incoming traffic to make for better flow. The road is now able to handle four lanes of traffic. Three inward lanes, and one exit/service entry.

Please remember to slow down as you enter the site, follow all instructions and have your ticket ready. Our aim is to get everyone into Seed safely and sometimes this can take time.

Please be patient at Gate and enjoy being in the forest, roll down your window and take a deep breath. There will be a toilet located along the entry road which will be signposted. If you enter the site out of Gate hours, please park/camp in the allocated out of hours/overflow area, which will also be signposted.

Dam and Stockade

The view towards the Dam from where the Orphanage was last year, just near Mint Country Club. There’s frogs galore! It’s not very deep out there, but you’ll be wanting wellies to get about.

The front of The Stockade is also a pond. Hopefully with some more sunny days this will recede enough for us to use the South Road, but at this stage you need to navigate around the edge of the pond, through the stockade, to get to Telekinetic Chair Repair.

Putting some banks on the dam side of this road and some road base would make the road far more useable, as even when the lake recedes the ground stays very sloppy underneath.

Something to think about, especially as The Stockade gets bigger, accommodating for more crew will become a struggle without a good access road. This year is already going to be a bit of a struggle to get our marquees and containers into The Stockade, but she’ll be right mate! DPI got this!

Kids Camp and the Brewery

Down towards Kids camp, across from the Brewery, it’s green and boggy. Bridges across the eastern end of the paddock will again be necessary.

Past the Y intersection on the eastern end, the road is wet in the gutters. It remains a 4WD track at this stage, but is easily passable, just don’t go off the road!

Talking about going off road……

Please be very careful when driving on any roads other than the loop around the paddock as it doesn’t take much and this happens… We snatched this car out of the bog with minimal trouble, but then got into more trouble when both of our cars slid off the track and into this…

We tried all the tricks to get outta here, but as dusk fell we started losing hope. Phone reception can be sketchy on site with Optus getting the best signal. But never rely on being able to call for help. Always bring all the necessary things to survive. Unfortunately, it was about now, we realised we’d run out of beer.

We called a local for help and he came out with his Ute. After many attempts, we managed to get the Hilux out and then got the rescue ute bogged! We called it a night.

Local support

Jesse James, Tech Support and Zellers headed back to Melbourne to avoid missing a day of work, while Squeaky Queen stayed the night on a couch in Matong. It was decided that nothing short of a 4WD Tractor could save us.

Without the help of the locals, we would have been stuck, waiting for drier conditions to be able to leave. Never underestimate the ground out here. Even after a few days of sun, the topsoil dries up, but it remains slush underneath. I’m talking like melted chocolate ice cream consistency!

The next day we headed back out to the forest to retrieve the stuck vehicles. We came armed with chains, snatch straps, gumboots, gloves, shovels, chainsaws and a 4WD tractor. Nothing short of this would get us out. The tractor nearly got bogged too! But out we did get, and back to Melbourne I headed.

Not long now...

What an adventure! I’m so excited to be heading back out in a few short weeks to start build. It will be a challenge, but that’s what i’m here for. I don’t do DPI cause it’s easy, i do it because it’s tough, challenging and i’m always pushing myself. I’ve learned so much in the last few years, i look forward to continuing this journey.

Can’t wait to see you all on the Paddock!

Squeaky Queen Out.

Site visit August

Jesse James, Zellers and Tech Support: Drinking Again!

Site visit August

Glad to be Home...

Site visit August

Take care at the Gate mate

Site visit August

Frogs galore at the Dam near the Orphanage...

Site visit August

Green and boggy near Kids Camp...

Site visit August

Off Road...

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.