Pete Lee

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Don't spectate - PARTICIPATE!

The classic exhortation, familiar to Burners, printed on the backs of the tickets for Burning Man.

I had the pleasure of being a volunteer EMT at Burning Man in 2003. While some will, without a doubt, take issue with counter-cultural aspects of the event, I think that everyone can agree that basic aspects of the event ("gift" economy, participation through contribution of one's talents, community building, etc.) are meritorious.

I think that Burning Man is something everyone should do once. Are there hippies/ravers there? Yes. Are there people who aren't hippies or ravers there? Yes. Have Christian groups shown up there? Yes. Is there a phenomenally good 24-hour live jazz camp there? Is there some serious drinking going on? Yes. Are there AA camps and meetings there? Yes. Much like movie critics, ask 10 people about what Burning Man is, and you'll get 12 answers. All will be correct.

However, for those of us who can't make it there, I present to you a complementary experience: SOAK*2005
(more on the location).

There will be some great parties, excellent music (mostly electronica ranging from ambient to progressive house), fine people and breathtaking natural surroundings. Since it will be a minor miracle for this event to break even, supporting the estimated 500 people that will be a part of this experience requires volunteers. I'm coordinating the on-site Emergency Medical Response team. Other groups could use your help: greeters, DJs, communications, signmaking, sound stage fabrication, artists, etc. The SOAK link has a questionnaire that can be filled out if you're interested.

If you've always wondered what Burning Man is like, but haven't been able to commit to going, here's your chance to get a small taste of what it's like to be with Burners.


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