In the business of advertising, fresh ideas are paramount. Ideas flow from inspiration and inspiration can come from anywhere. This year, Buzz took it upon himself to gather unique inspiration at the annual festival of art, creativity, self-expression and general weirdness known as Burning Man.
A first timer or “virgin burner” as they are called, Buzz took in the sights and melded nicely with the throng of 50,000 plus like an old pro. For those unfamiliar with Burning Man, it is a 25-year-old festival set on a vast playa in the northeast Nevada desert with the notion of widening people’s horizons.
At every turn, Buzz found himself pondering the wondrous sites of Burning Man. Complex mechanical contraptions came out of nowhere and disappeared again into the night. A full-sized pirate ship breezed by with a drunken crew dancing to blaring techno music. A movie theater at the far end of the playa showed American Graffiti with showtimes starting at midnight. Scores of oversized art pieces stood in a gallery of open desert with the mountains and sky as a backdrop.
And then of course, there’s The Burn. There are three burns actually. On Friday night an immense and beautiful Trojan horse was rolled out, displayed and then burned to the ground. Saturday night it was The Man’s turn. Standing high atop his massive pedestal and lit up with glowing neon, onlookers watched as the moon passed through his outstretched arms. Soon after, an amazing fireworks display began emanating from the Man which led to his ignition and his eventual demise. The Man burned like you’d expect a bonfire in the summer desert would; hot and fast.
On Sunday, The Temple of Transition, a solemn place where people left remembrances of loved ones was the final structure to burn. Unlike the other two burns, it was very quiet with little celebrating. A reverent, fitting end to an otherwise boisterous and enlightening several days on the playa.
After the final day of Burning Man, everything is dismantled and hauled from whence it came. Then incredibly, crews pick up every last minuscule scrap of debris and cart it away to leave the playa as pristine as when the first people arrived months earlier to begin setting up. An admirable policy of “leave no trace” is strictly enforced.
What’s the point of Burning Man? Depending on your perspective, there’s either no point or it’s an opportunity to experience a creative community focused on self-reliance, participation and experience.
Buzz’s advice if you decide to attend Burning Man is to bring at least 3 things: water, earplugs and an open mind.