Tales from Loveland @ Arise Festival
Arriving in Denver morning of August 2nd in preparation for a shuttle bus ride unlike any other to the Arise Festival next day in Loveland, CO. It was a 3 day festival headlined by “Thievery Corporation”, Layout consisted of 2 Primary Stages and 2 secondary side stages flanked by a host of informational booths and holistic vendors, CBD distributors and some really good food. Also a dome which hosted various lectures and presentations by activists and festival organizers. Supporting acts included a most awesome visual / acrobatic performance by Quixotic. Other bands included Trevor Hall, Dustin Thomas, Kitchen Dwellers, Andrew “Tubby” Love & Amber Lily, Start Making Sense (Talking Heads tribute), Dead Floyd, Ayla Nereo, Sligthtly Stoopid and Pepper. There was a somewhat familiar crossover among several of those performers with ties to the Hawaiian Islands. Despite the occasional hail, wind or lightning storm that forced a few delays in the schedule… it was an awesome festival with a great group of people. On the final day, also got to meet up and spend some time with “Godlazer” a prominent CO resident DJ who has visited and played the Big Island who I got to meet up with later in Boulder, Colorado. Thievery Corporation of course was the highlight and were incredible as I cross them off my list of “most wanted to see” performances.
Reno, NV: Burningman Prep
August 8th was my flight to Reno, NV in preparation for the next venture which was Burningman over the next 3 weeks. Teaming with “Collision Cuisine” which later became “Camp Dashi”- A supporting network which provided the culinary infrastructure for several other prominent camps most notably “Playa Alchemy” and Camp Ibiza. It was an adventure into food preparation arts at its finest along with some old and new friends from prior year Burns. Moreover, it was an extreme logistical challenge combining all types of vehicles, generators, heavy kitchen appliances, tents, bicycles, a golf cart, trailers and thousands of dollars worth of food. It was an exceptional experience with many challenges along the way and lots of careful planning.
Black Rock City, Set-up
The early entry pass to Burningman has two sides to it. The main advantage being early arrival to put everything into place in time for the event. It provides a nice transitional atmosphere that prepares you for what’s to come. But set-up can also seem like a very raw experience. It is a blank canvas to start which quickly morphs into home for the next 2 weeks. Usually it involves the initial setting into place various tent and shade structures followed by power generators. But as a kitchen facility, attention turns quickly into the efficient set-up of various sinks, refrigerators, ovens, large storage facilities for food and supplies. Finally the creature comforts like showers and porta potties. All in the middle of a dry lake dessert. Don’t forget to prepare for the wind and dust storms that can happen at any time of day or night without notice. The other advantage is that you may only have a 2.5 hour wait in line instead of the sometimes customary 6 hours at the start of the event.
There’s no rational explanation for why all this extreme preparation would be worth the experience so I won’t try. Suffice it to say that the time spent on or around the Playa (the inner city at Burningman) is something that might closely resemble a week on the Moon or Mars where the new currency becomes creative and artistic expressions adorned with art cars, fiery scenes, sexy lights and plenty of freedom to experience one’s own sense of adventure and exploration which is then balanced by survival skills and basic necessities. Much of those can be broken down and found on the Playa itself thru its gifting culture and at times ‘humorous’ bartering network. Cash does not exist in this atmosphere as there is nothing to buy except for Coffee and Ice.
Camps: Dashi / Mystic / Freestyle Palace
I had the good fortune of not having to work during the event itself this year. Most of that took place at Dashi prior during set-up and after during ‘the strike’ (aka tear down). So it was my honor to also be part of another camp “Freestyle Palace” where I camped the previous year. The people here are wonderful, generous and creative souls who really know how to enjoy life. They come from many places throughout California primarily but some farther away like me. Throughout the week they feature a huge ball pit of several thousand balls in a circular swimming pool with stuffed animals in between. But it has an open bar, DJ booth with dance poles secured to a platform and hosts such things as “Air Guitar Contests”, Comedy Shows, a Pub Crawl and the newest entry for this year – our own art car “Tessie”. It was also host to several play shops throughout the week and some samples of Pan fry Ice Cream. It is a great place to just lounge out, rest and recover from the previous all-nighter. Across the way is also the Freestyle Dome which has several electric instruments often used for an instant ‘Flash Jam’ for any willing passersby and participants.
Camp Mystic should have it’s own recording each year as it has become my premier ritual every mid-Week on Wednesday Evenings on the 2:00 side of town. This year was again an exceptional lineup of Random Rab, Human Experience (aka David Block), Gaudi and Dessert Dwellers. I love it there because once you come, you don’t want to leave. It has some of the best fire dancers and performance artists amidst a beautiful, sensuous atmosphere. It’s become a home away from home away from home. The perfect Shamanistic Shangrila for Yogi’s and/or those who like to dabble in mind expansion exercises.