It's been quite the journey traveling from Singapore to arrive at Burning Man, an annual gathering in the desert (Black Rock City Nevada) where art, music, the elements and societal experiments come together. Burning Man brought together 68,000 people making the pilgrimage this year and in a week erected a city in the desert that does not run on money or commerce but rather human interaction, talent and "unconditional acceptance" of one another regardless of race, sexuality or status.
Before arriving I was met with skeptical sentiments from non-festival goers - "A bunch of hippies and drugs in the desert." I have to make note here that I spent the festival drug free and orgy free (personal preferences really). Like all great things in life, the crabs in the bucket are grumpy and you just have to go witness what you don't know with your own eyes.
Burning Man was much more than a festival. Entering the civilization that is created in the desert your senses are overwhelmed by the scale of the project, the possibilities of creativity realized in art installations and, most of all, the human connection with amazing talent, positive spirits and the depth of reflective vibes that surface during this time.
The Burning Man playa provided everything possible from Haiku Rap Battle events, art cars constructed as giant flaming octopi, random jerk chicken & patti food trucks, make shift bars that play only Tupac and the temple, a place of reflection for loved ones we have lost. Each street, structure and moment of the festival provided stimulation then reflection. On the night of the big "burn" I witnessed as 68,000 people gathered to watch an elaborate fireworks and pyro techniques show without any police or crowd control. Commerce and hustle was still achieved in this environment as I shared ideas and business collaborations while under the shade of places like "awesome town". Bizarrely wardrobed humans turned out to be the directors of companies, head bookers of foreign music festivals and entrepreneurs that were in the process of expanding their empires. Of course this beats Music Industry dinners where men spew forth business gobbledy-gook and antiquated ideas while posturing themselves as the most important thing since sliced bread.
The experience of Burning Man definitely brought a lot of things into perspective for me. Ideals that nothing is creatively impossible, there are still good people with good ideas out there and reflection of which parts of oneself has to be burned in the fire to move on to new heights. I'm grateful to burn. I am refocused as the fire blazes. I'll see you next year on the playa where I'll ready with a smile to say "Welcome Home".
I must admit I had the best companions possible for this undertaking. I was reunited with my friend and incredible DJ / Producer Ill Gates. It was certainly an honour to rock together with Mr. Gates on his sets - every night performing for thousands of "burners" dancing in a new constructed space and sound system. One of the nights I sat peacefully in an art car over looking the night time LED lights of the playa and suddenly heard Warriors Tongue play at Bass Henge, one of the largest sound systems of the festival. I have never heard my music played over such an incredibly built speaker system - every drum and chant reverberating into the night air.
I also reconvened with my sister from Japan, the incredible DJ SARASA and played a set with her at Camp Tetrion. An unfortunate change of weather on the fickle desert playa caused us to have to perform during a sand storm. In spite of this- goggles on and face mask tightly tied, we continued the show. If not for the energy and laughter I share with SARASA the show could have been a moment of panic and disappointment. Instead, we laughed and sang out into the fog of swirling sand and the people kept up their end of the vibes and didn't skip a beat dancing.