Burning

Finally, after the amazing performances of the fire art its (our group was from Portland, OR), they set the Man on fire. Big bang, big fireworks….!

And some flames in the right leg and at the base of the left one… I knew about the fireworks, but had not expected them to be so big and long.

They were impressive, but to be honest, I did not need them. I was expecting something more solemn, and the fireworks were a bit too much of… how shall I put it…? …American showmanship and entertainment? I love fireworks, but if it were for me I’d just burn the man.

Anyway, it was a long burn! Different from previous years, the man did not stand on a platform, but had only heap of burning wood at its feet. And it is a massive construction that stood there for weeks, withstanding wind and weather.

I didn’t mind waiting, as it was my first burn I didn’t know how long it was supposed to last, but I could feel it was way longer than before, judging from the reactions around me.

The arms came down first, then piece by piece smaller and bigger chunks of the torso, the legs, until literally only the main construct and the head was left, still held in place by the wire anchors.

Then, finally, it fell.

 

The guards had a hard time to contain the crowd, most people wanted to run to the fire right away.

It was total chaos. I lost my camp mates within seconds, and tried to get to the fire myself, but I don’t think I got closer than 5 meters…

I watched the scene a bit, and then tried to look for my camp mates. We had a laser light to find us again – but all I found was another camp who had the same idea!

Fair enough, I was tired anyway and just wandered around the playa, watching the total anarchy that had taken over. Every camp, every art car was out there simultaneously. The noise and lights, the music and the people were incredible.

An hour or two later I was back at the Tree house, and met some camp mates, while others had gone out on a night of dancing till dawn… We sat in our camp space and chatted, having a final drink, and lots of laughs. A perfect way to end the day.

All pictures from the Man burning are on my flickr.