BURNING MAN 1993
Black Rock City Population: 1000
Ticket Price: ???
MUDSKIPPER HISTORY: 3 nomadic burners make their way into the desert with no camp theme and no camp name:
MEMORIES FROM GABRIEL:
The origins of my first year were that I asked Graham if he had any plans for Labor Day weekend, and he said he was planning to go out to the desert for this thing that someone in a cafe was talking about called Burning Man, which they were not really able to describe very well but which sounded interesting. So Graham, Bart, and I piled in my truck with a tent, some water, and some food to see what was this mysterious thing in the desert was all about. At that time there were no roads, and the whole event was about the size of center camp now.
There was an espresso cart during the day and a morning sunrise ritual involving a mystical figure called Java Cow, with the head of a cow skull and coffee. Black coffee. The first theme camp was that year and it was a guy in a Santa suit with a Christmas tree giving out hot chocolate. The Man was laid down every day and pulled up by a rope at sunset every night, then the raising of the arms and lighting the neon were the beginning of the nightly festivities. The night of the burn we ran in circles and shouted all around the ashes of the Man for a bit, some people testing their newly discovered fire jumping skills (or not), and then all went as an oddly orderly group, from one burnable art piece to the next, for each burn, all in sequence in one night.
One evening the Mudwimmen were playing and one of their songs was “The Freako From Chico” and after the show an announcer made the announcement “I just want to thank everyone for coming out, and I wanted to thank all the people, who make the little holes in the ground, and you can put in your finger in the holes, and you can put in your hand, and you can put in your whole body, and your whole body comes up out of the desert, okaaaay?” I had to take a mental snapshot.
There was one neon art piece, some glowing tubes in an abstract pattern on the ground. There was one rave, which was a strobe light and two speakers and a turntable. A quiet minimalist rave. Or maybe it was just an art project. I was the only one dancing.
There were no roads or rules, no fence, no gate. Well there was a gate but you had to go out of your way to actually find it and go through it. People shot fireworks from the ground, and there were guns and exploding things. There was a drive by shooting range where you could shoot stuffed animals with a rifle from your car. It was a big issue whether to allow rules, such as no guns in camp or how fast you could drive in camp.
The three of us went back every year for many years, and in the early days we said there’s no way we will get away with this next year. This is the last year it will happen for sure.