Congratulations on getting a cherished ticket for Burning Nest! You are now an aspiring Burner, and your apprenticeship begins in earnest! Why? Because a Burn is not a festival. Not even close. It’s something else entirely, not easily conveyable in words, but until you’ve been through the experience of one, that’s all we’ve got to get you up to speed on what it is you’ve signed up for….so here goes!
A Burn is a collective endeavour. It’s not a few people organising in order to make a profit. It’s a communal effort. We all put in. (That now includes you! Hurrah!) And nobody makes a profit. Nobody even gets paid for their time to ‘break even’! Just let that sink in….a massive, brilliant fun event and no-one is monetising it! Not even a little bit. Totally wild! It’s two of the 11 Principles of Burning Man
in action: GIFTING and NON-COMMERCIALISATION/
How we contribute to Nest varies widely, but if no-one does, we are a thousand people standing around in a field. Not cool. If everyone does, however, we have the majestic, unbelievable spectacle that is a Burn. You can gift anything and everything. Your time is a gift. As are your skills. Your generosity with material things is key too, come event time, but the former you can start to employ from right this moment, now you’re a part of the Burner Community! (you bought a ticket, you’re in!). Here’s a general overview
of how you can get involved in helping Nest become a reality in May – even as a new Burner!
Remember, we do all this stuff ourselves so we don’t have to pay ‘outsiders’ to do it for us, thereby increasing the costs and adding in a non-gifting ethos. Help us bring this revolutionary concept to fruition by signing up freely and willingly and get into the spirit of Nest from the get go
What is there to actually do at Nest?
Nothing, unless you bring it! That’s right, no main stage with big names and their entourages, no sponsored beer tents. No paid performers, no guest list, no freebies, no ‘volunteers’ working in exchange for a ticket. None of that. Gasp!
See why we’re saying it’s nothing like anything you’ve ever been to before?!
We are the entertainment.
You are! Individually and collectively, we think of ways to bring life to the Glade (our term for the playing field upon which Nest unfolds, down Exeter way) and organise our creativity to gift experiences to each other. You are invited to share your passions and skills
and offer something!
Collectively, this takes the form of Theme Camps. Groups of people collaborating to bring a physical structure to Nest in which we are all welcome during the week. It could be a dance tent, a tea and cuddles zone, a bar, a conversation cafe, a hot dog stand with bells on, an interactive art installation, a weird and wonderful… something….your imagination is your only limit! Get a group of friends together and brainstorm ideas “What could we create to take down there?”
A daunting ask for the first timer, we know, as you’ve no frame of reference for what we’re talking about, but just know that you are not excluded from doing this just because you are new!
Individually, gifting can take the form of bringing a piece of art
, or even dressing the part
. Another of the 11 Principles is RADICAL FREE EXPRESSION. You’ve all seen the pictures! Civvies is not where it’s at at a Burn! Dressing up is! Several times a day! Get down the charity shops now and start collating your wardrobe for a week of wonderful wackiness!
Other individual gifting options are things you can handout as you walk around, food or drink items, stickers, badges, tissues, lighters, random surprises, again, get creative…there really is no limit!
Another massive difference between a Burn and a festival is the Principle of LEAVE NO TRACE
. We literally do do this. Apart from some yellow grass where tents have been, you cannot tell we were there. We pick everything up and clean up after ourselves. ALL OF US! Not just a few volunteers who stay behind at the end. Each and every one of us, from minute one until we leave. It’s collective responsibility manifested by the individuals. We don’t make a mess. If we do, we take responsibility for Leaving No Trace (LNT). It’s a culture shift. No wading knee deep through plastic, cans, bottles etc on your way out like at Glastonbury or wherever. Nope. Spotless clean fields, just like we found them. That’s what Burners do.
This philosophy has further communal benefits, as it extends to how we keep our toilets. No ghastly or grotesque experiences on that front. It’s all extremely pleasant and civilised thanks to the 100% buy-in to LNT. Got it?! Great.
I’m sure in the deep dark recesses of all our phones we have voluminous evidence of past festival attendance. A gazillion pics and vids that state “I was there”. It’s become not only standard, but kind of compulsory. “Record everything that moves, and most of what doesn’t!” At Nest, we AGAIN invite a totally different ethic from the default model. We believe people have the right to let their hair down, engage with the concept of radical free expression however they see fit, go wild, get crazy, get naked, get spangled, be silly or embarrassing….whatever…WITHOUT being live streamed on the internet, or plastered over whatever social media you (not they!) choose. Nest continues to be one of the very few public spaces on the planet NOT plagued by an army of voyeurs videoing and interrupting whatever is happening to organise selfies etc and we want it to continue as such.
The Principles of IMMEDIACY and PARTICIPATION are simply not compatible with using your phone on auto pilot as in daily life. You remain a spectator, uninvolved, on the outside. Switch it off, leave it in your tent or vehicle, join in and be present instead. Talk to people. Have a go at whatever is being offered. Get involved. Be a Burner. You’ll be delighted with just how different the experience is. Promise…
These words are part of the Principle of EACH ONE TEACH ONE. This year’s Burning Nest will be twice as big as two years ago. It’s growing rapidly. We need everyone on the same page as quickly as possible to absorb the culture of a Burn
and to fully engage with the Principles
, or we run the risk of losing what is so precious and unique about them, and it becomes “just another festival”. Burns are not for everyone and not everyone is a Burner. We sincerely hope that you are and warmly welcome you to our extensive global tribe. Spend plenty of time on the website between now and May 22nd and get as familiar and comfortable as you can with all things Burning Nest. Volunteer
, get inspired and enjoy your preparations for the most jaw-dropping week of your lives! Probably.
See you in the Glade!