A conversation about camera equipment turned into something more when we encountered a random LIB’er in a purple fuzzy coat. We had no idea this man would later become one of our closest festival friends throughout the weekend, but before all that we got some gritty man-on-the-street interview time in the bag. Our main question for him, as a Burning Man vet, was the prevalence of that culture he saw at LIB… and was he happy to see it?
Maybe this is just what I think festival culture looks like in general, but.. What percentage of this festival is “burner,” would you say?
Its tough to say, because the costumes and the music, 100%. But what Burning Man offers is a grandiose sense of family, the feeling where everyone there will give you the shirt off your back and vice versa, and I will say that’s kind of missing here. I’ve had some great conversations with people but there’s not the same sense of openness. So, it’s superficial in its similarities, but the depth is not the same. You go below the surface and it’s more a facsimile…?
I saw half the crowd around here wearing over $1000 worth of clothing that was really oriented around the whole desert steampunk look.
Burner culture has become that, I noticed that last year even at Burning Man. People spend several thousand dollars on what is ironically a counter-capitalistic intent. So, that’s self-defeating or radical self-expressionism, I’m not sure, but it’s costly.
Do you think there could be any evolution or any overlaps to where burner culture could become mainstream, or the mainstream will unfortunately tap into burner culture?
It’s interesting because as burner culture dominates the life of those who participate, I’ve seen more business pop up — business that are for burners, by burners — which, in a way, is great because you get a chance to be creative to support yourself doing something that you love that’s different…
…or run a costume store.
[Laughs] Or just run a costume store. And maybe that’s shallow, but it’s weird and cyclical as it becomes mainstream. People will slowly form large business, and pretty soon you’ll be able to buy tails at Wal-Mart.
Ooh, that just made me sad bro [Laughs]. Well, are you having a good weekend in general?
I am! I’ve only been here about five hours but I’ve met some great people, heard some great music and seen some bizarre things.
Same here. Well we hope to see you out there!
Thanks! Same to you!