The Burning Man of Europe is a Trip : Nowhere
If you live in San Francisco, chances are that you’ve heard of the Burning Man festival. If you haven’t been, chances are that, come August, you take a sabbatical from social media and stop talking to half the city to avoid hearing the word “dust” too many times. If you have been, you are probably currently freaking out either from excitement or from stress at the prospect of that one week in August.
First off, let me clarify – this is not about Burning Man. But it’s close.
If by some snafu you haven’t heard about Burning Man, here’s a quick explanation. Burning Man, as featured on Malcolm in the Middle and The Simpsons, is a week-long festival in the Nevada desert, centered on art and survivalist camping. It’s hippie-like, but not only hippies go there. It has music, but no-one goes there to hear big names. Yes, it has drugs and sex, but it would be ridiculous to take that much time off and to spend that much money only to get laid and turnt.
The best way that I can explain it is to invite you to imagine an ephemeral city built out of post-apocalyptic tents, structures, domes, and enormous sculptures in the unforgiving hot desert dust, which at night lights up like a hallucinogenic, futuristic, neon and fire interactive Las Vegas theme park. Think of the best, weirdest adventure you’ve ever had, and repeat it for seven nights. Everything is given and nothing is sold, so there’s no economic stress, and it’s built around acceptance and lack of shame. Beyond the unfortunate prerequisite of having to have dolla dolla bills to buy your ticket, all kinds of people attend. You can like guns, hate the government and be searching for anarchy; conversely, you can like patchouli, hate technology, and be searching for spirituality; you, and everyone in between is welcome.
This article, however, is not about Burning Man (…and a collective sigh of relief washes over the Bay Area). It’s about a place called Nowhere.
It stands to reason that many regional and national “Burns” would pop up all over the world, either in an effort to recreate the original, or as a collective search for whatever-the-hell Burning Man is.
Nowhere takes place in the Castejon de Monegros desert, in the North of Spain. It was started by UK burners, who originally started it all by hosting a large decompression party in 2002. By 2004, it had more or less evolved into the festival it is now. Like Burning Man, camps are often themed (except they’re called Barrios); for example, the central camp is called Middle of Nowhere, which hosts workshops and activities. Nowhere is, for all intents and purposes, the “European Burning Man.” However, unlike Burning Man, the festival is more or less in its unadulterated form. That is to say, no money disputes, no bitterness between old partners, no spots on TV shows, no jaded participants, no P Diddies (and no Puff Daddies either – or, in Spanish, Poof Padre).
Anyways, both me and this dude-with-an-incredibly-cool-name Haroon Chowdry went, and we want to show you what it was like. If you take one thing away from all of this, let it be just one thing: get your ass to Nowhere; we’ll be waiting for you with some Nutella crêpes, a cold Belgian beer, and some good European dancin’ tunes.