The original Burning Man festival drew some 50,000 people to a temporary, self-sufficient community in the Nevada desert a couple of weeks ago.
A local gathering based on the Burning Man concept was held in the Annandale area this weekend. Dozens of “burners” set up tents in a backyard for a weekend of camping, music, artistic expression, and a costume party. A highlight was a huge sit-down banquet under the stars.
“It’s all about the creation of a temporary society that’s based on trust, sharing, bartering, and gifting,” says a teacher from Alexandria who prefers to be known as D.
Simon, who works for an environmental nonprofit, brought fruit to share with his fellow campers. He notes that unconditional gifting is one of the 10 principles on which Burning Man is based.
The house where the gathering took place, known as Makepeace Manor, had been purchased and renovated by a burner and serves as home for a fluid community of people who have embraced the Burning Man lifestyle.
“We’re trying to pull together a community here. It’s an intentional society,” says Andrew, who lives in the burner house and writes about the Burning Man culture on his blog. He was wearing a “utilikilt” like those worn by “rangers,” the volunteer peacemakers at the main Burning Man.
|Andrew (left) with a fellow burner|
Noting that traditional family structures are breaking up and the nation is becoming increasingly polarized, Andrew says people are drawn to the Burning Man culture for the “sense of community.”