The work was hot and dry and dusty and hard, but at the end of the day, there was an awful lot to show for it. ….
There were actually about five miles of fence to show for it. And the rest of the fence was going to be finished on Saturday. That’ll be NINE miles of fence built in two days!
If you haven’t heard already, the Burning Man footprint is a lot larger this year. In the past several years, the circumference of the perimeter fence was six miles. But now, as a crowd in excess of 40,000 is expected, everything has been pushed out — the Esplanade, the area around center camp, and the fence. So everyone will have more room, but it also means that everything is further apart. So you might want to make sure there’s air in your bike tires, because you’re definitely going to need it.
The fence build is an amazing thing to behold. Everyone meets for a 6 am breakfast at Bruno’s, and Logan gives the rundown for the day: “Who wants to pound some fence??!!” he yells, and there are whoops and hollers throughout the room.
And he’s not kidding when he says “pound.” All of the metal stakes that are driven into the hard-baked playa are pounded by hand. Burning Man LLC could no doubt rent a pole-pounder, but the DPW crew won’t hear of it. Getting out there at the crack of dawn and smashing those stakes into the ground by hand is a point of pride. You crank the music, splash yourself with sunblock, tape up your hands and put on your gloves and get to pounding.
A big semi loaded with stakes makes its way around the playa, with a crew in the back tossing stakes to the ground. Then the pounders come along and do their thing. Then another crew follows, and they tie three levels of string between the stakes. Finally, another crew comes up and attaches the familiar orange mesh fence. And they do it hour after hour in the hot baking sun.