Bringin’ It: Bonnaroo 2008

Bringin’ it to Tennessee
Grass-Roots Activism and Interactive Art at Bonnaroo

San Francisco, CA – June 3, 2008 – Like the Bat Signal flashing across the night sky of Gotham, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee (June 12-15, 2008) will be lit up with the call of Bring It! Conceived and developed to support and promote community and social activism, Bring It! will leverage the dedication and creativity of Burners Without Borders (BWB), the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), Earth Guardians/Leave No Trace (LNT), Black Rock Solar (BRS) and the Burning Man Regional Network. Setting up an interactive “theme camp” at the 90,000 person Bonnaroo event will engage and inform festival participants about the potential of grass-roots activism to improve their communities. By supporting these connections with nationwide, regional Bring It! events over the weekend of the summer solstice (June 21-22, 2008), participants, as well as friends, family and colleagues outside the existing Burning Man community will be engaged and empowered to bring change home.

Russ Bennett, Creative Director of the Bonnaroo event, visited Burning Man in 2004. Following the event he sought out members of BRAF in an effort to bring some of the flavor of Burning Man to the next Bonnaroo festival. They changed the name of their event to include the “Music and Arts Festival” moniker and worked to instill some of the artistic and environmentally conscious elements from Black Rock City and other inspirational events around the world. Part of that transformation (as it often does) involved fire, in this case personified by Burning Man fire and performing artist Charlie Smith. Charlie, a veteran Burner, agreed to bring some of his fire art and cabaret performers to the Bonnaroo event for the first time in 2005. For 2008, Charlie will be organizing the Art of Such N Such Theme Camp at Bonnaroo.

The Bring It! theme camp will be adjacent to the Art of Such N Such and the two camps will share art and support each other as an example of the spirit of cooperation and self-reliance that defines Burning Man participants. Additionally the Bring It! camp will engage Bonnaroo spectators with an eye towards turning them into participants. An abridged version of Putt-Putt Playa’s mini-golf course, a “Hug Deli,” solar activated games, a video screening area and other interactive elements will provide a platform for Bring It! staff to promote the solstice weekend events around the country and inform participants about the whens, wheres and hows of getting involved in their local community event. As with all Burning Man-inspired events, Bring It! organizers in the Burning Man Regional Network will be practicing the principle of Radical Inclusion and engaging anyone with skills to help create a successful event.

Visit and get yourself to your local solstice event with a talent to teach, an idea to improve, a petition to sign, paint to enliven, art to beautify, food to sustain, a joke to bring levity, whatever it is…Bring It!…And if you can’t make it that weekend (or you’re so inspired you want to do it again!) we encourage you to create your own local event; volunteer for an organization, clean up a park, teach people a new skill…just Bring It! Afterwards come back to the BWB site and witness the change you saw…tell us what you did, what you’d like to do and how the event and ideas inspired you!  [para_end]

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.