A Trip Around the World in Regional Burns and Events: 2020 Edition

In a year when many of us were unable to gather, Burners around the world rose to the occasion, devising (safely distanced) new ways to co-create, stay connected, and support one another. We’re here to celebrate and honor the beauty created by this incredible community within the uniquely challenging year of 2020. Thank you all for your contributions of creativity and mirth — here are just a handful of the moments in 2020 that made our Burner hearts glow. Wherever you are, please take care of each other and follow your local Covid-19 safety guidelines. Check out the Regional Network page for more info.

Reverse Parade (Vermont)

Burners in Vermont organized a Reverse Parade, encouraging folks to set off legal fireworks in their front yards along a parade route. Everyone was invited to drive by or watch and cheer from a safe distance.

Mission Veleta (Argentina)

Burners in Argentina created Mission Veleta, inviting those sheltering in place to post a wish that others could “adopt” to make that wish come true. Adoptable wishes included everything from singing a comforting song, to delivering a favorite food. Burners also made phone calls to elderly people living alone, breaking the isolation with support and friendly conversation.

Tahoe’s MOOP the Lake (California)

More than 50 Tahoe Burners, in collaboration with their local Burners Without Borders group, participated in MOOP the Lake, a cleanup effort to remove litter in the Lake Tahoe caused by a COVID-related spike in tourism. Small socially-distanced teams, dressed to delight and express themselves, collected more than 235 pounds of MOOP across 21 locations between September 8-10.

Tahoe event photos courtesy of Moop the Lake

Sacramento’s ‘MOOP Your City’ Trash Collection Challenge (California)

On August 29, Sacramento Burners and friends kicked off a MOOP Your City Trash Collection Challenge to make their community streets, parks and beaches cleaner. The challenge drew 15 teams (from Sacramento, Ventura, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Berlin) with 70 participants who collected 450 pounds of MOOP.

Sacramento Valley’s Summer Spark Drive Thru 2020 (California)

This summer, regional Burners attracted 900 cars to their COVID-safe drive-thru experience, which featured installation art, mutant vehicles and fiery dance performances. 

Art on Fire (Idaho)

Idaho Burner Alliance raised funds for artists and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline with an Art on Fire online art auction… with a twist: art that did not sell was burned in a LIVE streaming event.

Photo of auctioned art pieces courtesy of Idaho Art on Fire

South Bay Art Collective — Pocket Exhibit (California)

Undeterred by the lockdown, the Bay Area’s Triton Museum of Art created “pocket exhibitions” to share mini videos with friends, art lovers, and anyone who needs art in their life during quarantine.

Seattle’s “Halloweekend Art Jaunt” (Washington)

Over Halloween weekend, Seattle Burners led participants on a COVID-safe trek around city neighborhoods to admire lawn art created by the community. This art excursion built upon an August “Seattle Multiverse Actual Reality Trek” (SMART), which used an augmented digital map to bring people to locally-created and safely distanced performances, art and theme camp experiences.

Halloweekend photo courtesy of the Seattle multiverse

Burn Before Reading Online Magazine (Massachusetts)

A new Boston-based arts and literature journal created by and for the Burner community provides a space where Burners can publish their work and see what others have created. 

Burning Survivors TRY Day (Multi-Region)

Organized by Regional Contact alumna Cinemagirl (New York),  Burning Survivors invited cancer survivors and their loved ones to participate in a global “TRY Day” on August 16. Participants were encouraged to push their limits while raising money for cancer-related non-profit organizations. (A TRY is any physical feat you choose, train for, and push yourself to do.)

burning temple 1.jpg
Photo of Burning Survivors group in Black Rock City

CHIditarod BBQ Cart + Arts in the Dark Upside Down Parade (Illinois)

CHIditarod provided hundreds of pounds of BBQ and offered drive-by meals for folks in the Chicago area. Chicago Burners also held an ‘Arts in the Dark Upside Down Parade’ that invited anyone to drive by and experience performances by fire spinners, DJs, and more — all safe and socially distanced.

Amber Burn (Lithuania)

The Lithuanian Regional Burn, originally scheduled for July 2020, was postponed until August. All participants were required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked before being admitted to the event. No COVID cases were reported among the 777 Burners in attendance from more than 20 countries. Regional Burners in Lithuania also organized and held an Art Bike Invasion Workshop at the Zero Waste Festival on August 7-9.

Amber Burn was one of 11 in-person official Burning Man Regional Events in 2020. Seven were held before COVID-19 changed our world; four were held post COVID-19, following safety precautions in parts of the world where it was still possible to responsibly organize in-person gatherings.

Regional Burn and event photos courtesy of amberburn.lt
Art Bike Invasion workshop at the Zero Waste Festival (Photo courtesy of amberburn.lt)

AfrikaBurn’s eCOMPRESSION (South Africa)

Travis Lyle, Head of Communications for AfrikaBurn, shared an update on South Africa’s official online Regional Event, eCompression. “It was a great online session all in all and we saw a spread of very diverse contributions from the community, including some fantastic live African instrumental performances.” The event included 25 streamed performances, discussions, workshops, storytelling sessions, and artworks. Up to 1,100 unique visitors participated over the entire weekend of July 3-5, 2020. Fifty-five live-streamed and pre-recorded DJ performances came in from as far and wide as Germany and France, as well as from various corners of South Africa.

eCompression was one of 10 official Burning Man events that went online in 2020.

Streaming live from Johannesburg, artist Kuba Granicki offered a six-hour tour of the process and his piece, “The Phoenix of Hope”, culminating in its burn.

Klosterneuburn & Schönburn (Austria)

Thanks in part to the invention of the “Butt Hug” (seen in the instructional video below), 50 Burners were safely able to gather at Klosterneuburn in August, and 100 Burners attended Schönburn in September.

Burn Night: Live From Home (Multi-Region)

Shout out to everyone who submitted one-minute videos of their effigy burns, celebrations, and Regional Events as a part of our ’round-the-clock global Burn Night! Burn Night: Live From Home was a resounding success; more than 51,000 digital devices connected to the LIVE stream from around the world.

However you chose to stay connected while quarantining in 2020, we hope you are staying healthy and safe. Thank you to everyone who continues keep spirits lifted and the Burner flame alive!

About the author: Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.

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