Bush Surgery and Burning Seeds … Australia’s answer to Burning Man

Around the festivalI have yet to put finger to keyboard for my story about Burning Man this year other than the article the ABC picked up of the adventure I had with a luxury 5 course meal in a desert, however right now Burning Seed is fresh in my mind so I’m going to write about that.

Burning Seed is the Australian equivalent of Burning Man but a seed event. In other words it helps people understand the principles of the event without having to travel all the way to the US. First thing I’d say is that nothing I know is as good as Burning Man, although the Woodford Folk Festival has attributes which are similar.

Chilling at camp

Chilling at camp

Burning Seed took place in Matong National Park in Australia about 5 hours west of Sydney and was a fantastic experience. I only managed to get down there for the last 3 days, however that was ample to get in to the vibe.

There was certainly a Burning Man feel, but with only 1,500 people compared to 68,000 I’m sure you can understand that they’re not in the same ballpark.

I went to bed after work on the Thursday and at 1.30am the next day I started my trip. Driving via Bathurst, I took an extra 4 hours to get there with my driving time being around 8 hours.

When I arrived, I was welcomed warmheartedly and joined the Dirty Birds camp. I can’t stress how much the welcoming of Lost (aka Jack) helped me connect and after setting up my mini camp in the 4×4 I was using, I made my way into the thick of it.

At the Trash Mansion

At the Trash Mansion

It was at the Trash Mansion I started to kick things off and after a few cold drinks and cocktails, compliments of the people running the camp, I was dancing away to funky tunes and meeting amazing people. It was here I made a friend and we ended up wandering around and visiting the tea cave and other venues chatting to interesting people on our journey. It was freezing cold and the blanket I brought provided warmth to 4 of us as we huddled with our cups of steaming tea.

At the Saloon

At the Saloon

In Burning Man style, during the early hours I set up a coffee spot and provided coffee and creamed rice to anyone who was still awake before having breakfast wraps back at Dirty Birds and grabbing a couple of hours shut eye. I awoke at 1.30pm and prepared myself in a funky little outfit and grabbed my bottle of whiskey to join the Whiskey and Poker session at the Saloon.

Technicolour bush surgery

Technicolour bush surgery

This was my favourite camp at the event and was set up like a full saloon with a bar, pianola (self playing piano) and barber’s chair for anyone who fancied a haircut. We got in to the poker before attention was drawn to the young lady who was having surgery on her finger as we played.

 

Wanted !

Wanted !

She’d cut her finger in a blender earlier and fortunately her boyfriend was a doctor and capable of performing the operation she required. It was amazing to see and quite an incredible experience for us all. We did of course provide her with shots of whiskey to help dull the pain as he operated!

I was fortunate to meet an amazing pair or sisters who I ended up spending the rest of the evening with.

Awesome team with platter and sangria

Awesome team with platter and sangria

We prepared a massive platter of delights which wandered around and offered this to people as the sun set with glasses of our home made sangria. Dancing and massive frivolity ensued till the next day when they drove home as they lived locally and I continued my adventures back at Dirty Birds where I prepared 7 small glass bottles with ashes from the Burning Man with personalised calligraphy labels.

I met with friends in the afternoon and played golf and boules at the Country Club whilst I watched beautiful people dancing and hula hooping as well as playing with other movement toys.

Day toys

Day toys

I had a chance encounter with a very generous friend who gave me some drinks to help prepare for the evening ahead. I watched the burning of the temple and connected with myself and others as the flames licked the wooden structure – it really was an amazing experience and quite spiritual for me.

Crazy Golf !

Crazy Golf !

That evening I was fortunate to connect with a lovely couple. She was an actress and he a magician. We chatted ad infinitum and found ourselves back at the saloon where I made the mistake of having a shot whilst leaning backwards over the bar – something I’ll be sure to be extremely aware of in future as I ended up inhaling the home made whiskey which is something I don’t intend to repeat!

I finally ended up going to bed that morning around 5 am after two days of amazing adventures and surprisingly I wasn’t feeling too fatigued despite the wine and other drinks I’d had.

Afternoon at the Country Club

Afternoon at the Country Club

Monday morning I ended up chatting to new friends, laughing a lot and generally enjoying the morning with all those who remained. I gave away a range of food, clothes and other items I’d brought for the event and then was treated to great conversation and an early dinner at Jess’s in a nearby town (she was one of the sister’s I met a few days previous) before the long drive home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the long drive home which included a couple of stops where I simply pulled the duvet over me from the back when I was parked up in Dubbo and grabbed some shut eye as I knew I was sleepy and not fit for driving. Some sleep, lots of water and the occasional energy drink lead me home safely after an amazing few days away.

Thanks Burning Man for having Burning Seeds … I’ll be back!

4 Comments to “Bush Surgery and Burning Seeds … Australia’s answer to Burning Man”

  1. By Walter, October 14, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    David, I’ve heard there’s as many different experiences of BM as there are participants – people trying to change the world, party goers, hallucogenists, ecologists, exhibitionists. Although I’ve never attended BM, I have worked and played at many a WFF -in my experiences the festival can be a wonderful celebration of life through music, art, dance and creative performance. The magic comes from the total acceptance of everyone there in a purely natural way – children, the elderly , the beautiful, the hippies, the mainstream , whatever, we are all equal. In my experience the things that can bring down this vibe are alcohol and drugs. The bars serve to folk who want to disconnect from themselves and therefore those around them. The drugs create clusters of like minded people who can become insular and separatist. To be high on life and connected with everyone around us is one of life’s greatest privileges and I sense a great loss of opportunity when festivall goers celebrate booze or drugs. Maybe this is due to youth and experimentation. I believe the elders have lead by example on how to be clear of mind and purpose and portal to access for of mankind and nature

  2. By David, October 14, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Hi Walt,

    Firstly, thank you so much for you comment. You consistently respond and take part in discussions and I honour and respect your willingness to share your opinions and ideas.

    Personally I do find your comments here slightly contradictory though as you mention that the wonder of the celebration comes from the ‘total acceptance of everyone there in a purely natural way’ yet you judge those who choose to consume drugs or alcohol as somehow separating themselves from the experience of the event.

    From what I’ve seen, there are people at these events who find that having drugs in their system is a natural part of their experience.

    Remember, drugs cover a range of substances from natural through to chemical, crude (tobacco or marijuana) through to refined (alcohol), powerfully altering (LSD) through to moderately simulating (caffeine or vitamins). In addition, a range of these drugs tend to help people loosen up some of their self judgement and make them more connected, laugh more and connect to those on the same or different vibes.

    You do have a very valid point though: Comparing the two events of Burning Man USA and Burning Seed Australia, the key difference I experienced which I was disappointed with, was the fact that of the 68,000 people I met over the 11 days I spent at the USA event, I don’t think I came across a single person who was unable to hold an interesting conversation or at a minimum a coherent conversation. Perhaps due to the relationship Australians have with alcohol (and of course I don’t mean all Australians but I’m talking as a general societal perspective), I was sorely disappointed to find that from around midnight, there were quite a number of people I could no longer have a conversation with as they were so drunk. In fact, my horrible experience of agreeing to having a shot whilst leaning backwards over the bar and inhaling homebrew whiskey was an attempt I took to connect with one of the guys who I had previously been able to chat with was alcohol fueled.

    All in all, I think that excessive behaviour, whether that be drugs, alcohol, opinions, food or even focusing completely on children and neglecting friends and others who want to connect, can take someone away from the core of what these events are about … however that is completely at the discretion of the person doing it and of us as adults to respect and either embrace or separate ourselves from these experiences.

    I’ll get off my high horse now … thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

  3. By Roger Essig, October 14, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

    Great write up and photos David, It was fantastic to meet you at Burning Seed. You were very open, friendly and generous and I observed and learnt by hanging out with you and the sisters for the limited time that I did. In response to the above comments, I didn’t notice anyone ‘wasting their consciousness’ (excessively drunk or drugged)’.. I’m sure there was a few people… i just didn’t come across any.

    I wonder if that’s what people have issue with.. People Wasting a pocket of their existence with a lack of clarity of awareness. You could easily say, anyone that is disapproving of the excessive inebriated state of consciousness yet does not do lucid dreaming is equally wasting the possibility of clarity of awareness while they are sleeping, by not having lucid dreams. fun thoughts, fun things to think about.. different angles and viewpoints! cheers!

  4. By David, October 15, 2013 @ 5:51 am

    Thanks Roger. I’m glad you didn’t meet anyone too drunk to converse with. I have to be aware that I love stimulating conversation so that may have only been my experience as I may have been trying to have in depth conversations when it wasn’t the environment to.

    Great to connect at Burning Seed and for those who would like an animated experience of the event, here’s a great clip Roger put together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7nNvhoSNks&feature=youtu.be

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