(Renegade) Burning Man 2021
Many people asked me how it compared to other years, and honestly, it was apples to oranges; I can only compare by adding a lengthy description. This year was obviously unique as it was the second renegade burn, but it had grown significantly from the previous. Most of us didn’t really know what to expect, but making the drive and seeing the camps in the distance felt all too familiar and only brought back those chillingly good emotions from years past. For one, it felt much more free than the usual experience. There was no trash fence, no admission tickets, and no rules beyond basic safety with vehicles. We literally drove to Robot Heart before sunrise with the heat on in my car.. We laughed the whole way feeling like we just pulled up to the club.
On the other hand, I severly missed the large scale projects that the brilliant artists dedicate so much time and effort to create for us each year. Structures were sparse, and I found it more enjoyable to simply soak in the atmosphere of being on the playa connecting with fellow burners. It felt like what Burning Man should be. There was no hype of what was happening where, no overly produced sound stages, much less feeling of people being there for the image. It was really about being there because we love it and wouldn’t miss it for anything.
My usual camp of friends wasn’t attending this time around and so I thought it would be my lady and I having an adventure on our own. I was fortunate the week before to have reached out to Scott London (please check out his gallery from this year), who I’ve become good friends with over the years, and invited us to camp with him and his small group. It was so great to arrive and have a warm welcome from this new handful of people that we would be sharing our space with. Among this group was Duncan Rawlinson, who has also photographed Burning Man over the years and like all Canadians is absolutely the nicest guy.
I was only there for three days this time. I had good reasons, but I’ve never cut a burn week short, and don’t think I ever will again. All in all, it was great to be home on the playa. Whether it felt like the full experience or more of an appetizer, was fine with me, as long as I was getting a taste.
This guy in his Mustang above cracked us up. He was finding people on foot who needed rides and drove them to their destination. “When else am I going to get to drive my car out here!”