What is a Burn?


Burns are community camping events held all around the world that build on the energy of Burning Man, a weeklong art festival held in the Black Rock desert of Nevada at the end of every summer. 

Each burn is a unique temporary city, built by the participants for a short amount of time and then disassembled again. For Alchemy, our city will last just four short days. Some structures are erected before the event, port-o-potties, for example, and maybe a Center Camp area to be a hub throughout the event. Everything else is built by the participants once the event gets started and taken home with them when they leave.

Theme Camps and art installations are integral to a burn. Groups of people collaborate to camp together and build on a theme to offer something to the community at large - art, classes, performance, or just a chill space to hang out. Many people also camp alone and find other ways to participate in the burn.

Ah, participation - you'll hear that word a lot! Burns are about getting involved and bringing your own expressions and abilities into the mix. Through costumes, performances, joining in activities, gifting, contributing to work efforts or great conversation, everyone finds a way to participate. There is no "main performance stage" nor are there booked artists or performers. Think of the event as an empty canvas. It's up to each person to participate and paint it!

And then there's setting stuff on fire. It couldn't be a burn without burning a few things, right? You'll see that fire arts are a big component of a burn. If you can imagine a way to perform with something on fire, you'll probably see it at a burn. Then, near the end of the burn, there's the main burn - a ritualistic burning of a large artistic structure, which has different meanings to different people.

Burning Man operates on ten guiding principles, and these principles govern local burns, including Alchemy, as well.

If all in all, this sounds like your kind of event, keep reading, and then get yourself an invitation! Remember, once you get here, you are the event. Who knows what a burn is like until you get here and change it by adding your own awesome efforts and radical expression!  

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