I have been to a lot of parties and festivals in my life. A lot. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about what makes a good party. Last weekend at Burning Bush all my preconceived notions were blown out of the water. It was in a very small town, it had virtually no budget, and there was no music lineup, each act would just play “when it seemed right”. Since Drew was supposed to be playing live electronic music at the party, this last one was especially disconcerting. But Bruce, the party organizer, all around brilliant artist, and generally good guy, assured us that it had always “just worked out”. And it did. BEAUTIFULLY.
I heard Burning Bush being compared to a small Burning Man at least 20 times. In some ways it was, but not really. I love Burning Man for the harsh environment, the 50,000+ people, and the intensity of 24-hour visual, auditory and mental stimulation. Burning Bush did not have any of this going for it. The day was warm and the evening was mild – nothing of any extreme. There was about 1000 people – a fairly moderate sized party. And the music stopped at 2am – early for most music events. What Burning Bush did have going for it was sheer lawlessness. Around the perimeter were massive black powder and gasoline explosions forming giant mushroom clouds. Closer in was a ring of pterodactyl-like birds made from what looked like drift wood and whale bones – these were all interactive art pieces that you could climb into and make fly. They also shot fire from the beaks. There were people walking around with flame throwers setting wood piles and random cacti on fire, and 4-wheelers speeding through fire and jumping off the surrounding dunes. My all time favorite art piece of the night was a dome located right next to the stage. It expelled propane and fire, making intense scales of flame that morphed and changed as you lay underneath it. It mesmerized whole crowds with the chaos and movement of the fire. There are few things in life better than being completely absorbed in visual stimulation while listening to Drew playing mind-blowing techno until you can’t stand it anymore and you just have to get up and dance.
I may be overselling it a little, but honestly, when you consider the beautiful art, unpredictable fires, and magnificent explosions and then add in the can’t-help-but-dance techno that Drew was playing, I have to put it into the category of “great parties”. I’m so happy that I was able to share such a fun night with our friends Mike, Nia and Dan. If you want to hear about it from someone else, Nia wrote a great description of Burning Bush over at her blog Uncensored Restraint.