Posts Tagged ‘Burning Man’

Music Festivals at the End of the Season

August 22, 2009


This weekend is Sunset Junction Street Festival. Two full days of music from local bands and others, most recognized nationally. And for the price of a $20 ticket per day. I can actually only go Saturday, as I have a class to attend in Santa Barbara on Sunday.

And next weekend, the weekend right before Burning Man starts, is Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco. For once, I will be utilizing my relatives for a place to stay, since they live a convenient distance to a BART station, and that way I don’t have to worry about expensive city parking. Turns out, a very similar line up of headlining bands will be playing the local music festival in San Diego, Street Scene, Friday and Saturday of the exact same weekend. The band I bought the Outside Lands ticket for, Modest Mouse, will be playing at both festivals, as will the Black Eyed Peas, Conor Oberst, and Trombone Shorty, among others. Huh, had I known that in advance, I could have just bought a ticket to San Diego’s Street Scene, seen Modest Mouse and not had to drive up to San Francisco at all. Oh well. By being in San Francisco, this still gives the last minute option of taking off for Burning Man, once Outside Lands is over. Of course, the fact the cousin I will be staying in the house of, always goes to Burning Man, might not have any impact on any last minute decisions at all…. Right.

The weekend following, the concluding weekend of Burning Man, when the Man burns on Saturday, and the Temples go ablaze on Sunday, is the weekend of Bumbershoot up in Seattle. Looky here, three days of not mere music, but ballet and comedy and S.E. Hinton, the young adult author, will be speaking and doing and performing…. And look, Modest Mouse, from nearby Issaquah, performing again. This time, in a headlining spot, like I believe they deserve. (Tenacious D is headlining at Outside Lands as replacement for Beastie Boys? They really have more draw than a 4:20 pm Sunday slot for Modest Mouse? Really?)  Bumbershoot tickets, $80 for three full days of fun. As of Saturday, the price just went up to $120. A bargain! And what is it about those folks up in Washington, those wise ones choosing three day weekends to hold music festivals, so no days of work need to be missed? Sasquatch in Quincy, WA on the Columbia Gorge starts the festivities in the NW, and Bumbershoot in Seattle, at the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, ends the summer on Labor Day weekend. I have never been to Bumbershoot. I shall one day, but probably not this year. Something about a low bank account balance, my same excuse for not having a 3x more expensive ticket to Burning Man….

And then, I found Modest Mouse playing four nights in a row at McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR. Oh, how I wish to go…..Will they play all their songs, given there is no reason to repeat? Whole albums in entirety, anything fun or special like that? It’s all the rage, these days.

Update to Previous Posts

May 13, 2009

So there are always a few things to follow up on from previous posts, and here are the ones pressing on my brain.

Still haven’t bought my ticket for Burning Man, but I had mentioned having found a bustier and tall boots to wear, should I go. Well, when deciding what to wear for the KCRW Radioactive dance across the park, through the tunnel and over the street, I tried them on. Neither fit! I was okay with the bustier, because there is a chance if I continue to lose weight, I might. But the boots! I could get my feet in fine, but could not finish zipping them up because my calves were “too large!” I do not have large calves. Not like professional weight lifter large calves, no. Nor professional bicyclist large calves. Just normal calves, in my mind. I’ve never had problems with pants being too tight on my calves, this is my proof I am normally proportioned in the calf area. But perhaps this was why there was a large pile of these boots available for cheap at Goodwill, because they did not fit normal anatomical proportions? And mind you, I got a size slightly larger than what actually fit my feet, because they are boots, and this way I could have a variety of stockings, socks, or pant legs inside, was my thinking. But alas. They now go in the give to Goodwill pile.

I’m having second thoughts about selling the car. I told the gentleman involved. He said, funnily enough, his problem was resolved, because once he told his partner of his plans, including parking said vehicle over in his neck of the woods, where there was free on-street parking, his boyfriend said to just borrow his car! So his stress about not having access to a vehicle was resolved by having a conversation, instigated by my offer to sell to him.

In the meantime, he told a neighbor friend of his about the car, and he too lives downtown, would have the same parking issues in owning it, and mentioned my neighborhood was only a subway ride away. So the new thought I am thinking about is, possible shared ownership, so I can gradually transition out of owning the car. I mean, I was planning on having the car so I could go from San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival straight to Burning Man. This would be a much easier solution to take a week’s supply of food and camping supplies with my own car already packed. That is, if I were going. And it being parked near me would make shared ownership a lot easier for me, you have to admit. So now I have someone new to have this conversation with. To say nothing of once I get back from this month long trip, I might need a car to easily get to job interviews. This could work.

Of course, true to perfect timing, the car has started flashing a red warning light that needs to be checked out, and I only have three days to make any necessary repairs. Isn’t that the way it usually goes?

And finally, on to concert news. The Austin Hostel I stayed at last year sent me an email reminding me to book my accomodations if I am planning on returning this year for Austin City Limit’s Music Festival, hands down one of the best organized festivals in the country, and ACL is the one fest that I have been hesitant about attending, only because the line up for headliners did not inspire me. I thought I had plenty of time to decide, I mean it isn’t until early October, and ticket sales for all the other festivals have been slow, as evidenced by extended deadlines past the originally stated offerings for options like layaway plans and such. Not even Coachella sold out this year, which it has sometimes in the past. No, not ACL. Apparently others agree it is the festival to be at, and the three day passes are already SOLD OUT! So much for waiting to decide later. Then again, I could always try to volunteer; since I am not inspired by the lineup, this would be a good year to make such a commitment, since I won’t really care if I miss anyone. Well, any of the headliners, at least. I could find some bands to be excited about that aren’t playing at any other festival I plan on attending. Because I of course already added the ACL lineup to my spreadsheet of comparative festival lineups… Just in case I decided to go.

Austin City Limits 2008

Austin City Limits 2008

Outside Lands Festival Dates Announced

March 7, 2009

Okay, so it happened earlier this week, I am remiss in my reporting duties. The dates only have been posted. No hint as to headliners or other acts. August 28th through 30th, 2009.

When I look at my calendar, my real one, the one that has music festivals and holidays and other important dates to me listed on it, I see it is exactly the same as it was last year. Weekend of music festival in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and then at midnight plus one minute, Burning Man gates officially open out in the desert north of Reno, in Black Rock City, Nevada. This is especially good for all those attendees to Burning Man who complain about the constant dance music only playing on the Playa. Get your fill of rock and indie and alternative musicians at Outside Lands, then hop in a car and head east when it is done. I have noticed with the advent of satellite radio, there is a little more variety in the music on the playa, but who really wants to be using the battery of their car for a week to power the satellite radio just to cover up what they don’t want to hear? I’d be worried about my car battery being dead at the end of the week. Besides, Burning Man has its own radio station broadcasting 24/7 that plays plenty that isn’t dance music. You can sit outside the radio station and listen for hours, they even put out couches and shade to accomodate listeners. Or the cafe, with its artists and musicians performing all hours of the event. Take your pick. There are other choices. Happy for me, I like dance music and rock and alternative and indie. It’s all good to me. And I always camp on the outskirts of Black Rock City, so I can sleep the night through without having to wear ear plugs to block the music and flame throwers and other festivities.

Anyway, all I’m saying, is with Outside Lands Festival and then Burning Man, that’s one long week of music and celebratory vibes in the San Francisco area. I’m so glad they did not schedule the one and the other to compete for the same weekend.

Outside Lands Festival 2008 Main Stage Area

Outside Lands Festival 2008 Main Stage Area

However, that being said, I don’t know what Outside Lands could possibly do to improve the venue. It is held in Golden Gate Park, so the landscaping is sort of non-negotiable. The festival was fine (except for the sound cutting out repeatedly when Radiohead played), and the stages were definitely far enough away from one another to have no sound bleed between artists, but the bottlenecks! Man, that was tough. There are three distinct stage areas, with two stages each, and food, atms, port-a-potties and other things, so each area is quite self sufficient. That was definitely nice and well thought out, but the entrances to each area were not designed for thousands of people to pass quickly from one area to another. They also involved inclines. So definitely not handicap friendly. The upshot was if you wanted to be front and center for a particular artist on a different stage in a different performance area, give yourself plenty of time to get hither and yon. Like, maybe even a half an hour!

Me, preferring to be in the back of a crowd and with plenty of room all around me, found the hills to be useful, as you could stand way in the back, above the crowd, and the sound still carries fine AND you can see the stage. Just remember to bring warmth with you, as the winds from the nearby ocean come up once the sun sets, and it gets chilly.

Oh, but I forgot. I still haven’t bought my ticket for Burning Man, so therefore I am officially still not going this year.

Yeah, right.

Preparing for Burning Man

February 24, 2009

And last week, unbeknownst to me, I began shopping for Burning Man. Interesting, since I don’t have a ticket for this year yet, and have promised myself not to buy one until I have a job and income again. And at that point, who is to say that my future employer might not be so keen on my being gone for a week come August/September, so better’d wait and ask them when negotiating being hired. But little did my shopping pay any attention to that logic.

I was at the Goodwill As-Is store, where all bad items go after not selling at the regular Goodwill stores. (I don’t know what happens to them after they don’t sell here. I believe they are shipped off to third world countries after this.) Things are laid out in bins, you pick and paw, stake out your territory and perusing pattern against the other shoppers who will poach your items if you leave them unattended. I walk in and there is a pile of silver boxes filled with boots. Brand new. Black. All man-made materials. I find my size. Good solid heel, no spikes or silliness to sink into dirt and dust, and nearly knee high. Perfect! And at $5, I will not care if the alkaline playa dust eats them alive. They will protect my feet from playa foot, and my legs from sunburn. Then I find myself a stash of ties. I have an acquaintence who has an artist friend who makes cell phone holders out of men’s ties, and I have been wanting to ask her if I pick out my tie pattern, perhaps the artist can make the holder for me? Or maybe I can figure it out myself. Maybe I can make a camera holder for myself then, as having a place to stash valuable objects out of any sudden dust storms is important at Burning Man. Next I come across some belts, and see a very cute cut-out belt with butterflies as the cut outs. I try it on over my clothes, and it is made for a much tinier waist, probably a girl’s, but the long thin strips extending past the butterflies makes it tie-able for a woman’s waist like mine. Black butteflies and black boots. I think I might be on to something. I found also a white bustier, a few silk scarves, some less bulky cargo shorts and skirts galore. I went in looking for skirts, since my staple black skirt no longer fits and meanders about my waist instead, and when next I have a job interview I want to look sharp, tailored and coiffed. So yes, while looking for more professional clothes in my size, for future jobs, I just so happened to purchase for a visit home to Burning Man. What of it? The two are not so contradictory, by any means.  And properly preparing for Burning Man is a round the calendar activity, believe it or not. The RVs in Reno are already all rented for that week, I can guarantee you. These days, they don’t even sell tickets at the gates any more, and you can’t get in without a ticket, so you are forced to plan ahead. No mere last minute spontaneity. Not to say you can’t get tickets at the last minute, since something always comes up for someone who had planned on going. Just it takes more forethought than just making the decision the week of.

So buying the right outfit in advance is a great thing, if one is planning on going. The weather being so unpredictable, it is best to have an entirely different set of clothes so if they are ruined by micro-fine dust that never seems to completely wash out, or blown away by random winds, or burnt or painted upon or lost, there is no terrible loss, only sacrifice to a great art and community experiment. And fire.

Fire, fire, burning bright, like a tiger in the night….

Temple Burn 2008, photo courtesy Neil B.

Temple Burn 2008, photo courtesy Neil B.