Pano Gallery 8: Playa Del Fuego, Spring 2011

by Andrew Looney, June 2011

This was my third time attending Playa Del Fuego (PDF) which is a regional festival similar to (but much smaller than) Burning Man. I like to say that PDF is to Burning Man what a Boy Scout Camporee is to the National Scout Jamboree. Anyway, here's a look at our camp:


Below are the 3 largest art structures which were burned at the spring event. I really liked the primary structure this time, which was a tower you could actually climb up into and hang out in until the next-to-last night of the event.

Here's the view from the top of the tower:

And here's that tower again, as it burned:

Burners are sort of like the hippies of the 21st century. They are an extremely diverse group of open-minded, freedom-loving weirdos who, among many other things, just like to watch stuff burn.

You might say they worship Fire itself. After all, Fire is vital to our very existence. From the fires we cook with to the fires that power our cities, we all depend on Fire.

Burners are also all about acceptence. Whatever you are into is cool, as long as you're doing it responsibly. Some burners like dressing up in crazy costumes, while others enjoy wearing nothing at all. Some like to drink, some like to take drugs, some just like dancing to the music.

Here's a glimpse of one of the many "theme camps," this one being called Strawberry Jam, a place for joining in the on-going musical jam, or just enjoying the groove thereof:

Here's a different type of Pano, covering a wide span of time instead of a wide image. I took this simply by keeping the camera pointed in the same direction for each image, instead of sweeping it from left to right. All over PDF you'd encounter amazing impromptu hula-hooping shows like this (sometimes involving flames instead of LED-lit hoops).

On the second-to-last night of the event, they burn the centerpiece (in this case, the tower). Then, on the final night, they burn all of the other installations, over the course of several hours. Here's a cool shot Kristin took showing several of the lingering bonfires burning at once:

Here's another time-lapse pano, showing a structure called the Beacon as it started to burn...

In some ways, my favorite installation was a smaller piece called the Animal Temple. Before it was burned on the final night, visitors were encouraged to write messages on its sides, to their beloved lost pets, which might somehow be conveyed to said animals in the great beyond when the piece became ashes. I wrote a message for Little Cat, and Alison wrote a note to Green Bean. I doubt many who participated really believed their pets would get the messages, but I think they all found it to be a cathartic experience.

A cluster of Furries in full costume turned out to watch the Animal Temple burn. I said to Kristin, "I don't know how they do it -- they must be melting inside those suits!" One of them overheard me, turned to us, nodded vigorously, and then went back to dancing.

PDF is held on a chunk of private land owned by a group of Vietnam War Veterans. We camped near the helicopter, which is a permanent installation. The angle it's set at is that of a helicopter lifting off, symboling Freedom and Deliverance.

Here's another view of our camp. Note the one-eye stuffed animal on the far right (the taller of the two). His name is Larry. He ran off and had some adventures on this trip, but returned safe and sound.

Here's one final image of a burning art installation. This was the pagoda-shaped structure, which was called Dreams & Demons:

Anyway, as usual PDF was a crazy-fun weekend, and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

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