BM 2012 Review & What’s next for Opulent Temple?

We just recently finished up an epic 10 year anniversary camp this past summer at Burning Man. As intended, it was our biggest and best camp to date, with every night telling its own awesome musical story and containing it’s own unique vibe.

Monday was the residents night where we celebrated being farther along in the camp build than ever before (despite having more to do than ever before). Tuesday will be remembered for Aphrodite’s slaying set of drum n bass that thundered across the playa. Wednesday was beautiful madness as DJ Dan and Felguk rocked our biggest ‘white party’ ever. At Thursday’s legendary sets from Stanton Warriors and Elite Force, our flame throwers were accentuated by some random desert rain showers. Friday night was purely surreal as Carl Cox played to a packed dance floor in the middle of a zero visibility dust storm that did nothing to phase the crowd as Christopher Lawrence kept them right there when he followed up. Saturday we brought it home with a classic Scumfrog set, an unabashedly rocking set from Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and of course from the A game from residents, including an appropriately beautiful closing sunrise set from co-founder Syd Gris.

So how to follow all that up? With a well deserved break.

If you’re reading this you likely know, to show up and put on the scale of production that we have at BM for 10 straight years is a tremendous output of time, energy and money. We have done it because we love the collaborative process of building something together just as much as we love the final result of that certain kind of magic that happens on the dance floor bathed in big sound and fire. That said, it’s also very tiring, more so the constant fundraising to raise the 50-70k a year to fund it, than the actual build and take down during that week (which is exhausting as well but we have an awesome team). There’s a reason most sound collectives have a relatively short shelf life at BM that can’t fund themselves through benefactors, etc (which we don’t have, but if you know any millionaire fans of OT, send them our way).

We’ve been asked if our break is for ‘political reasons’ related to the BM org. Not really. We enjoy a good relationship with the org, and have great respect for the event they’ve created where there’s an opportunity for this amazing and creative community to fill it. We know there’s individuals within the BM org who totally get the contribution the music communities make to the event (and ticket sales). Sadly though, as far as policy goes, they have not evolved with the event and that is disappointing and disheartening. The fact that theme camps like ours, who make and fabricate original art pieces all the time to accentuate our camp, can’t apply for an art grant, and have it be chosen for funding based on the same merits as other art is at BM, is ridiculous in my opinion (ie, Syd, I’m sure I speak for most of the camp, but don’t want to assume all).

There’s any number of small gestures the org could do to make our life easier to come do what we do and make the event awesome, and fact they don’t certainly adds to the fatigue factor, but it’s not the main reason we’re taking a break. It is a factor that regardless of what happens w OT, we hope changes.

For the moment we’re fully engaged and juiced to continue to throw great events all over the map that will continue to be 100% fundraisers for the camp’s efforts and future projects. Unlike some former playa based collectives who have monetized their efforts and become commercial promoters using their still non-commercial Burning Man related banner, our events will continue to be non-profit and invested back into the camp for future fun. We’ll be looking to bring our brand of joy to other settings where’s there’s opportunities for music, dance and community to be had.

Keep in touch here, on Facebook, on our e mail list, etc to see what we’re up to. See you on the dance floor.

photo courtesy of Darrin Harris Frisby


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