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Burning Man 2015: What Dance Music Zone?

Burning Man 2015
Photo: Nick Franchi

Leading up to the events taking place in the magical setting of the Nevada desert, Burning Man 2015 received a lot of non-music related press involving bug infestations, permit issues and the possibility of raising ticket prices for next year due to a new “entertainment tax” the state of Nevada just implemented amongst others. Of the few music related topics that did surface beforehand, the most pressing and discussed issue was the Dance Music Zone (“DMZ”) that had been created by BMHQ to help quell some of the complaints of the increasing amount of DJs and amplified soundcamps/art cars over recent years. While in the beginning, this was taken as an attack on the dance music community, the Burning Man team quickly squashed any apparent bias perceived by the general public about their stance on dance music.

 

Jamie Jones, an hour into his back to back set with Dyed Soundorom, following yours truly, at White Ocean.Playa sunrise, stunning.

Posted by YokoO on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

“…there is no grand conspiracy to ban, marginalize or sideline EDM at Burning Man. EDM is an art form, its community has made valuable contributions for many years to the rich cultural fabric of Burning Man, and we like it that way. It just so happens that this year, we’re finding ourselves forced to make decisions about issues ranging from sound policies to public safety to Decommodification — even Leave No Trace. None of this is even about a particular kind of sound. If people were blasting bluegrass or smooth jazz or (insert your favorite music here), all of the decisions would be the same.”

In my humble opinion, not much changed. With every passing year, no two instances of Burning Man are alike. The zone, extending a mile out from The Man has been implemented for a “better experience” didn’t affect the overall flow of the festival. Activities went on as planned safe a few cancellations due to the dust. Big surprise? There was still dance music of every flavor being played to all hours of the day and night.

Photo: Nick Franchi

Soundcamps such as Distrikt, Pink Mammoth and White Ocean, slated in the masses, were usually done by 9p while art cars driving from one end of the playa to the other made up a flurry of lights that mixed in with astonishing sculptures and other art pieces that litter the surrounding areas of The Man.

Mutant vehicles like the Robot Heart Bus and Mayan Warrior, obviously the bigger fish were camped out farther in the zone for hours at a time featuring artists such as Maceo Plex, Seth Troxler, HOJ and Diplo among a host of other notables. One thing to be noted was the curve of flashing lights lining deep playa this year. Cool looking at night but it marked the edge of inner playa, making the chase of not knowing exactly how far your destination is seemingly disappear.

 

 

This is the first Robot Heart set released from this year’s Burn.

From someone who has been the past couple of years, Burning Man is a lot more than just a festival. There were so many DJs that I missed out on, but the ones I did manage to see, Worthy, Maxxi Soundsystem, Tycho, Atish, the Desert Hearts crew, Lee Burridge, whom just had a Burning Man inspired Essential Mix while at the festival, and a few other musical offerings I passed by like a live jazz ensemble at 1am Thursday morning or a live recording of an old Grateful Dead show while enjoying a beverage, helped to shape my unique experience. Music is just a sliver of the activities that present themselves while roaming around on the playa, and is always a huge experiment with revolving ideas that change every given year. Read the 10 principles. Become familiar with them and if the ideals tickle your fancy, take a step into widening your world view. This is so much more than an official recap and leans farther towards my perspective of what was happening through my eyes on a specific issue (the DMZ) that was blown way out of proportion.

Lee Burridge’s Burning Man Inspired Essential Mix

Photos via: Nick Franchi

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