BY NILANKUR DAS
The latest scoop is that a whopping 70,000 Burning Man enthusiasts got themselves stranded in Nevada's Black Rock Desert due to a downpour.
For the people who are not reading the news - Burning Man is a week-long counterculture gathering in the middle of nowhere, on Lake Lahontan, a large barren lake or what used to be a lake before the Pleistocene Epoch decided to play a little climate change prank, a national conservation area.
This year the 35th Burning Man event took place from August 27 to September 4, and an estimated 73,000 people attended the festival.
These festival-goers (Burners) found themselves in a pickle when some heavy rain crashed their party on September 1. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning through September 4. Burning Man advised attendees that they should shelter in place and closed the front entrance.
More chaos has unfolded as the revellers had “lashed out” at each other as they faced eight-hour waits to leave. Celebrities, DJs and tech moguls decided to prove they're just like commoners by leaving on foot, marching to their private jets and limos.
Chris Rock and Diplo took a five-mile hike, and Diplo added an extra three-hour stroll for good measure, accompanied by some Hollywood pals. In contrast, here in Goa, even commoners roll around in tinted glass cars, and the rich generously pay in cash for any damages or fatalities – if they can be proven, of course.
You see, Goa knows how to treat its guests right. Take the Sunburn Festival, for instance. The festival-goers as well as the organisers are treated like VIPs. Burning Man may have its iconic Man to set on fire, but we do something similar here in Goa – metaphorically, of course.
We burn the aspirations of those pesky Andolanjivis who stir up trouble before Sunburn every year.
Burning Man's 2023 theme was "Animalia", celebrating the animal world and our place in it. Well, in Goa, we're equally passionate about our natural heritage and biodiversity. We're even working on creating a tiger reserve for our striped friends from Karnataka.
Sadly, Burning Man faced an unexpected roadblock this year when protesters demanded a ban on private planes, single-use plastics and reduced power usage. How unreasonable! They completely ignored one of Burning Man's 10 principles – radical self-reliance.
We, on the other hand, don't have such protests in Goa. We're too busy enjoying the good life. Two other principles of Burning Man are communal effort and civic responsibility. How noble.
Let's not forget the economics of it all. Festivals like Burning Man and Sunburn are a real morale boost for the wealthy. Burning Man's 73,000 attendees shelled out $575 each, and that money always trickles down to the less fortunate, right?
Also, the price of the highest-tier tickets is known as the FOMO option, the cheapest of which is $1,500. We need those rich tourists for our economy. We already have the new settler Tarun to do the massive bespoke stage designs to suit the needs of the ultra-rich.
Let us all collectively feel bad for the bad press this year’s Burning Man festival is getting. Who cares if they're single-handedly obliterating an entire dried-up lake ecosystem?
They gather for joy and harmony, not to mention their "aesthetic-only" sculptures. It's heartbreaking that they need helicopters and private jets to escape a bit of rain.
Apparently, nature doesn't appreciate good intentions. Goa, on the other hand, would never allow such a tragedy. Remember how we heroically put out forest fires with helicopter water sprays? Our care for nature is superlative, and this festival is a celebration of that, of self-reliance.
Goa is so much better suited for this hedonistic celebration of self-expression. We have vast lands in Mollem or in the Mona Plateau.
It's high time we bid farewell to the desolate, dusty Nevada desert and embrace Goa's lush, vibrant paradise for Burning Man. From breathtaking beaches and diverse cuisine to warm-hearted locals and boundless artistic inspiration, Goa has everything a Burner could dream of.
In Goa, the party never stops, thanks to our mild climate, lack of noise regulations, thriving nightlife and customised horse blinders.
Picture this: cooling off in the waves of "no selfie zones", sipping coconut water mixed with who-knows-what, and dancing to the jungle beats of a beachside DJ. Nevada's desert can't hold a candle to this level of chill.