Joe: Hey, Terence, so how’d you spend your Labor Day weekend?
Terence: Um, I spent my Labor Day weekend not doing anything except wishing I was at Burning Man. I had, uh, plans to go but they fell through.
Joe: Oh, man, that sucks, because I know that, uh, you’ve really enjoyed it in the past.
Terence: Yeah, I’ve, I’ve… As you know, I’ve gone quite a few years in a row. But this year I couldn’t make it. Um, y’know, but I guess that the, the saving grace about it is that I’m not in the heat. And I really can’t stand the dust.
Joe: Oh yeah? I know. I hear that the heat and the dust can be overwhelming. I’ve had some friends who have gone in the past years and they didn’t prepare enough. And they said they were in over their heads.
Terence: Oh yeah, yeah, it’s definitely the kind of thing that, um, it helps to know what you’re getting into with the conditions and just what to expect. Because no amount of description can really, really help with what you’re gonna experience.
Joe: Yeah. I was talking with a friend of mine who lives in Canada and I mentioned Burning Man and he’d never heard it. And he was like, “Well, y’know, what’s it about?” And he wanted me to describe it. And I realized that, y’know, I wasn’t really… I’m not really able to describe it to him because I’ve never been.
Terence: Yeah, um, it’s, it’s one of those things, it’s kind of hard to describe. I mean the first time you go you really can’t… you really can’t believe your eyes. What you see, I mean just all the people and all the effort they put into it, all the creativity. It’s really something to behold.
Joe: So, um, how would you describe it though, like…
Terence: I would describe it just as a, just really large festival where basically anything goes. Anything you wanna do is accepted. Um, any way you wanna express yourself, it’s okay, whether it’s how you dress, what you say, um, the kind of music you wanna play, anything.
Joe: Yeah, I’ve heard there’s some pretty wild outfits. People just dress up as, uh, crazy as they possibly can.
Terence: Yeah, you never kn-, you never know what people are gonna do, um, I’m, I, I never cease to be amazed with what’s gonna, I’m gonna see there.
Joe: [laugh] Nice, that’s great. How long…
Joe: …is it, uh, oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Terence: Y’know, but, y’know, like I said, it’s, it’s, I’ve gone five years and the, the process of going does get a little old. I mean the first time I went, y’know, I definitely was, um, had that first time blown away feeling…
Terence: …but, y’know, then after a while, you, subsequent years, y’know, it’s not quite as, as exciting and fresh. So you start to maybe focus a little more on some of the, um, discomforts. Y’know, you, you have no creature comforts when you’re there.
Joe: Yeah, and the traffic’s out of hand, too. I hear you end up sitting in like traffic jams for hours.
Terence: You can. You can. Especially, y’know, towards the end of the week when everybody’s in a rush to get there, it, it’s absolutely can be that way…
Joe: What were…
Terence: …but then, y’know…go ahead.
Joe: When do people start getting there?
Terence: Um, some people go as early as a week before. I mean they really wanna, they really wanna get there and maximize their time.
Terence: You, you can be up there basically, um, for, uh, nine days, if you…
Joe: Is that like people who wanna build like structures and stuff?
Terence: Yeah, definitely, there’s some people who can actually go even before it starts and you can, y’know, if you’re building a special art project, you could get there as early as a month beforehand. But the maj-, y’know, people that are there setting up big camps they, they tend to get there, um, probably like nine days beforehand.
Joe: It sounds like it’s just like a really art-, uh, artistic event, like where everyone just trying to express themselves and their artistic sides and showing off their art and stuff and just acting a little crazy.
Terence: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s definitely an environment where, it’s, and the fact that it’s in the desert, um, you, it just adds to the just surreal atmosphere of it. I mean you’re there and you might as well be on the moon, with a…
Terence: …with the costumes and people just totally trick out their cars.
Joe: Yeah. And then, eh, what do they do at the end? Like, I know they burn something. But I’m not even sure what it is. Because, like I said, I’ve never been there.
Terence: Yeah, it’s kind of this… It’s kind of the culmination of the event, um. It’s why it’s called Burning man. They, there’s this giant man that’s basically burned. I mean he, y’know, it’s kind of this tribal festival that, um, reaches a fever pitch. Lots of fire dancers, uh, people just basically going crazy.
Joe: What’s the man made out of?
Terence: Made of wood.
Joe: Oh, okay.
Terence: He’s made of wood. And there’s, and then there’s definitely some neon light on him ‘coz when you… The event is kind of surrounding a middle area and the man is in the middle. And that Saturday night, which is on Labor Day weekend, pretty much the entire place kind of just surrounds it and that’s when it all starts. And then it’s, finishes with him getting burned down. And the place just reaches a fever pitch at that point.
Joe: Yeah, I hear that, uh, it becomes like, with the number of people there, it becomes one of the largest, uh, towns in all of, uh, Nevada…
Terence: Yeah, I know it’s…
Joe: …for that weekend.
Terence: Yeah, I know it’s top ten, yeah, definitely. It’s a, it’s a real good experience.
Joe: Yeah, you know what, I’d, I’d really like to go next year but, uh, y’know I’m, I’m gonna plan for it but you never know what can come up, y’know, so I’ll just have to see how it goes.
Terence: Maybe I’ll see you out there.
Joe: [laugh] Yeah, well if I go, you’ll definitely be one of the first ones to know.
- Labor Day: American holiday; the first Monday in September
- Burning Man: an American festival that takes place in the desert
- fell through: to not happen
- that sucks: it’s unfortunate
- quite a few: a lot
- saving grace: something you like about something although you do not like anything else about it
- can’t stand: do not like
- in over their heads: to be involved with something that is too difficult to do
- to know what you’re getting into: to know what to expect
- can’t believe your eyes: what you see is not believable
- something to behold: amazing
- anything goes: you can do anything you wish to do
- express yourself: show something about yourself
- outfits: clothes or a costume
- never cease to be amazed: not surprised
- get a little old: no longer fun
- blown away: pleased and very surprised
- creature comforts: things that are comfortable and familiar
- out of hand: very bad
- showing off: doing something to bring attention to yourself
- surreal: unreal
- might as well: could be; the same as
- trick out: decorate
- culmination: the last thing
- fever pitch: a lot of excitement
- Nevada: a state in America
- you never know what can come up: not sure what will happen
- see how it goes: to see what happens