Saturday, May 25, 2013

Boomtown Was Strange

I thought I'd be dancing or spinning fire or watching amazing people at the Boomtown event tonight. I got there Thursday right before sunset. There was confusion as to where I was allowed to camp. The office pointed me to a spot.  A nice big flat area in the soft sand, big enough for about 25 tents.  So we unpack half the truck when a woman gets out of a camper and tells me ever so politely that the entire flat area is reserved for her private Burning Man Reunion pot party and I'd have to camp somewhere else. My boyfriend, who was just  dropping me off helped me to reload the truck.  I told her no problem, I'll camp on the flat spot a bit higher. "Oh you really shouldn't," she says. "That area is reserved for my friends in RV's." Flustered I told her, "the office staff said this is the quiet camp."

So back to the office I go, where they are having a meeting that can't be disturbed. Another man tells me exactly where to camp next to an old dead generator.  So we get the tent up, and we just start to put the pop-up in front of my tent door, when here comes miss 'Burning Man Reunion' again. I get the whole spiel again. So I said, "Are you staff? Staff told me to set up right here."  She kind of muttered and wandered off.

But I tried to overcome it, really I did. By the time I set up camp, it was getting pretty chilly. Much colder than I expected it since I only live about 20 miles from there. At that point I realized I brought no warm regular clothing. Oh well, my giant top hat is the warmest thing I have so I put my big hat on, and my long sleeved Steampunk shrug, because I didn't bring so much as a sweater. It seems okay though, because some people were in costume, or half in costume.

So up the hill I go and most of the exhibits are ready to go. The event opens Friday afternoon.

Eventually I head to bed. Though it is almost midnight, and I'm way down the hill, the amplified music is still too loud to sleep through. So I read for awhile, and finally decide to go to sleep. I keep waking up, having strange dreams about people stealing my tent and my canopy.  Whenever a song with loud drums comes on I wake up. I remember the website mentioning the music went to 3 AM each night. So I wrap myself even tighter in my blankets and sleeping bags, and resign myself to sleep after 3 AM.  At 4:44 AM I wake up to pounding music and roosters crowing. Talk about disorienting!

I get up a few more times, and by about 8 AM I give up on sleeping and start to organize my costumes, food, and props. Then I remember I was invited to tea by a vendor, so I decided to unpack later and go visiting.

She kept talking to her friends about how she wasn't looking forward to packing up her booth that was 2 pop-ups wide. I kept wondering why she was worried now, when it was only Friday and the event went until Monday. Let's just say I'm not a morning person.  I asked her what time the public was coming in and she looked at me funny and said, "They aren't. We are shut down."

So I say, "You mean the power is out? Surely they can fix the generators?"  It's then that the whole scene sinks in. The crew is taking down the lights, not putting them up.  The big circus tent saloon thing is less put together than the night before. The ice man is leaving.  Suddenly the light dawns.  Ohhhh, we are not going to open at all. Big sadness. Shock. Disappointment.

Seems some inspector decided they didn't have the right permits after all. Someone got a bee in their bonnet and got the event shut down. Most of the staff found out via Facebook. No officials came around to tell me anything.  Luckily my boyfriend was home when I called him at 9:30 AM. He came and got me.

So yeah, that's my Memorial Day weekend and my first real Steampunk event up in flames.
So in hindsite, I'm glad I wore my costume on Thursday night. It was the only chance I got to wear it at all.

The poor couple camped next to me had worked on Thursday in the San Fernando Valley, then they drove to the event, dropped off their camper to secure a good spot, drove back home to work on Friday. And now they still have to drive in awful Memorial 'get out of LA' traffic all the way back to Apple Valley, CA to get their camper and drag it home. So yeah, I had it easy, I lived close by. I didn't spend a year planning the event or a week setting up an elaborate outdoor show. Such a shame.

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