No, I didn’t blog last week. Instead, I went to Alchemy, the Georgia burn. Yes, I could have written multiple posts and scheduled them for release while I was away, but that would have required more focus and time than was available to me in the last two weeks.

What was it like at Alchemy?

photo credit: Justin Majors

photo credit: Justin Majors

This is the Effigy, a large structure that gets designed and built every burn, and then we have Much Fire on Saturday night.

Here’s a pic from above the city:

photo credit: Kerr Nun Nos

photo credit: Kerr Nun Nos

That’s the city I designed and laid out a couple of weekends ago. It’s a weird and wonderful place, as you can probably imagine.

I got back home on Monday and my brain is still not fully functional—Post Burn Brain Syndrome is a thing—so I’ll make this brief. I started designing the Georgia burns back in 2016, and through a series of property changes and bad luck, this is the first time I’ve been able to design the burn in the same place two times in a row.

Thus, this was the first time I’ve been able to apply our Precept of SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION to my design. Every other time was a brand new ABORTIVE ATTEMPT.

What have I learned?

  • The concept of an “axis” from the Temple to the Effigy, along which are placed major nodes of activity and interest, is an exciting one.

  • Roads (28’ wide for vehicular traffic) and paths (15’ wide for pedestrians) are a good idea. The more paths the better.

  • Sound zones, with loud camps clustered near the Effigy, are a workable idea. Over in our neighborhood, the Temple field, you could barely hear the whomp-whomp of the big sound camps a quarter of a mile away.

  • We still have plenty of room to expand. The open camping areas were huge; more theme camps, please!

What will I change next time?

  • Other than extending High Street across the bottom of the burn and turning the sound camps around to face High instead of the (extremely dusty) access road, not much. This is Alchemy’s footprint going forward, and it has the following implications:

    • For the first time since 2015, a camp can ask to be placed “where we were last year” and I can do that for them.

    • As camps settle into their preferred spots, the burn will once again start crystalizing into a “shape”; hippies will be able to say things like “I went all the way to Funk Pirates and back,” and their audience will know exactly what they’re saying.

You don’t know how exciting this is.