Most of us in the inner workings of the scene know there are some festivals and events that are child friendly and some that are not. Any Burner Parent knows the scorching blaze of judgement -hotter than any day on the playa- that comes when someone out of the know hears you are contemplating taking your child to Burning Man – OR even have a child and perpetuate that “lifestyle”.
“Oh we’ve heard of what goes on THERE” They scoff, absolutely unaware of the magic waiting there for anyone, of any age.
Deeper in to the knowing most of us Burners are well aware that Burning Man it’s self is not your typical music festival – in fact most would push to say it’s not a festival at all; but an artistic exhibit personified in a small transient city – a tangible archetype of what could be.
For Adults, elders and Children alike.
I have traveled for a handful of years across the white streets of the playa and I have imagined those roads from many different eyes; there truly is something for everyone.
In the summer of 2012 I ventured to ” Kidsville” – a large camp catering for Children & Families at Burning Man – out of my own curiosity and inquiry. After having been at BM for a couple years at that point my daughter started asking to attend with me.
“Is Burning Man for Kids?” I thought
Sure one could find it easy to discredit a place apparently soaking with debauchery as a strictly adult playground; but per-capita is it really so much different than a city? I have never felt safer or more at home than I do on the Playa, I would wager to so many children feel the same.
So many have found solace and release in expressing their childlike self at BM so why not have us all be able to express that together? Learn to love the Childlike self from the masters of being silly themselves!
I wandered in to Kidsville and saw a plethora of giddy delights, a lavish peanut butter & jelly station, tiny geodesic domes, puppet shows and more than anything I saw absolutely elated children – I saw families working together cultivating community outside of the stagnant and tired story of the Nuclear home.
I prodded them with playful inquiry, I spoke to parents, children, extended family and a few imaginary friends/stuffed animals.
What I heard was a collective exhale, expressions of joy, tired but grateful parents – relieved they could gather in a place where they could be Humans together with their Kids.
Imagine a world where Children don’t grow up on a pedestal feeling like a burden later as teens; but rather are treated as members of a thriving community: a tribe even.
I don’t have to imagine it because I have seen it.
So BM & the Temple saved my life, anyone who knows me knows that.
It restored a sense of worthiness and purpose to which I lost – perhaps before I even inhabited this body – It returned me to myself, my artistry and my love.
Part of this restoration was learning to understand that my Child self, my sensual self and my sage self were not adversaries – and it was when I learned to weave them together as Kin that I truly felt joy and self acceptance for the first time.
That being said as a whole Burning Man did not create anything that wasn’t already there but nourished and united the child the elder and the guardian creature inside of me. It merely calmed the ire of their war-grounds and planted seeds for me to sow.
Gods know what a world we could have if our children could be taught such embark from Childhood to Adulthood.