The gloves are off. Burning Man is tired of waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to justify the nearly $3 million it charges the festival annually. In “an attempt to break the cycle”, an official lawsuit was filed by Black Rock City LLC, the subsidiary that produces the iconic event, in D.C. District Court on December 13th.
The Bureau of Land Management oversees land permits for public land use and allows the organizers to host the 7-day event in Black Rock Desert. For the past 4 years, Black Rock City LLC has been waiting patiently to see if the BLM will justify the substantial charges. With no explanation in sight, they went forward with a lawsuit.
The immense charges are to cover BLM’s services and expenses, including law enforcement and oversight during the event. The organization has also been required to pay a 3% gross recipient fee or a portion of its revenue, which was $44 million in 2018.
Since 2012, these charges have been increasing with no explanation. In the past 3 years, charges inflated by 291% although the Burning Man population only increased by 39%. This past year, the organization paid out $2.9 million in charges, not including the commercial use fee.
There’s been a fair bit of drama between the organization and the BLM for a few years now. In 2015, top officials were reassigned to other roles after the bureau director accused them of trying to extort Burning Man organizers. Apparently, these top-level officials made absurd demands during the 2015 event including requesting 24-hour ice cream access and flushing toilets.
These demands, charges, and conditions, however unjust, they have left the Black Rock City LLC stuck between a rock and a hard place. Its relationship with the BLM can be described as a Hobson’s Choice conundrum, meaning that someone must submit to the undesirable option or nothing at all. With an already scheduled, highly anticipated event that attracts over 80,000 people annually, cancelling the event is out of the question. So the cycle of abuse continues. This lawsuit was set in motion to put an end to it.
Fascinated by all things Burning Man? Us too. Check out our article on what Burning Man is really like.
Gong hei fat choy! As the first new moon of 2020 makes its appearance, families and friends across China, Asia, and the rest of the world are coming together to participate in tradition, indulge in copious amounts of food, and get in some good quality time with loved ones. It also means a much-anticipated break from work, school, or whatever keeps you busy on most days. If you’re looking to celebrate this Spring Festival with some killer electronic music and dance parties, look no further than our list of awesome festivals happening during 2020’s Chinese New Year.
Gem & Jam Festival
If you find yourself in the United States this CNY, definitely make your way to Tuscan, Arizona for the Gem & Jam Festival happening from January 31st to Feb 2nd. For 13 years, Gem & Jam has brought music, art, and gem lovers together for a festival like no other. Very much known for its welcoming community-first atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to spend a holiday and make life-long friendships. Musical acts including Manic Focus, Thriftworks, and Christain Martin are set to take the stage along with multiple live painters that will be creating works of art as you stand witness. For those into groovy beats, pretty rocks and minerals, and plenty of art to immerse yourself in, Gem & Jam is not to be missed.
On February 1st, Elektro Hangar is back for a massive drum and bass, house, and techno party. Elektro Hangar was the first party in New Zealand to ever be hosted in a warplane hangar and after its first session being a smashing success, it’s back, but this time it’s gone pink! With a pink theme, a 50% female lineup, and $1 from every Gordon’s Pink Gin sold being donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation, Elektro Hangar is supporting the ladies in a big way. Expect a wicked food market, games, and performing arts alongside the killer lineup. Catch MC Tali and Zeisha on the d&b stage and Soul Brucke and Klinical on the house and tech stage. If you’re down under, this is the place to be.
CruCast, the UK’s newest and coolest bass label, kicks off their Spring 2020 tour in Manchester on February 1st. The first of their 4-date tour, this party is guaranteed to be a banger. CruCast is known for its roster of mega-talented bass artists, expertly executed events, and dedication to the scene. On the docket for the party is low-frequency heavyweight Darkzy, the young talent with a knack for grimey tunes and mixes, Skepsis, and the lyric-spitting MC Bru-C. Those into UK bass should not less this event pass them by.
Snowbeat 2020 is transforming the picturesque ski getaway of Alpincentre in Wittenburg, Germany into a wintery rave this February 1st. The indoor one-day festival will have an impressive five floors and four stages complete with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and visuals. You’ll completely forget about the frosty temperatures outside as the party heats up. MTV EMA winner MATTN who dominated the main stages at this summer’s biggest festivals will headline Snowbeat alongside German duo Gestört aber Geil and Dutch duo Lucas & Steve. We can’t think of a better way to round out a ski holiday.
If you are more of the beach holiday type, UnKonscious Festival in Phuket, Thailand has you covered. On February 6th and 7th, dive headfirst into Asia’s biggest trance festival. The party will take place on Paradise Beach where you can dance day and night on the white sands, swim in the clear blue waters, and immerse yourself in Thai culture. The artists responsible for keeping the dance party lasting all night are John Askew, Simon Patterson, and Alex di Stefano. High BPMS and good vibes are a guarantee. Closeout your CNY holiday with a bang.
Burning Man is an enigma. For 7 days,
you’ll take to the desert where you will be forced to endure the elements.
For beginner Burners, it may be overwhelming to hear about how the Burning Man festival is divided up into camps where you will decidedly spend your week camping and celebrating. And that you should make a decision of which camp you plan to join, prior to entering Black Rock City. With hundreds of camps to choose from, where do you even start?
What is a theme camp?
Camping at a typical festival, you will find thousands of campers and their tents strewn about a field with no rhyme or reason, except that you may be planted next to your mates. This is not the case at Burning Man.
Camps are the festival. Burning Man Organization doesn’t actually provide much more than a theme (2019 was Metamorphoses). The rest is in the hands of the Burners. Thankfully, Burners are dedicated and organized. Theme camps are established months in advanced and officially registered with Burning Man. While yes, camps are where you will go to rest your head in your tent or RV at night, they are also so much more. Theme camps provide community, shelter, inspiration, and entertainment. Theme camps can vary from four to 400 people. Villages, too, exist and are when two or more camps that have joined forces.
While you are not required to join a camp (you can camp in the open camping areas), camps play a huge part in the overall experience. It’s always best to find a camp with interests that align with yours.
With over 1,500 registered camps, it can be a little daunting. Here are a few that spark our fancy.
A collective of Mexican and Californian artists, musicians, designers, craftsmen, and technologists, Mayan Warrior is one of the most iconic Burning Man camps. Their ethos is to bring people together, regardless of borders, backgrounds, or culture, and celebrate as one through music and dance. Known for their legendary art car, wild light shows, and fiercely curated electronic music performances, Mayan Warriors is a camp to which we say “you likely can’t beat them, so you may as well join them!”. Catch electronic artists Unders, Jan Blomqvist, Damian Lazarus, and Bedouin playing sets from sunrise to sunset and beyond.
Brought to you by the one and only Carl Cox, it can only be expected that Playground is a camp of epic proportions. Cox co-founded Playground as a way to give back to the community of Black Rock City and Burning Man, something he holds near and dear. Describing itself as a mirage of good vibes and amazing techno beats, the party on Playground begins as the sun goes down. This year, Playground will have two stages. The Arrival stage starts after dark and goes until sunrise. Catch Carl’s sets on Wednesday and Saturday. The Dune stage begins at dawn and brings the noise until dusk. Don’t miss the Purple Disco Party on the Wednesday.
A large-scale Sound Camp with Arabian desert vibes, the Kazbah turns up the volume as the sun starts to set bringing epic melodic beats to the Playa. Centered around a 48’ Pyramid in which the DJ booth is placed, the desert becomes the dance floor. The structure is designed to be a modern hybrid of the pyramid and obelisk harnessing energy from the cosmos and radiating it to those surrounding. Resident DJs Elz, Halloran, Hef2Def, and Papa Lu will bring the tunes through the Eye of Horus.
Black Rock City spans 7 square miles
(11km2). The Burning Man city is arranged as a series of concentric avenues and
camps, with a diameter of 1.5 miles (2.4km). The Burning Man effigy stands at
the center. In order to navigate the city, most Burners bring along their
bicycles, decorated to the nines. This makes getting around much easier. However,
some of the more crafty types may opt to create an art car, known as mutant
vehicles on the Playa.
A mutant vehicle is a motorized work of art. The vehicle itself must bear very little resemblance to its original form. They are meant to wow and inspire. Think of a pirate ship sailing through the desert or an enormous praying mantis on wheels.
Mutant vehicles have also been known to host some epic dance parties as they make their way through the Playa to different camps. Decked out with mixers and epic sound systems, they are a party on wheels.
Brought to you by the Airpusher Collective, the Airship has been cruising the Playa since 2013. A group of diehard Burners, DJs, and builders, these guys like to turn up the heat with bumping sets and quirky costumes.
How to find camps and cars
As we know, the Playa is vast and there is a hell of a lot going on. It’s best to go with a plan of which camp you are going to seek out. Perhaps it’s even better to contact the organizers of the camp beforehand. On the Burning Man official website, you’ll find a complete directory, alphabetized, with all 1500+ registered camps. Some camps have just provided their names while others have included a description and contact information. To find out the placement of the camps, grab a BRC map once you get to the grounds.
Unless you are a seasoned Burner or have been following the lead up to Burning Man through certain camps’ socials, finding where the Mutant Vehicles will be stationed requires a little more digging. However, thanks to Kate Houston, a.k.a. The Rock Star Librarian, and her Music Guide, you can find out what camps will have tunes, the dates, times, and locations of the sets, whether they are wheelchair accessible, and if they have mutant vehicles. Oh ya, this guide is thorough.
Her list is only inclusive of camps that have requested to be featured, so it is possible there are some camps and cars missing, but it is chalked full of great information.
Groove to disco on BAAAHS the big-ass amazingly homosexual sheep. Jump aboard the Deep Playa Diver mutant submarine bus and move to sounds of Motown. Get into some shenanigans on the Mystic Flyer art bus as it cruises across the Playa. Embrace your inner animal on the Dusty Rhino as breathes fire and beats through BRC.
Light up the night on the galactic cruiser Lucky Star, created by the Gluckstern family of Magic Hour camp. Rock out on Root Society‘s Rolling Root art car or hit up the camp, Root Cathedral, for some of the biggest dance parties on the Playa. Join the eclectic crew aboard The Janky Barge for funky techno beats.
Love animals and dancing? Get animal-friendly on the Dirty Goat Roadhouse. Unicorns are real on the Playa and you can live out your wildest dreams by riding Sparky across the sand. Haven’t gotten your fix of mystical creatures? The Xuza Art Car is otherworldly, from the structure to its music.
Burning Man is a fun and freaky ride. If you’re headed out to the Playa this week, don’t forget to tag us (@electricsoulapp) in your pictures and Stories.
Those outside Manchester may not be privy to the ins and outs of The Warehouse Project. But since 2006, for four months a year, The Warehouse Project has invaded abandoned Manchester venues, made them its own, and thrown epic club nights.
The 2019 season of Warehouse Project kicks off this September 20th. From now until New Year’s Day, 29 events chocked full of electronic musical acts, big and small, will fill the calendars of music lovers across the UK and beyond.
Who is The Warehouse Project?
Back in 2003, best friends Sacha Lord-Marchionne and Sam Kandel, who had been working in a nightclub together for years, decided to throw a party at Boddington’s Brewery, a venue made famous by the cult classic 24 Hour Party People. The guys thought it was a one-time thing until 2006 when they booked not one, but 24 parties. Warehouse Project was born and over 120,000 partygoers marched through the abandoned brewery’s doors that season.
What is The Warehouse Project?
According to Lord, WHP is the “nearest [this generation is] going to come to the illegal warehouse parties that happened in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
And like those warehouse parties, The Warehouse Project has never run like a traditional nightclub. WHP runs seasonally, following the school term. Every weekend, both Friday and Saturday, from September to New Year’s Day, Warehouse Project opens its doors, cranks the bass, and throws epic electronic club nights.
WHP has always been known for hosting big-name DJs and producers, pumping house, techno, trance, and more recently grime. To name drop, Carl Cox, Annie Mac, Pete Tong, De La Soul, and Disclosure, have all hit the decks. But WHP’s greatest service is that it has always had these big names sharing the same stage as less established, up and coming acts.
WHP has picked up a few accolades in its time. In 2007, MixMag named Warehouse Project the UK’s best nightclub and in 2013, it was voted Best Club Series by DJ Mag.
Where is The Warehouse Project?
Since its inception in 2006, The Warehouse Project has taken place in abandoned and disused spaces. In the early years it occupied the abandoned Boddingtons Brewery, then an air raid shelter under Picadilly Station, a car park, and since an abandoned railway station.
Most recently, WHP has occupied the O2 Victoria Warehouse, a former cotton storage facility. But this year, the 2019 season of WHP will grace a new venue, The Depot. Abandoned for over 50 years, this former train station has been gutted and transformed into a dynamic venue, a stone’s throw from the Piccadilly Train Station. Club nights, this season, will flip-flop between the two venues, sometimes two events happening simultaneously at each venue.
When is The Warehouse Project?
Mark your calendars because this season of The Warehouse Project kicks off on Friday, September 20th. With different events happening at each venue, the 2019 season will start with a bang. At The Depot, the party starts at 7 pm and runs until 3 am. The lineup, curated and headlined by Aphex Twin, boasts sets from Nina Kraviz, Aleksi Perälä, Lee Gamble, 33EMYBW, and more. Over at the 02 Victoria Warehouse, Fisher takes the headliner position joined by Franky Rizardo, Mason Collective, Martin Ikin, and Luke Welsh back to back with Mike Morrisey. The party at Victoria Warehouse starts later, at 9 pm, and runs until 4 am.
Even before the season has started, some club nights have sold out.
Annie Mac will curate and headline the Halloween Spectacular on November 2nd with an outrageously long list of electronic heavy hitters. The party will start in the afternoon and run for 11 hours.
The final party of the season happens on New Year’s Day and lasts all day long, keeping partygoers partying from the night before. The lineup has yet to be announced, but in true The Warehouse Project fashion, it won’t be one to disappoint.
Why The Warehouse Project?
As if epic club nights in abandoned venues with lineups that will make your head spin aren’t enough for you, The Warehouse Party is also doing their part to create a safe and welcoming space for all to enjoy.
The Warehouse Project works in collaboration with Think!, a road safety organization that fights against impaired driving on the streets of Britain.
Not only are we sharing one of Hong Kong’s cooler than cool upcoming festivals with you, but we are also giving away two sets of tickets to two lucky Electric Soul community members. Read on to find out how to enter.
Brought to you by creative agency FuFu of Hong Kong and Parisian music and DJ collective La Mamie’s, Shi Fu Miz was birthed from a place of passion for house, techno music, and life-altering experiences. While this festival is about the music, it is also about culture and an overall spirit of well being.
From France to Hong Kong and everywhere in between, Shi Fu Miz is a breeding ground for diversity, sustainability, quality music, and good times. Bringing the bass and beats to the island of Cheung Chau in Hong Kong, the beaches and lush grasses create the ultimate environment for the three-stage, two-day festival.
What is Shi Fu Miz?
A cool and quaint in its 5th year, SFM has been growing steadily, but we still like to think it as one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets. Unlike the vast majority of festivals these days, SFM is humble; it doesn’t try to be bigger than itself and is more interested in creating meaningful experiences than splurging on big names and flashy attractions. Now a biannual event, this October’s (26th – 27th) will outshine all the rest.
What you’ll get at SFM is a community of people who live and breath music and love discovering new artists while supporting old favorites. You’ll find international names sharing the stage with local acts. And you’ll be immersed in a community that is doing its best to keep its ecological imprint to a minimum so that we can continue to enjoy this festival and island for years to come.
Shi Fu Miz x Boiler Room
What makes this year’s festival even more epic than past seasons is not just the ever-expanding roster of talent and cool activities. On the Sunday afternoon of the festival, the holy grail of underground electronic music, Boiler Room, will be hosting a party. We are so here for this. Boiler Room is legendary for live streaming iconic sets by DJs and electronic producers to an audience of over 3 million.
Boiler Room has made epic strides since its early days of recording sets via webcam. However, it has stayed true to its roots, delivering its community live, uncut, and raw performances by truly talented underground and hype artists.
Rather than stacking the lineup with big names, this SFM x Boiler Room session will make way for Hong Kong heroes including the likes of Utopia, Ocean Lam, Roam Selectors, and K-Melo. Yukari BB from Japan is set to make an appearance and of course festival co-founders La Mamie’s will hit the decks. The five-hour session is guaranteed to get your feet moving.
We want our Electric Soul community to be a part of the magic so we are giving away two sets of two tickets. Head over to our Instagram to enter. We’ll see you on the dancefloor.
With the banning of plastic from all Live Nation’s venues and festivals and a general change in attitudes across the globe, we saw a massive shift in the ecology of music festivals this summer. Inviting tens of thousands of festivalgoers to a green space where they will be eating, drinking, and celebrating is a recipe to produce a bit of rubbish. In the past, festivals have been known to produce tonnes of waste, which was contradicting most of their ethos to create a safe and beautiful atmosphere for their community. Is causing heaps of pollution really what’s best for us?
This awareness sparked a trend. Festivals are going green. While some festivals are veterans of sustainability, we’re happy to see the rest jumping on the bandwagon. These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single-use cup or plastic straw and are likely to stumble across eco-toilets and solar-powered stages. With ultra-dedicated cleanup crews and guiding principles to leave no trace, festivals are stepping up and doing their part to keep our earth clean so we can enjoy the festival season, guilt and pollution-free for years to come.
Check these five super-green festivals making it their mission to leave as small of a carbon footprint as they possibly can.
Shambala – UK
Shambala is a bucket list festivals for so many reasons. Not only does it boast one of the best line-ups of electronic music artists with epic production, dance parties, and activities, it is also one of the most eco-friendly festivals happening.
The grassroots festival in the UK is the gold standard for green initiatives of European festivals. They have reduced their carbon footprint by 80% and are 100% powered by renewable resources; veggie oil, solar panels, and hybrid units.
Shambala has completely eliminated their use of single-use plastics and 80% of recyclables are recycled. All tickets include a £10 “Recycling Deposit” which attendees are refunded once they return their bagged recyclables and other waste upon vacating the campsite.
As Shambala knows that to become completely plastic-free requires the help of their attendees, they have started the conversation of how festivalgoers can do their part by steering clear of glitter, plastic and one-time use costumes, and disposable menstrual products. Although they provide reusable drink cups for purchased beverages, they encourage festivalgoers to bring their own.
Absolutely no fish or meat is served at the festival, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 100 tonnes, yearly. Vendors are also required to serve only organic dairy products and eggs, local fruits and veg, fairtrade bananas, coffee, and tea, and are restricted from selling Nestle or Coca-Cola products. All food is served on 100% compostable plates. Beer and wine are hyper-local and almost 90% of both are vegan.
Burning Man – USA
Burning Man, the place for radical free spirits and electronic music lovers to go and spend 7 days dancing in the desert, is the epitome of a festival with a conscious.
Burning Man operates on 10 guiding principles, one of which is ‘leave no trace’. Their site details an in-depth guide of how to make your Burn a green one. A lot of sustainability is reliant on the Burners. While the festival takes precautions and provides ways to recycle, compost, and deal with waste, it is up to the attendees to leave the Playa cleaner than when they got there.
Anything that wasn’t on the Playa prior to Burning Man is considered MOOP, or Matter Out Of Place, and MOOP can’t stay. This means no water, waste, debris, or plants can hit the Playa floor. MOOP line sweeps are a regular occurrence and it wouldn’t be odd to see someone vacuuming up their campsite. Recycle Camp is where you can head to hand in all your recyclables. If you have leftover wood or building materials, Burners without Burners is happy to take your donations that will aid them when rebuilding communities that have been hit with a disaster.
Burning Man’s organizers have also released Burning Man Project: 2030 Environmental Sustainability Roadmap, a manifesto on how the festival plans to be completely carbon-negative, ecologically regenerative, and sustainably manage their waste by 2030.
Slovakia’s biggest music event brings all music lovers together. Pohoda Festival is where bass heads and techno junkies can dance their hearts out through the night and listen to mellow alternative and rock during the day.
It is also self-proclaimed Europe’s greenest festival. Winner of the Green Operations Award at the European Festival Awards in 2017 and commended for their green efforts by A Greener Festival in 2018, Pohoda takes a lot of pride in their sustainable initiatives.
Lit by solar energy, the festival partners with local energy providers to plug stages and stands to the main grid, creating a mobile power unit. It calculates each attendee consumes 0.22L of fuel, which is 38% of consumption at a typical festival.
Focussed on proper waste management, there are 17 separation points, a collection of raw materials, and even a spot to separate old toothbrushes. Only reusable cups are used to serve drinks and all plates and utensils are 100% compostable. They’ve even gone as far as to ban festival tents.
Partnering with the national train company, they are doing their part to encourage festivalgoers to travel consciously and suggest rideshares, festival busses, and carpooling (#spolunapohodu). Staff and performers are provided with bicycles so they can get around the grounds greenly.
Northside Festival – Denmark
Northside Festival operates with the mantra “lead the way” and they follow it in all senses from music lineup, production, sustainability, and food served. Kaytranada and Major Lazer were just a few of the epic acts that took the stage this summer.
Since 2017, Northside Festival has been serving 100% organic food, including wine and champagne, while beer is closely following at 94%.
The festival has absolutely no parking for vehicles. This means festivalgoers must walk, bike, or take public transportation to get there. Transport is a huge contributor to emissions at festivals and Northside has completely eliminated this problem.
As Northside is mostly comprised of wooden structures, since 2013 they have launched a fundraiser for Verdens Skove for which they raise money to restore the rainforest and have so far preserved 31.6 hectares of forest. All paper and cardboard materials must be sustainably certified and be sorted and decomposed properly.
Northside Festival has won A Greener Festival award more than once and continues to work to improve all sustainability initiatives.
Wonderfruit – Thailand
In December, for its 6th, year, Wonderfruit will return to Pattaya, Thailand, reimagined as a sustainable pop-up city, completely engrossed in keeping its ecological footprint as small as possible.
The Thai festival is the ultimate destination for electro lovers who want to catch the likes of Acid Pauli, Massive Attack’s Daddy G, and Craig Richards playing on stages consciously crafted by artists who competed to create the most innovative, sustainable and evolved stages possible.
The carbon-neutral festival (certified and all), runs as a pop-up city. They are aware of the detrimental effects traditional festivals can have on the environment and have pledged to combat this. All stages built and art displayed are created with local and sustainable materials including rubbish, bamboo, and hemp. Whenever possible, energy is generated from renewable sources. All food is served on compostable plates and is sourced and grown locally. Single-use plastics are banned. Water is filtered from the natural lakes. Food is composted on-site and over 10,000 mangrove trees have been planted to offset all carbon emissions.
They call their movement and attention to conscious living “Hedonistic Sustainability”. Wonderfruit uses its influential platform to inspire its attendees and others to be more aware of their behaviors and find fun, innovative ways to protect the environment.
Wonderfruit has adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and work with initiatives including the Ocean Recovery Alliance, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Greenpeace.