Tag Archives: event

#NOTETOSELF – JOIN THE PROJECT (WORLDWIDE)

I simply remember - Burning Man USA 2014 - the #NOTETOSELF project with XSTATICWORLD

Last year at Burning Man, USA I asked 25 strangers to write a letter to themselves in the real world or “default world” as it’s known in Black Rock City. This could be anything – whether it be a memory, a feeling, good advice for the future or just something they wanted to express to the “default world” version of themselves.

The messages were heart-warming, most following a theme of embracing one’s self and remembering to love. Fascinatingly nobody held back on sharing their hopes, dreams, fears and insecurities with themselves and someone they’d never met.

Bryce - Burning Man USA 2014 - Burning Man USA 2014 - the #NOTETOSELF project with XSTATICWORLD

I took each person’s address and brought the letters back to England. Now five months later (when hopefully these people have completely forgotten they ever took part) I have returned the messages to their rightful owners with letters going out all over America, Australia and Europe.

Jarred - Burning Man USA 2014 - Burning Man USA 2014 - the #NOTETOSELF project with XSTATICWORLD

I have always expressed my belief that we are closest to the true versions of ourselves at festivals (aside from the drinking and drugs associated with most) – we are free; free from our jobs, our commitments, the days of the week, the time of day and the problems of the world.

In these letters most people, in one way or another, told themselves to remember a feeling. We are thrust back into the real world so suddenly after an experience that we quickly forget how free we were and how easily we found happiness – so what better than our own words to remind us?

Stefano - Burning Man USA 2014 - Burning Man USA 2014 - the #NOTETOSELF project with XSTATICWORLD

Everybody I asked to write a letter was delighted, excited and grateful for the project and it made me feel wonderful to be able to give such a gift. That’s why I’ve decided to continue gifting around the world and launch the #NOTETOSELF project.

I invite you all to join me and spread the #NOTETOSELF project as far and wide as possible! Whether you’re at a festival or event, travelling, on holiday or even celebrating in your home ask yourself if somebody around you would want to remember the feeling of right now.

1. Find anything to write on and ask someone to write a letter to themselves in the “real world”,
2. take a photo of that person with their letter at that place and time,
3. ask them to write their address on the back then post it when you feel the time is right,
4. ask that person to do the same for someone else next time they have the chance.
5. Lastly write one to yourself while you’re there!

Please Tweet or Instagram your photos using #NOTETOSELF or email xstaticworld@gmail.com so we can build an ever-growing online gallery that we can all look to when we need to remember a bit of happiness.

This is a free gift you can give to a complete stranger and yourself. Enjoy it!

Check out the full up-to-date gallery here.

Thank you.

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WELCOME HOME – STORIES OF BURNING MAN (USA)

This week I returned from the Burning Man festival, and I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out how to sum it up into words. No amount of survival guides, photos, videos or articles can prepare you for the moment you step out onto the playa and witness the Black Rock City skyline, or the first time you come face to face with The Man, or ride your first art car, or survive your first sandstorm, or rave your way through your first desert sunrise.

Pulse and Boom - Photo by Jim Urquhart. Burning Man. Art.
Pulse and Boom – Photo by Jim Urquhart.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity surrounding Burning Man recently, like “it’s just a bunch of hippies taking acid in the desert” or “it’s been taken over by the rich and privileged” or “it’s full of anti-establishment hypocrites.” Yep there are drugs, yep there are rich people with the luxury of WiFi and an unnecessarily large RV, and yep we’re all trying to say “fuck you” to “the man” in our own way. But whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever your reason is for being there, it’s your burn. You can and will make it exactly what you want it to be. Nobody cares what you do or what you have in the default world. Money is nothing – you’re there in that moment and making whatever you want to out of the environment around you.

Insanity. Burning Man 2014. Art. Black Rock Desert. XSTATICWORLD.
Insanity – photo by XstaticWorld

You’re part of the environment, you’re creating every moment. From the second you receive your ticket that states ‘NO SPECTATORS’, it’s up to you to participate in the burn you want to have. Whether you want to take acid and rave until noon, do yoga as the sun rises over the temple, have an orgy, be naked all week, join the circus, make art, spin fire or just chill out with new people… you can. It’s your burn. It really is a city (I was told that on Saturday we were the 5th largest city in Nevada), and like any city there is something for everyone. We were all living our own burns alongside one another, and loving everyone along the way.

Love at Burning Man, Black Rock Desert. XSTATICWORLD.
Love – photo by XstaticWorld

What I found was a family, an appreciation for people and their stories, a love of the outdoors, a desire to create, a realisation of the things I’m capable of, 8 nights of raving and 8 days of adventure!

Burning Man 2014. Night. Rave. Fire.
The Castle – Photo by Jim Urquhart

My highlights:

Platybus and The Band
After just a couple of weeks’ preparation, leaving my job and buggering off alone, I finally touched down in Reno ready to start my journey. But the second I left the airport, saw the surrounding mountains, felt the blistering heat and spoke to the hoards of veteran burners who knew exactly what they were doing, this insane fear came over me. I’d never been more terrified in my life, and for the first time I thought “Amy, what the fuck are you doing here?” I went into a shell, and lost my ability to strike up a conversation with a stranger (generally unlike me!) But I was saved; I met Frog who told me I belonged at his camp, and so a couple of days later I arrived at Platybus and The Band. I told this new group of strangers my story, and the first thing they said was “Welcome home! Take or use whatever you want and DO NOT say thank you, because we are your family now.” And we were a family, all 120 of us from all over the world and all walks of life. We cooked and cleaned together, we got smashed together, we raved together, we jammed together, we laughed, we cried, we had a wedding (the best wedding I’ve ever been to, congratulations Felipe and Matita!). I can’t thank my Platybus family enough for their unbelievable generosity and for being the most amazing people I could have possibly found out in the desert!

Deep Playa Adventures
During the week I found a loyal adventure buddy! Stef and I set out daily on our bikes with no agenda whatsoever, just to explore. One day we ventured out to the deep playa, away from the city far out in the desert. The sand was thick in the air and we couldn’t see anything around us, until we noticed some movement off in the distance. We rode over to find an art car hosting a cheese and wine party for a small handful of burners, and after hours of riding this was the best possible thing in the world! A few minutes after we arrived, another art car showed up blasting Disney songs, and so we danced with silk to the sound of Pocahontas’s Colours of The Wind, swung on giant swings and drank wine with beautiful strangers. Riding home we saw the sun setting over the mountains, we felt the harsh winds ripping through our bikes and we smelt the dust as it covered us and everything around us. It was an unforgettable afternoon.

The First Sandstorm
We were out at Robot Heart, a sunrise rave that changed location every day and the only way to find it was to cycle the desert in search of a giant metal heart. Around 9am I was low on water so jumped on a mobile bar for a quick drink. Suddenly the bar started moving with me propped up against it. “Shit” I thought “my friends and my bike are over there.” Before I had a chance to get off the first sandstorm of the week hit – complete white-out. My only option was to ride it out on this Indian style moving bar that continued around the desert for at least an hour. I couldn’t see a few feet in front of me, all I could see was the faint outline of anonymous heads wearing dust masks and goggles opposite. One of the heads turned and handed me a bottle of JD, not a word spoken, just a silent nod and we carried on through the desert passing abandoned bikes and art sculptures not visible until we were nose to nose with them. It was an incredibly surreal experience, silently surviving the elements with faceless strangers.

The Temple –
I ventured alone to The Temple, an incredibly intricate structure built for burners to express problems or remember lost loved ones. The energy hits you as soon as you walk through the arches – I don’t think I’ve ever physically felt the emotions of other people like I did that day. Reading the messages written all over the walls and seeing the hundreds of people sitting and remembering in silence, I was completely overcome with emotion and overwhelming gratitude for my life and the people around me. On Sunday we burnt The Temple, and unlike the chaotic and animalistic party atmosphere of burning The Man on Saturday, 60 to 70 thousand people sat and were silent. Completely un-prompted nobody spoke a word, there was no music, just the sound of the temple and everything in it turning to ash. In its final moments it swiftly and silently twisted into itself and was gone, leaving nothing but a cloud of dust. Along with the thousands around me I gasped. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Gifting –
There is a common misconception that because no money is exchanged you need to bring something to trade. This isn’t the case – people genuinely want to make you happy, which in turn makes them happy, and the happiness just rolls on and on. I was given some really beautiful gifts by people who are now extremely special to me. I was also given things by people I’d never seen before and may never see again, but they were still so exceptional, and just knowing that someone genuinely wants you to have their handmade bracelet, their amazing green socks or their deep fried Oreo, is a beautiful feeling.

Likewise, the feeling of giving someone a gift with no expectation of getting something back is like watching your best friend open a Christmas present you’ve put all your effort into. Every bar, every food stall, every party, every workshop, every rave, every thing is a gift from someone else, and not once do you find yourself thinking “Oh score, free stuff.” Instead it’s “Wow, thank you for this gift”. And it’s not just things, sometimes your gift is just a great conversation, a hug, a smile or even your nudity. It may sound like a bunch of hippy nonsense to some – and yes, you do have to spend quite a lot of money to get there and enjoy it – but once you’re in it it makes so much sense.

A long-time Platybus camp mate called Bruce told me: “The best gift you can give is to carry this principle with you in the real world. Never stop gifting.”

Gifting at Burning Man - Photo by Xstatic World
Burning Man (Photo by Xstatic World)

Every minute of every day was a highlight – from the topless mimosa breakfast party to the naked foam party, the 300-person hug, dancing on a giant fire-breathing octopus, singing Bohemian Rhapsody a cappella at church while taking holy communion of whiskey and condoms, discussing my entire life with a complete stranger on board a giant shark for 3 hours before parting ways never to speak again, the Platybus Techno Tutu Tuesday rave, the 3D maze party, dancing in the thunderstorm, climbing on some of the best artwork in the world, watching The Man burn, the roller disco, climbing a mechanical beating heart, having a snowball fight in the middle of the desert, getting high and exploring, and every moment in between.

I love you burners, See you on the playa 2015.

With love, Teapot.

Burning Man

My love goes out to Alicia Cipicchio and her family following the tragic accident at this year’s event. You will be in our thoughts.

I want to hear about your burn, please tell me your stories in the comments below or on Twitter @XstaticWorld. For more photos follow me on Instagram @XstaticGibbo.

Get in touch at xstaticworld@gmail.com

GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD – THE SECRET GARDEN PARTY (UK)

It’s been over 2 weeks since my first trip to the Secret Garden Party (Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire) and I’m still on the festival come-down wishing I was back at the mainstage 5ft away from Martha Reeves absolutely smashing Dancing in the Street, or drinking absinthe cocktails in the forest at 11 o’clock Sunday morning, or watching thousands of glow sticks tumbling through the sky from the back of a magical paraglider during the finale of the greatest fireworks display I’ve ever seen.

I had to stop and make sure it was real, there was a lot of that over the weekend..
“guys you’re seeing this right? Tell me you’re seeing this”.

Photo by Jody Thomspon
Photo by Jody Thomspon
Photo by Bethan Taylor
Photo by Bethan Taylor

Getting there was a ballache (2 hour queue to get a cab from the station followed by a 4 hour queue to get into the festival and only 6 beers to keep us going) But I’m sure anyone unlucky enough to be in that queue would agree that the second you entered that gate it was magical, life was good again, the past 6 hours was all a dream.

Photo by XstaticWorld

Each stage and area had it’s own combination of the weird and wonderful; The Dance Off, The Temple of Boom, The Collisillium, Where The Wild Things Are… It was like a giant playground that got better and more bizarre every day. But of all the places we found our home at the Artful Badger Woods:

“In the darkest corner of the garden lies a mysterious woodland…
here you are invited to dance with the forest and mythical beasts thought long extinct.
The pipes of the faun lure you in a trance into leafy nights of musical adventure,
occult ceremonies, animal dance, pagan circus and wild fire shows.
All attempts at escape are futile”.

We always found ourselves heading back to the badger, it was like going home at the end of a great night out.. but if your home was full of beautiful acrobatic fire-dancing woodland creatures and everyone was on acid.

I’ll keep this short and sweet, mostly due to my extreme lack of memory from the whole experience, but I will say if you’re thinking of going GO! And if you do here’s some highlights/tips from me. Happy gardening!

Highlights

1. The fireworks, nothing can prepare you for the magic of the fireworks. It’s emotional.

2. The woods, if you see a light in the trees follow it, you’ll find something insane.

3.  The Mainstage.. Martha Reeves, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Public Enemy, Clean Bandit,
Submotion Orchestra, King Charles. Good work SGP!

4. The Dance Off.. Boxing ring dance battles (brilliant and tragic) by day,
off the chain DJ’s by night.

5. The sky… every time I looked up something awesome was happening in the sky from passing hot air balloons to magic glow-stick paragliders to red arrows making penis shapes.

6. The art – you’re surrounded by immersive art and installation,
and you can touch everything!

6. The 24 hour bar with the sunrise crowd that refuse to go to bed because they are heroes..
and YOU ARE A HERO.

Tips

1. Book a hot tub for the last day…
a hot shower and 2 hours drinking champers in the tub will sort you right out.

1.a) don’t pass out in the forest and miss the first hour.

2. Buy a weekend pass to Pootopia and have a luxury shit whenever you want!

3.Go to science camp and scientists will tell you drugs are awesome,
or a mysterious man will put his face in your armpit and decide if he loves you.

4. However much glitter you think you’ll need, bring more.

5. Make friends with the Artful Badger.

5. Do it all, sleep rarely and ask someone for a hug on the train home.

Thank you Mike, Boe, Stacey, Daniel, Lauren, Tim, Jake, Teresa, Nanki, Callum, Drew, Sacha, Annalisa, the hot dude with the absinthe, the dancing couple from Sunday morning and anyone else we encountered.. for being fucking fabulous.

What were your SGP highlights? Tweet me at @XstaticWorld