I imagined the Nowhere festival – an offshoot of the “Radical Alternative Intentional Community” better known as Burning Man – to be similar to the original event, a large grouping with clever theme camps and huge art installations and super-outgoing folks and a gift economy and great DJ sets. With my expectations so ramped up — Burning Man! Only in SPAIN!!! — it was bound to be a bit disappointing. Who knew there could be cultural differences in festivals?
People often refer to Burning Man as “That Thing in the Desert,” a bit of an understatement, considering there are upward of 40,000 participants and countless theme camps, DJs, stages, art exhibits, and events, including AA meetings and Shabat services.
Nowhere, in the end, though, was indeed pretty much just a big campout in the middle of the gorgeous Spanish desert.
There was a very small center pavilion, a few domes, one or two hut-like structures, and a bunch of British people wearing skimpy clothes trying to act unrepressed while the French ignored them and played Bacci. (Bacci is also known in French as the onomatopoeic “Pudunk” which is a much better name than Bacci. “Want to play Pudunk?” “Where is Pierre?” “He’s off playing Pudunk!”)
The Italians got it right, making spaghetti for the population of the entire event and refusing to turn down their sound system, but no one could understand what the fuck they were saying.