It’s been a week now since the Paddock emptied its population of tired, sunburnt and burned-out yet blissful Burners into the rest of the land. Many of us have returned to our urban jungles and office jobs wondering, how do I adjust to the default world? Never fear, the Kiwiburn blog has some half-baked ideas to share.
i) Take a day or two off between the Burn and your return to work.
Getting back from the Paddock on a Monday and immediately returning to work on Tuesday is ROUGH. Your brain cells are still settling down, you still haven’t scrubbed all the dirt from under your nails, you’re only just starting to catch up on all the sleep you missed, and your mind is humming with thoughts of all the magical creatures you spoke with over the last week. Trying to immediately focus on those quarterly sales figures is an unrealistic expectation. So try to take a day or two off if you can. Maybe have a potluck dinner with some of your Paddock crew, so that you can adjust together.
ii) Go to a music festival almost as soon as you get back!
Kiwiburn is not just a “festival”, it’s a community (sorry I know that sounds a little culty mom, I swear we’re not a cult). A community that gathers together to share experiences under a set of shared principles such as immediacy, radical expression and civic responsibility, and where there is no divide between performers and punters, because everyone is a participant. Nevertheless, it has many similarities to the commercial outdoor music festivals that take place across Aotearoa during the summer. And one way of gently easing yourself into the default world after returning from a Burn is to almost immediately hoon off to one of these; that way you’ll get another taste of doof, a little bit more tent-life, without the full-on experience of openness and human sharing that you get at a Burn, so that by the time you do finally settle down in your office chair, you’ll be a little more adjusted. Taniwha’s Den always takes place in the Wairarapa a week or two after the Burn (this year’s edition wrapped up a couple of days ago); Shipwrecked just outside of Auckland starts on 12 February.
iii) Alternately, attend both Ignition and Kiwiburn in a row.
That way, by the time you get back from the Paddock you’ll be so worn out with experience that a future of grey skies and computer screen stretching into oblivion will seem like a reassuringly un-stimulating treat.
iv) Silver linings, anyone?
Focus on the things you like about the default world – hot showers, flushing toilets, soft beds, electric toasters, going to sleep without booming doof in your eardrums… of course none of this makes up for the experience of the Burn, but they’re a nice consolation, right?
v) Bring the Paddock with you.
No, we don’t mean turn up to work shirt-cocked or bare-nippled (unless you work in the sort of industry that encourages this, in which case, we salute you). When you get back from a Burn, life in the default world can seem lame, cold and closed – why are people here so reticent to open up to one-another and really connect? What is this “pay for lunch” thing? The expectation of meeting certain standards of decorum at your place of employment only compounds this disillusion.
But instead of being disheartened, we recommend bringing the principles of the Burn into your wider life in ways that don’t get you fired, but do enrich the lives of everyone around you. You could carry on the everyone-participates, can-do attitude of the Paddock by volunteering – either for a position within the Kiwiburn organisation, or for a charity or NGO in your neighbourhood. Trying to work Burner magic outside the Paddock may feel like pissing into the wind, but there are a lot of us now, and our influence can already be felt, albeit in little ways – if you turn up to many commercial festivals now, you can identify the Burners in attendance by the way we decorate our campsites with some ridiculous but wonderful theme. Where once we may have walked past litter in a park, our brains now cry out MOOP! and force us to pick that stuff up.
Keep Aotearoa beautiful by keeping on burning throughout the year. Kia kaha me te arohanui.