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A Burner Lexicon: Village

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

A burner poses by the Car-B-Que, spiritual center of Gigsville. Black Rock City 2010. Photo by Arlette.

Village, –noun, A village is what happens when theme camps work together — it’s essentially a super-camp made up of many smaller theme camps. Villages include a cluster of camps — often featuring a diverse variety of camp types — along with places to gather, communal shade structures, and often artwork.

The first villages arose spontaneously as camp members made friends with each other. Nowadays, Burning Man camps are officially placed and designated through a similar process by which theme camps are registered. At Burning Man 2010, there were over a dozen officially registered villages. These included Anonymous Village (made up of members of 12 step programs who support each other’s sobriety) and Sacred Spaces Village which included visionary art, a dome for healing rituals, and its own stage.

One of the oldest continuously operating villages is Gigsville. Formed as ‘Whirligig Village’ in 1998, Gigsville is home to the notorious  Car-B-Que, a car set up in the center of the encampment and set ablaze so that it smolders for the duration of the week-long Burning Man event. Another important and longstanding village is the Alternative Energy Zone; devoted to alternatives to common fossil fuels, the village bans gas and diesel generators.

In 2004 I camped near Infinite Oasis village, then home to the HeeBeeGeeBee Healers (now part of Nectar Village). Not only did I receive an amazing professional massage, but it was under their custom shade structure that I drank some of the best iced chai I’ve ever had, freshly mixed by a bicycle-powered blender.

Thanks to Nobodobodon and Gwen for input on this entry.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

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