Last weekend the twins turned 14 months old and we took them to the Alberta Regional Burning Man Festival – Freezer Burn. We went with our good friends Sara P and Levi and their daughters Piper and Lennox where we built our annual contribution; Camp Faerie Tribe and served our legendary home made soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Our soup this year was fire roasted tomato and basil soup with roasted garlic and caramelized onions. The theme for this year’s Freezer Burn was Fighter Jets vs Laser Sharks and Camp Faerie Tribe was on team Laser Shark.
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This was the first burn not only for our twins but also for Sara P, Levi, Piper, Lennox, and Sarah F and it turns out that we probably couldn’t have done it without them! As has become a bit of a tradition before an important trip, I took my truck in to the shop to have some maintenance done only to discover a serious problem that required immediate attention, a lot of money, and a long wait for the requisite part. Too long for the truck to be ready in time for Freezer Burn..
How would we get ourselves, our trailer, Camp Faerie Tribe, and our offerings to Freezer Burn without my truck? So much planning and effort was predicated on the availability of that vehicle and it was suddenly no longer available. We started to throw out feelers to our community as to how we might make this happen, and unsurprisingly, our friends came through in a incredible and generous way. Levi offered to hitch our trailer up to the back of his new Dodge dually which was already sporting the largest truck camper I’ve ever seen. This presented a new problem in that Levi was expecting to put a hitch mounted rack on the back of his truck in order to transport his generator and fuel and we still needed a vehicle with enough capacity to carry us, our gear, and our contributions to Freezer Burn.
Again, unsurprisingly, Sean offered us his new Jeep with a hitch we could put Levi’s gear on, and a huge roof mounted cargo container to carry our stuff, and Sarah F who was also going to Freezer Burn for the first time offered to put our giant brew/soup pot and a baby chariot in the back of her truck.
Down to the wire but we were back in business! We would make it to Freezer Burn, and we would still be able to give back to the community in the ways in which we had planned.
We are so grateful to everyone who helped us get there and subsequently helped us to get through the weekend in the form of support with baby care, setup, take down, and giving away soup and sandwiches. We truly couldn’t have done it without the help we received from everyone including our Freezer Burn community.
For those who don’t know, Freezer Burn, being a regional Burning Man event, is not your typical music festival. In fact, to call it a music festival at all is a dis-service. It is a participant driven art festival where everything that occurs is volunteer driven. If you want music, then you better bring a stage, speakers, lights, generators, fuel, sound gear, DJs, and/or a band. Incredibly, the result is that seemingly everyone contributes in the most incredible (and often bizarre) ways. Incidentally, there were eleven sound stages this year! Amazing for an event with just under 1000 people.
There was tonnes of art (much of which was burned by the end of the weekend), music, food, costumes, bars, and generous, engaging, genuine people, and all of it was given away for free with no expectation of reciprocity. There was even a huge wrestling ring and a wrestling federation to go with it.
We had requested of the volunteer camp placement crew that Camp Faerie Tribe be placed next to Kidsville as that tends to be the quietest place to camp and incidentally it’s where we have been placed in years past despite the fact that we had no kids back then. This year, even though we requested to be near Kidsville (being a camp with 4 children under 2.5 years of age) we ended up being placed right in the middle of the festival! Oh the irony.. We were daunted to be sure, but it went much better than any of us had expected.
The babies loved every minute of it and Freezer Burn loved the babies! People strolling by were routinely drawn into our camp by the smiling giggly babies. We started to accrue new camp names like Babyville and The Petting Zoo (in reference to the babies frequently being corralled in pack-n-plays/baby jails). We even started to attract other babies and parents of babies. Speaking of which, there were a lot of babies at Freezer Burn this year!
Eileen also got to spend lots of time practising her walking and for the first time started to make it more than 3 or 4 steps and started walking up to 5 feet at a time. Eileen is increasingly choosing to try and walk rather than crawl.
On Saturday night (early Sunday morning), the babies woke up around 3:30am seemingly because they were cold so we brought them into bed with us. Later, some time around sunrise Janet was awakened by Eileen giggling and she looked over to find Eileen with a big grin on her face moving her head and shoulders side to side to the music drifting up from the stages below. It was too adorable to be even a little bit upset about being awakened so early.
Sleep was challenging but as mentioned above, the babies did better than expected being in the thick of it. It was an entirely different experience for us being stuck in camp watching over babies but we knew going in that this would be the case and between the teamwork of Camp Faerie Tribe and the help of our friends, we were able to exceed our expectations and still get out to listen to music, dance, enjoy the art, watch stuff burn, see old friends, meet new ones, and most importantly, introduce our babies to this spectacular spectacle.
Unfortunately, we didn’t take many pictures, and the ones we did take represent just a tiny fraction of the incredible stuff that happens at Freezer Burn. I did reach out to another participant and got permission to share some of his pictures to help paint a picture of what we had the pleasure of participating in this past weekend.
We are already looking forward to next year and dreaming up new ways in which we can participate and give back to this amazing community.