What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well…
Antoine de Saint-Exupery ”The Little Prince”
Once a year the Negev Desert in Israel transforms into a city. A real city which disappears as if it never existed when the festival Midburn comes to the end. The name of the festival comes from a Hebrew word “Midbar” – desert, and English “burn”. The special thing about the event is that there are no visitors or spectators but only participants. Hundreds of happy people from all over the world come to the Negev desert to participate in a huge festival of self-expression, art, music and freedom. No attempt to explain the event is possible until you actually experience it.
The main idea of the Midburn Festival (same as it’s American “brother” Burning Man) is an experiment in Community, Art, Radical self-expression and Radical self-reliance. The City is made of several theme camps and art installations. The participants are always dressed in the incredible costumes sometimes made especially for this occasion.
It’s pretty hard to live in the City. The desert is hot during the day and really cold at night. And the wind is constantly throwing scorching sand and dust to your face. So you need to take care of everything: tent, clothes, food, enough water, sun protection, etc.! It is impossible to buy anything once you are in the City, since there are no goods-money exchange relations.
Despite the hard living conditions, the Festival makes you feel like you are on another planet. The planet of happy, generous and absolutely free people!
The festival gives you a hundred percent reboot in an especially emancipating atmosphere! It makes you go beyond normal boundaries.
There is always something happening in the City: the art exhibits, statues, interactive installations, round-the-clock performances and music. It’s impossible to participate everywhere! You can dance like there is no tomorrow, sing, learn things like sculpturing or drawing, participate in the seminars, or just enjoy the company of people from all over the world.
At night the desert comes to life and transforms into a psychedelic display of light, colour, fire and music.
During last days of the festival, some installations are burned. People are dancing, singing, mediating – use all the ways to express themselves and the happiness that they feel. The turning point of the festival is a spectacular burning the main effigy (here comes the “Burning Man” explanation). At Midburn festival the effigy represented a wooden statue of a man and a woman dancing together.
I’ve got the occasion to participate at the festival in 2015. This is just crazy, how writing this article brought back all the emotions from that time! I will be back! I surely will!