From August 30th to September 6th, 2020, Lenny Bee’s Bee Happy Farm at Woodstock Winery was the host to Camp Woodstock for Burning Man 2020. According to burningman.org, “during a time when many are unable to gather in person, something truly wondrous has emerged—dozens of imaginative universe creators built an ever-expanding virtual Burning Man Multiverse comprising eight universes, a Virtual Temple, and a globally distributed Man Burn.
In order to participate in the event, the group had to find a place to base their virtual camp, so producer Jon McCarthy and the camp team converted a large red barn on Lenny Bee’s property, dubbed “The Hall of Happiness” into a full-service audio/visual broadcast center. The former sawmill was outfitted with lights, cameras, computers, and a sound system entirely sourced from the local community. Galaexius Quasar, host of the week-long stream, said, “the community response has been overwhelming with Woodstock area residents and alumni from all over the world making creative contributions including appearances from Jimmy and Joey Eppard, The Countess Luann, The White Roses, The Wild Things, and Artists from The Mothership. Even The Naked Cowboy performed for an hour during the livestream from his parents’ front porch.”
With the art and entertainment industry severely impacted by the pandemic and Covid-19 legislation, Ms. Astronaut and the founders of Camp Woodstock aimed to help create a safe and positive platform to connect, create and discover ways to work together using state-of-the-art streaming technology in conjunction with the Burning Man community and its principles. The roster was open to anyone willing and capable of making a submission. Musicians, artists, actors, dancers, and authors donated their time and expertise to each other to make the camp a reality. “It was like performing in the middle of a three-ring circus without an audience,” said Burt and Sarah of The White Roses. There were only a few people but they were all wearing so many different hats. The producer was also the camera man and the sound guy, while another person was handling the lighting while managing hundreds of emails and phone calls, all while the entire location was being photographed in 360 VR by Joe Fazioli.
Camp Woodstock hopes to continue working together with the Burning Man organization to establish a psychedelic megalith on The Playa next year, where creative souls can come together to experience their brand of mountain magic.
As the members of Camp Woodstock packed their equipment away and extinguished the fire from Burn Night, the people of Camp Woodstock recognized how a community is defined by how it faces its challenges, not by the challenges it faces.