This year’s scaled-back, three-day Burning Man webcast is now live and running, and you can tune in to watch the spectacular Burn happen live on Saturday night, should you so desire.
As an aging Burner type myself, I rarely shlep out to Black Rock City anymore these days, because my body is too old for this shit. So I look forward to the Burning Man webcast of the Burn each Labor Day weekend Saturday night, which I watched last year. And I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, as the sole narrator of the webcast of the Burn — the week’s single biggest moment! — sounded miserable as hell, complaining he’d contracted COVID on the playa, which apparently happened to a ton of people.
That host who’s run the webcast for the last five years, Matthew “Motorbikematt” Reyes, has chosen to sit this year out, according to SFGate. And with a new team taking the helm, this year’s webcast has been scaled back from eight days long to only three.
But those three days are now underway. The Burning Man webcast is live, and you can watch it below.
For privacy reasons, the webcast is always a wide-pan shot of the playa, so no one’s face is ever visible. The camera often switches to different angles, so you can get many looks at the different art cars and large-scale art pieces out there. That said, sometimes the extreme weather can inhibit your view of this.
I shit you not, here’s what that webcast looked like at several different points Friday afternoon.
It got better at times, but dust storms are highly unpredictable, and there’s nothing the Burning Man webcast team can do about that.
The shortened version may seem like a rip-off. But I’ve had it on for the last couple hours, and I gotta tell ya, they’re doing a marathon talk-show format with consistently super-fascinating conversations. There is occasionally dead air with no narrator, but thus far, I have not encountered hours-long stretches of dead air as the webcast often had during its past eight-day long iterations.
And the big event is of course Saturday night, when the Man burns. They promote the Burn as happening when darkness truly falls, around 9 p.m. The art cars will start gathering around the Man at about 7:30 or 8 p.m., and he’ll be lit up in neon at that point, so that makes for fun watching.
But the Man usually starts burning well past 9 p.m. A cynic might say that’s because they’re trying to tease the audience and build anticipation, and that may be somewhat true. But the reality is that there’s an alphabet soup of various county, state, and federal law enforcement and fire prevention authorities that have to all give the green light before they torch that thing, and that can take a while.
The Burning of the Man always comes with a spectacular fireworks show that will not disappoint. And if it’s anything like last year, we may also get a dazzling drone display, the likes of which can be seen below.
If there’s no narrator on the Burning Man webcast, or if you’re just in the mood for a different host, you can also stream the audio broadcast of Burning Man Information Radio which always has a colorful cast of characters. And if you’re missing Burning Man, it's quite fun to listen to Burning Man Information Radio on Sunday, when you can be soooo glad you’re not in that eight-hour traffic jam clusterfuck which you can hear them describe in real time.
Image: RawWriter via Wikimedia Commons