Black Rock Desert in northwest Nevada, home of the countercultural festival Burning Man, is quite a distance from South Florida. But you don't have to make the cross-country trek for a taste of the desert, because a group of dedicated "burners" is bringing their culture to Wynwood.
On Saturday, July 6, neohippies will descend on the Toe Jam Backlot for the 6th Degree Burn. The event is not officially sanctioned by Burning Man, but organizers believe it will appeal to fans of the iconic Nevada fest.
"For eight years, we created a New Year's Eve White Party. It had always been a private event so people could feel comfortable. We got up to 450 people at the last one at Vizcaya. It got so big and people said, 'We live for this night all year.' We needed to do something in the middle of the year," explains Jeff Silver, one of 6th Degree Burn's organizers. "We wanted to create a public event that organically and magnetically attracts people that love Burning Man or are curious about Burning Man."
Their 6th Degree Burn event will feature music, art, and, organizers say, a strong sense of community. The evening will start at 8 p.m. with a meet and greet cocktail soiree. "We're going to play interactive games forcing people to meet each other," says Silver.
At 10, the Burner Couture Fashion Show will feature "local artisans bringing clothes for a fun, sexy fashion show that will start off showing gear you need for Burning Man before getting weird."
Throughout the night, there will also be DJs and musicians including Phutureprimitive, Mark Salner, and Soohan.
Silver has been making pilgrimages to Burning Man since 2008 and previously helped create an event called Orphan Burn, "for all the poor souls who couldn't make it to Burning Man." Last year, Orphan Burn was held at a private residence in North Miami where organizers decorated a 15-foot-tall metal structure before burning it down, while projecting live images from Burning Man.
For 6th Degree Burn, their first open-to-the-public event, Silver says organizers found the perfect venue. "Toe Jam Backlot is going to be mutated into a Burning Man festival of the eyes. There are airplanes cut in half and buses cut up into a hookah lounge. There's a red light district, hot rod cars, tiki bars, a New Orleans house on stilts. It's a wild, eclectic place that fits the Burning Man scene. If you could put sand on the ground, it would be just like Burning Man."
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Silver emphasizes that 6th Degree Burn is not a sanctioned Burning Man event. One major difference: The Wynwood party will have artisans selling their creations. "There is no buying or selling at Burning Man and [that] rules us out of being a sanctioned event."
Still, for those who want a sample of Burning Man life, this will be as close as Wynwood gets.
This story has been edited to clarify that the 6th Degree Burn is not an official Burning Man event.
6th Degree Burn. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Toe Jam Backlot, 150 NW 21st St., Miami. Tickets cost $50 to $100 via eventbrite.com.