Words by Solar Santa with Scheepers de Bruin, May 2020
(featured image photo by Gita Claassen)
It was my plan to complete a trilogy of Burn stories in 2020. Like so many Burn plans it crashed and burnt (symbolically) when the pandemic struck. So like all Burners I needed to channel those pent up creative juices elsewhere. Enter HomeBurn. The virtual Afrikaburn 2020. It happened out of thin air. Or so it looked. But as DPW so well know Tankwa Town is built on sweat and tears and I suspected that Homeburn was no different.
To find out I put on my best Burn boots and went in search of the story. And found the perfect collaborator. Meet Scheepers de Bruin. The Free Spirit of the Tankwa. You know him as Skippy. Famed for his bright outfits or the lack thereof. I sent him a questionnaire and here are the illuminating answers. Meet the hidden heroes slaving away in their dark caves to keep the spirit of the Burn alive.
SS = Solar Santa; SdeB= Skippy
SS: Your name appeared continuously on the AfrikaBurn Facebook group all week. So obviously you had something to do with HomeBurn. Tell us who created it so we know who to blame.
SdeB: HomeBurn was more a product of our community than any one person. We had a few things pop up like the Summit of the Tribes which made us very much aware that this is where we’re all heading. To pull this all together on one page took quite a bit of information gathering and dissemination by Travis and Tim, some coaching and coordination by Isa and Subhas, more of the wrangling of the DJs by Snake and Dino, some very interesting learning in streaming by Jeremy and myself to build us our own channel: mixed, composed and broadcast from our own servers. Alastair kept all of the servers humming. Burn TV was born!!
SS: What was your role in the saga?
SdeB: As I mentioned, Jeremy and myself built a server for our own channel to stream and run through. On the day (as I’m sure you know) the WordPress site we were using for the scheduling programme and showcasing of all of our activities fell over due to a bug in one of the modules we were using. As soon as it became clear it wouldn’t come up again, we started building an alternative home page on another server of ours. That is in the end what everyone saw. That particular look and feel was not supposed to be public until muuuuuch later. You know a plan doesn’t last that long in the desert 😉
SS: What worked well?
SdeB: So many things worked well. The way the team pulled together in pretty trying times, the way our community stepped up with the workshops, burns, sets, artworks were just incredible to experience. How quickly participants picked up the tech. It was all pretty good.
SS: What did not work well?
SdeB: The timeframe we had to pull this together in was a bit short. We were all still reeling from no burn, lockdown and everything else that this kinda crept up on us and SURPRISE! That being said it was also quite exhilarating.
SS: Did you get any sleep?
SdeB: I managed to steal a few hours on Saturday night and Jeremy had to sleep in his office because of curfew. It was rather different to desert-based burns because once it was running we could sort of switch the lights off (or leave them on for the dance floors) and just lapse into unconsciousness when the day was done.
SS: Would you do it again?
SdeB: Most certainly. There were too many moments of “Goddamn this feels like a burn” for us not to! We’ve already got the next surprise lined up as we head into decompression and afterglow.
SS: Who did you interact with the most to sort out any problems?
SdeB: After the initial hiccup (HAHAHA) things actually ran pretty well. Saturdays’ schedule was toast, so we kinda made it up as we went along. I mostly worked with Al, Tim, Jeremy, Travis and Isa and perhaps a few artists who needed tech support.
SS: What can you share with us that we do not know about HomeBurn? We only want happy stories…
SdeB: We loved it as much as, if not more than anyone else. It was a hive of activity being alone in my little witches quarantine hut: venturing out occasionally to see my quarantine mates in the main house doing a breathing workshop or jamming to music. I cried a few times, we all cried a few times. Isa had this wonderful moment where she unmuted all of the channels at the same time and felt right back at home on the Binnekring. I laughed so much at the Rule families’ conversation in the background of Mike’s burn – “Are we recording? WATCH OUT MOM” – it was hilarious!
And that’s a wrap. Now dear reader you know where Homeburn was born out of impossible lockdown circumstances. Celebrate the (isolated) heroes who worked their digital magic. This will go down as a historic year in the history of humanity. Which Burners will never forget thanks to the backroom boys and girls and the collective gees of the Burn family.
There’s more to this story – click here for more juicy titbits, and unearthed secrets!