Since man first attained control of fire, it has played a monumental role in uniting people, thus it is no wonder that there is a group of folks who meet each year outside of Austin to build beautiful and elaborate wooden structures dedicated to burn in effigy and unite a temporary society of neo-tribal villagers in celebration of life, creativity and the worship of pyre itself. Modeled after the festival, Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock desert, Burning Flipside is a full psychedelic sensory experience that will catapult any previously held ideas of art and self expression into vast mind expanding dimensions of daring communication and provocative human creation.
Because Flipside is a temporary community with values based in acceptance, giving and self expression, people feel liberated to make a radical declaration of their true identity. A leisurely stroll down the paths at Flipside might lead you to encounter a gentleman with a tutu and a parasol waiting in line to get his hair washed at the Barbie Day Spa, or a crowd of party goers dressed in glo stick suits cruising down the dirt road on any one of the many portable themed bar cars, art cars and mutant vehicles, some equipped with their own pyrotechnics. There is a three story metal pyramid structure you can climb to get a full panoramic view of the psychedelic weirdness that makes up the glowing neon village on the ground below. Arc Attack is there with their electronic drum kit that is hard wired into two enormous Tesla coils that deliver thunderous bolts of lightning to a metal and plexiglass safety cage filled with dancing new age villagers in costumes that would make cirque du soliel jealous.
As tradition suggests, the giant wooden effigy is burned on the last night of the mass camp out in a field while the entire village convenes in solidarity to witness the blazing inferno. This year’s scene included a two story elaborate arch shaped effigy complete with a rock climbing wall, a slide, and a performance stage. There were people wearing firework helmets (that’s right), fire dancers and general kaleidoscopic chaos amidst a sea of well dressed happy campers with Austin’s own, Interstellar Transmissions providing an auditory backdrop of meditative tribal shamanic rock. (Videos of the burn can be found on Youtube.)
It is impossible for me to recount all of the insanity that is the Flipside experience in these few paragraphs, just make sure you get your ticket early next year, stock up on whatever it is that makes you happy, and jump in feet first to this hallucinogenic electro orgy, if you dare.