NOWHERE FESTIVAL

Dates: 3rd - 8th July 2018
Location: Between Zaragoza and Lleida, Northern Spain

Affectionately dubbed ‘Spain’s Burning Man’, this proportionately pocket-sized version of the event follows many of Burning Man’s core values. With just 1,500 people, it is a much more intimate gathering, though it fosters the same beliefs in self-reliance, participation, and so on. You might call it ‘an expression in creative freedom’; a place where your mind and identity are liberated from their normal constraints, and find space for personal growth.

It was started in 2004, with just 35 people. These like-minded souls wanted to find a place in which to hold a ‘decompression party’ after Burning Man. Decompression parties are events created by Burners, where they meet after the main event to ease themselves back into reality; to stave off the come down of a return to everyday life, the loneliness and separation. The arid landscape of Spain’s north country seemed like an ideal location, and they agreed to meet there.

Since then, the party has grown to many more, though the numbers are still a far cry from the confounding crowds of Black Rock City. Non-commercialism is an essential part of their beliefs, and so everything is brought with you; from shelter to water to music. Ahead of time, various ‘barrios’ are arranged; if you choose to be part of one, you can chip in a little money and all your requirements are arranged as part of a community effort. Some of these barrios can become quite large, forming an integral nucleus of the festival, mini communities indulging in their hearts’ desires.

Music performers are not paid or arranged ahead of time; anyone can perform; you just have to turn up with your instrument – or whatever it is you need. Costumes are one of the most important aspects of the festival, and one can expect to see any number of bizarre and wonderful get ups strolling around the dusty wilderness. There is even a Costume Camp barrio; for a smorgasbord of outlandish and beautiful ensembles. This is based on a trust agreement; borrowers are expected to return their goods after 24 hours.

Since commercialism is banned, anything you need you can expect to be gifted to you, and you in turn will help others (it is not always a tit for tat agreement; more of a karmic understanding). This means that every transaction is an act of kindness and selflessness, which brings with it an exhilarating release from the egotistical dictation of the real world, and helps to create some long-lasting bonds. One visitor described people who have been to Nowhere as people with a special sense of kinship; a shared secret.

They have a strong environmental policy on leaving no trace; all attendees work together to ensure that the location is left as it was found; if not better. Ahead of time, volunteers work together to create the necessary infrastructure for the event. Art also plays a huge part of the festival; installations and pieces are encouraged and there are even grants available on application, particularly for pieces with a strong environmental message, those that celebrate unity, creativity and any that reflect the core ethos of Nowhere.

Making a gift to the community by sharing and teaching any skills you have is strongly cheered, and so you may come out of the week with some new and unexpected abilities. We strongly recommend you bring your own food and drink; though you will have the opportunity to be gifted it, there won’t be anywhere nearby to buy it. Due to the heat and flies, there is strong need to extra hygienic precaution; just so you know…

Children are welcome at Nowhere; though there is a lot going on so please keep an eye on them at all times; and remember the slightly trying conditions. For yourself, remember that the best way to keep your strength up is to catch at least the occasional good night’s sleep. Whilst luxury camping at Nowhere isn’t really an option (unless you’ve got your own stash of bell tents and heavenly hardwood beds), we would remind you that importance of space, privacy and comfort are not to be underestimated.

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