This year, alumnus John Deming (MPhil, 1987) was a free alumni guide to any Cambridge alumni “brave, curious or dumb enough” to attend Burning Man.
This annual tradition sees a temporary city of approximately 70,000 people create an oasis of art and unique culture on the arid ‘Playa’ of the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. The playa is alive for several weeks as the community comes together to rebuild it with impossible art installations and displays, before completely vaporising without a trace when the event is over.
Not only is the event considered the hardest to access in North America, tickets are usually instantly sold out months before. But why is this event so popular? Well for one, it’s said that describing Burning Man to someone who hasn’t gone is like describing colour to a blind man – one way to describe how unique the event is. The city has no forms of commerce, which means no bands, no advertising, no money, no garbage collection; virtually nothing can be bought, everyone must pack in and pack out what they need to survive. For this reason, Reno, which is about 120 miles south of the event, is known as the ‘base camp’ for all essential resources – and John Deming, generously acts as the resource for Cambridge alumni travellers.
We are thrilled to hear that alumni like John, continue to be a friendly, familiar face to alums all over the world – a true testament to the Hughes Hall and Cambridge alumni network.