Nowhere (event)

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Nowhere is a European arts-based event inspired by Burning Man. It is held annually in July near Zaragoza in north-eastern Spain. Nowhere embraces the Burning Man principles of radical self-expression, radical self-reliance, no commerce and leave no trace but its cultural and geographical distance produces quite a different event. The extreme conditions and harsh beauty of the Spanish landscape provide a blank and fertile canvas for participants to experiment and create. Participation is a key element of the event and everyone is expected to be involved in some way. Everything from construction and set-up, art projects and entertainment through to catering, sanitary engineering and clean-up are handled by those attending the event.

A strong spirit of giving is encouraged and commerce is not permitted at the event. Participants are expected to organise all their food and water themselves, as well as appropriate shelter for the harsh desert environment. Many participants organise themselves into camps to share organisational resources. Camps are often themed and there is a large communal central shade structure called The Middle of Nowhere (MoN), which hosts a range of workshops and activities throughout the week. Other infrastructure includes the Nowhere Post Office (which sends letters, cards and parcels to participants on site and to others around the world), Costume Camp (where participants can borrow costume items as part of radical self-expression), an Information booth called NoInfo, a medical team, and a daily newspaper, the Nowhere Tribune.

From mountain nowhere 2009 3 small cropped.jpg
Nowhere 2009 festival site.
A Regional Burn Event in Europe
Location: Monegros, Zaragoza, Spain
Type of event: Arts, Music, Costumes, Participation. Inspired by the Burning Man Festival.
Participants: 700 (in 2011)
Most recent event: 5.-10. July 2013
First year: 2004


The roots of Nowhere track back 2002, when UK burners started to organize a decompression party in London.[1] Nowhere began in 2004, in Bardenas Reales, and has roughly doubled in size each year, to the current size of around 1300 participants in 2013.[2] It has been held in several different locations in the Navarra and Aragon regions of Spain. The current location is 10 km south of Sariñena, which is about 60 km east from Zaragoza. The 2010 event was attended by participants from countries across Europe and as far away as New Zealand and the United States.

Unlike Burning Man, Nowhere doesn't include fire as a key feature of the event. Due to the dry area, it is strictly forbidden (by the municipality) to have any open fires (including camping grills, etc.). In summer, many areas of Spain, including the Nowhere area, are on wildfire alert. In recent years rural fires have caused a number of fatalities within the fire fighting services and significant property damage.[3] In the last four years there have been one or two nights at Nowhere with fire spinning shows, which are held within a controlled area and with fire marshals on duty.


Nowhere is built on the following key principles, inspired by Burning Man: self-expression - the freedom to be in a creative and liberating space; radical self-reliance - you are responsible for yourself; no commerce - bring all you need because you can’t buy it there; leave no trace - create something from nothing, and leave nothing behind; participation: get involved – this is not an event for spectators.

About the event[edit]

Origin of the name

In 2004, at the first Nowhere event, there was a public board to suggest names for the event. Out of it came the formalization of the name Nowhere. According to Bongo Pedro, the first mention of the name Nowhere occurred in a thread discussing names for the event. Armand wrote that he couldn't wait to meet us all in the "middle of nowhere". Three people liked the idea of Nowhere as a name and none of the other ideas got more than one vote each.

The following story is a lucky coincidence about the origin of the name: it was suggested the name came from a sign showing Welcome to Nowhere outside the only store and gas station in Empire, Nevada,[4][5] the second-to-last town on the way to Burning Man; it consists only of a few houses and is literally in the middle of Nowhere, the Nevada desert.


The landscape in the region of Monegros near Zaragoza is very dry and has a desert-like feel. Some canyons around Nowhere resemble the desert in Nevada. There is a lot of agriculture close to the Nowhere location, but it depends heavily on a well-developed irrigation system with water from the Pyrenees. The areas south of Nowhere are not densely populated at all - there are a few farming towns far apart from each other.

Middle of Nowhere (MoN)

Central shade structure which is a public space for relaxing, dancing, workshops and socializing.

Barrios (aka Theme Camps)[edit]

A Barrio is a group of people who camp together, have a common infrastructure (kitchen, shade structure) and typically provide a certain service or attraction to other participants. Theme camps are a vital part of Nowhere.

Those that went before

  • Road2Nowhere 2004-2006: Home to volunteers, organizers and everybody else
  • The Burrow 2005–2009: First three geodesic domes. First theme camp, fully erected kitchen with three sinks.
  • The Pirates 2005. First theme camp: Rival and only neighbour of the Burrow, provided soundsystem for the two camps to share and the 'Singin in the Rain' fireshow.
  • Hotel Palas - aka The Spanish camp 2004-2006: Artists, and co-founders of Nowhere
  • Rockstars/Aröckalypse 2007–present: Loud music. Rock church lowered into the ground. Vaguely re-incarnated as 'Never never learn'
  • Lemmings 2007-2008: Home of trance music
  • Fight Club/Nowhere Ninja Academy/Last Chance Saloon/Funhaus 2006–2009: Stable wooden main structure. Ball pit. Sound system.
  • Pandemonium Circus 2008: Trapeze acts, Lots of clowns
  • The Village 2008: The Belgian camp: A quiet chill out space/shade structure
  • AntArtica-Icecamp 2009: Gifted free ice to everybody
  • Music es mi vida 2009: Italian crew, largest sound system - changed to 'The Garden of joy' in 2010.
  • Cafe Cairo 2009: Dome made out of tree branches, musical instruments
  • Momma Messy's Kitchen 2009
  • Yes Please! 2009-2010: Chill tent with infinite amount of soft carpet. Renamed to 'Why Not'.
  • Soleil-le-vent 2009: Belgian
  • Nodrama Piano Bar 2009: Friendly neighborhood hangout with a piano
  • Paint Tipi 2009: French
  • Crossroads 2009: Coffee lounge with plenty of fresh coffee day and night, close to the mountain
  • The pool 2009 : French, video projections
  • Bubble camp 2010 : French, with a giant bubbles workshop
  • Le bois rieur 2011 : French, small chillout space with a fountain
  • Paradisihamac 2011-2012: Chillout hammock camp.

Current Barrio's

  • Werkhaus 2007–present: Official NORG camp, DPW connections. Large kitchen that feeds 80 people
  • Chuchichäschtli/Elite Porn Academy 2006–present: The Swiss camp. Home to several installations.
  • Camp Babycham 2009–present: Double dome construction, beautiful bar and coffee in the morning
  • Cathode Ray Mission 2010–present: Movie's screened every night. Also the cloud art car.
  • Chuchichästli of Doom 2011–present: The camp with the unpronounceable name. Shade area and Swiss treats.
  • Costume Camp 2010–present: Provides costumes of all types to everyone. Also cat walk shows.
  • EatYourArtOut 2010–present: Support camp for all artists.
  • Pillage Village 2012–present: The roving pirate ship.
  • Sssh! 2010–present: Healing and meditation camp. Massages and plenty of workshops every day.
  • Top of Nowhere 2011–present: Shade and chillout space at the top of slope.
  • The Garden 2010–present: Biggest sound system on the Playa!
  • Touch and Play 2012–present: Camp for creative exchange of thoughts, feelings and physicality
  • Übertown 2005–present: Party camp who rival The Garden for largest sound system
  • Fluöpolar 2012–present: French camp offering a yearly fluopainting night and hosting several installations.
  • Krampouz 2012–present: French-Begian-Luxembourgish offering crepes everydays
  • The Flaming Merkin 2014–present: Serving the finest Margaritas.

Nowhere related Theme Camps at Burning Man[edit]

Cult of Alice (2004)

One of the first European camps was Cult of Alice. It had about 35 people in it from across Europe in it and was led by SnowStorm.

Interplanetary Dance Commandos (2005)

Returned to the playa in the place of Cult of Alice. They brought dancing to your party and British sweets to your palate.

Quixote's Cabaret Club and Bar[6] (2006–present)

Started by the London couple Emma and Monty in 2005. In 2005, it was a 20 ft x 40 ft enclosed stage made of scaffolding and tarpaulin, with a borrowed sound system and the world’s finest 50-buck homemade lighting rig. In 2008, the camp had over 80 participants and has its own storage facility in Reno, Nevada. The camp featured a cabaret featuring a Burlesque Show in 2005 and 2006.

Nowhere Omnibus[7]

Camp/Installation at Burning Man 2009. The Nowhere Omnibus was simultaneously an interactive art experience and an actual service. It combined physical installations around the Esplanade, in the form of idealized bus stops, with a traditional London Routemaster bus, which circumnavigated the playa, to a tight schedule, every day of Burning Man.

Black Rock International Burner Hostel (BRIBH)[8]

Hagey (Reno NV) operated the burner hostel for nine years. In the later years he was assisted by Kiwi and Irish. The burner hostel created a space for people to go Burning Man. In 2008, the burner hostel did not operate.[9]

London Decompression Party[edit]

The London decompression party lasts one long night and everyone dresses up in costumes.

Year Exact Date Location Participants
2001  ??? Room above the Dogstar pub in Brixton 50
2002 Dec 20-22nd Epping Forrest YHA, three-day event 80
2004 4th Dec. 491 Gallery 150
2005 3rd Dec. 491 Gallery 311
2006 2nd Dec. 491 Gallery 400
2007 1st Dec. Synergy Centre, Brixton 550
2008 5th Dec. Arcades/former parking garage under a train bridge, South London 1100

See also[edit]


External links[edit]