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.
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.|
|Most recent event:||7–12 July 2015|
The roots of Nowhere track back 2002, when UK burners started to organize a decompression party in London. Nowhere began in 2004, in Bardenas Reales, and has roughly doubled in size each year, to the current size of around 1500 participants in 2015. 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. 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
- 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, 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)
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.
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