I’ve never been to Burning Man or Afrika Burn. While I theoretically love the idea of hanging around in a remote desert for a week, living communally and photographing incredible art, I’m not keen on the meticulous planning and preparation such an expedition entails. So when I heard there would be a Brixton Burn — a mini burn, so to speak, in my soon-to-be home suburb of Brixton — I quickly signed up to attend.
The burn took place on a Saturday night beneath the Sentech Tower, in a community performance space that used to house a controversial monument to Irish volunteers who fought in the Anglo-Boer War. It was freezing cold (literally below freezing, which is not a common occurrence around these parts), the earth was bone-dry, and the late winter winds were punishing. We weren’t sure the burn would happen at all under those conditions. Thorsten and I considered sneaking away before dark.
Luckily we stayed. The fire marshal eventually gave the go-ahead, with strict orders for all the spectators to stand upwind. The burn turned out beautifully (albeit slightly anxiety-inducing). And I had a great time photographing the festivities.
There was a dance performance before the fire, put on by the Well Worn Theatre Company and the Shade community youth program in Brixton. There was tasty local food and a fun community vibe that Brixton events have become known for. I’m so happy it all worked out.
The Brixton Burn in Pictures
The burn itself was thrilling, both visually and because it instantly made us warm.
We nearly froze to death during our short walk home (I’ve officially become a cold-weather wimp) but it was worth it. I’m hoping for warmer weather at next year’s burn.
Thanks to everyone in the Brixton community who helped put together such a great event.