FROM BLACK ROCK DESERT, NV, TO NOVO SELO, BG

text and photography by Anthony Georgieff

Bulgarian village to host Burning Man festival in 2024

novo selo space site.jpg

Organisers of the notorious Burning Man festival seem to have heeded the lessons of 2023 when festival-goers, paying uprwards of $500 for a ticket, had to wade, owing to torrential rains and flashfloods, through tons of mud in the northern Nevada desert. It has just been announecd that the next iteration of Larry Harvey and Jerry James's creation will be held in Novo Selo, in southern Bulgaria.

Novo Selo was chosen by a team of Burning Man aficionados who were dispatched out of San Francisco to five continents, including Antarctica but excluding western Europe, where things are a lot more expensive, to scout for a replacement location. The original festival, a large-scale desert event focused on "community, art, self-expression and self-reliance," has been held since 1986, with a two-year Covid-related interruption. Novo Selo was identified as an appropriate location due to two factors. The climate at the northern foot of the Rhodope mounatin range is a lot better than northern Nevada and the availability of local sausages and beer is guaranteed as the region is home to some major pork processing facilities and breweries.

Significantly, the locals appear to be more than enthusisatic for the cacophonous situationist vibe of the next Burning Man. They have already started to prepare for the international crowd. Pre-festival goers can already view some of the props to be used in the festival, including a number of dynos, an astronaut, an ancient Bulgarian warlord looking down from a turret, a disused cannon and some mushrooms reportedly grown on Mars.

Oddly, the Bulgarian Tourism Ministry has not picked up on the advertising ponetial of Novo Selo. They were quick to respond to rumours in 2023 that Elon Musk would be visiting a restaurant in a village in northwstern Bulgaria by extending an official invitation to the Space X owner. He never showed up, however.

Tickets for the next Burning Man are already on sale locally in Novo Selo. As their numbers are limited, they will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. Anyone interested should hurry, especially as there will be a substantial discount if you go in person to the counter in Novo Selo on 1 April.

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