Year 3, or maybe 4 of attending Burning Tango gives me a slight perspective on things. A good perspective on what this festival is, and what it isn’t. So what exactly do I see Burning Tango as?
What is Burning Tango?
Unlike last year, I was able to attend pretty much a majority of the festival and not just a single Sunday. With global warming and all, the climate at this years Burning Tango wasn’t as crazy as it was in the past. The venue might have just been better cooled, but the systems did indeed look exactly the same. The blind however were indeed pulled down much better than in previous years, and with some cloudier days, much more comfortable, yet more difficult to photograph. Can’t say exactly for certain compared to last year (only attended one day), but indeed from the the previous couple.
What is Burning Tango to me? After these years, Burning Tango is quite a bit different than other festivals in it’s general feel. It’s not huge and with a bunch to do, yet it’s not really small and intimate. I find this festival brings me feelings of something not quite in between. Those who attend really vary, but the crowd is on the older side, with a wide variety of dance levels.
This festival really seems to have groups of people, and it’s pretty noticeable at times. A number of houses are rented out for this festival for the selected group, and you can usually find many of them hanging out together between and after the dances and/or classes. Even those who camp all usually hang together. The groups aren’t exclusive, so it still feels welcoming. What this festival feel like compared to others, this festival feels like a reunion for friends and family.
When you’re here, you’re…
When you’re here, you’re family. If you’re new, you’ll get adopted into one. Maybe it’s because there are so few place to stay that people group up, but you will find yourself chatting and hanging out in the wonderful town of McCloud with someone! There are a few different parties and shindigs at the end after all is said and done which does round off the festival which you don’t find in most others, or at least not as exclusive as many others.
The classes and mixers do have the same vibe, and the festival brings advanced and beginners alike. The classes at the pre-burn events I am told are really wonderful. Due to my normal job, I was unable to attend those, but they are always talked about highly by those who attend. They are smaller than the usual classes, and you get much more attention and help.
One things that I was happy to see, was the big guided practica with all the teachers, they were all super nice, helpful, and gave everyone that they could, their attention. Some fun banter, some additional demonstrations, and got everyone involved. The performances during the evenings were very fun and lighthearted, not super serious. Once again, bringing me back to the idea that this was a weekend of dancing, with your dancing family!
This festival is just a short drive away for me, and while I’m living so close, I’m sure I will keep attending. Would I travel to this festival… that is the question I am wondering about. If I know people, a good group who is going, I totally would go just for that group of friends and my extended tango family. Not knowing someone and just attending this festival I feel would be a lot harder. You would get adopted by people there for sure if you were attending solo, but that also makes it hard to recommend to someone new.
Not saying there are things really lacking at this festival, it’s exactly as advertised, and is a lot of fun. There is however always one of the Alternative DJ sets which feel really questionable (Jessica rocked it this year at Ax & Rose, and I missed Emily Webs morning 50/50), this year was the same on the all Alternative. The traditional felt very familiar, and nothing stood out as exceptionally different, which is a good thing. The dance hall did get 2 additional speakers in the back of the room, so acoustics were MUCH better than previous years.
I like the people, my friends who go, and the festival is enjoyable. I’m lucky it’s close by, but if I could get a group of 6-10 friends to all go down with me, and room together, this is the festival to do it at! This feel like the perfect get together weekend tango trip with friends. Other festivals just don’t quite have that same feeling. Is it the best festival out there, no, it’s indeed not for everyone, but get a group to attend, and it turns into a great time. Floor is okay, music is fine, dancer level varies, teachers are incredible, and close by for me, so this is one I will keep coming to.