Festival Henges, 2012! Part Two: Yet Another Burning Man Henge!

BASShenge at the Burning Man Festival, 2012

Way back in January (remember January?) we did a post about some people who were collecting money in order to build a Stonehenge replica at Burning Man: not just any Stonehenge replica, but one made of bass speakers, making it rather reminiscent of the Solhenge made of speakers at the 2004 Burning Man Festival. Well, here it is!

The proportions, height to width, are not bad. It looks as if they chose to reproduce only the center trilithon horseshoe of Stonehenge, changing the trilithons at either end of the horseshoe to monoliths. A sequence of pictures including the building of the henge can be seen here.

Score? 6 druids for these guys! This took some planning and team work, and looks enough like Stonehenge to pass, and we are told that they did align it to the sun and moon, although we have no details on that.

Some research suggests that music may have been among the uses for the real Stonehenge in its heyday. We like potential links to the builders and ancient visitors to Stonehenge. It is possible that a number of things that go on at Burning Man might have been recognisable to pilgrims and celebrant on Salisbury Plain thousands of years ago! Well done, Burners!

Now to the bigger question. Why does Burning Man generate so many Stonehenge replicas? Why, in fact, do festivals in general breed Stonehenge replicas at a fair rate? We are reminded not only of the many Burning Man replicas (mentioned here and here in a list that is probably not comprehensive), but also replicas including the one at the Audio Soup Festival, one at the Elf Fantasy Fair in 2008, and one at Ireland’s Oxegen Music Festival in 2009. It seems that the Mutoid Waste Company has set up a few henges at festivals, there are Hugh Jart’s Dubhenge and Banksy’s Privy Henge, both of which showed up at the Glastonbury Festival on, different years, and of course the wonderful Citrus-Henge at the lemon festival in the Riviera one year!

If we were to pursue the idea (which we in fact just made up) that the original uses of Stonehenge itself are the most likely situations to generate replicas now, then festivals obviously should be generating these henges, since evidence of gathering and feasting has been found in excavations near Stonehenge. One must beware, however, of reversing that idea to suggest that things that now generate replicas must be original uses for Stonehenge, unless one is prepared to assert that crazy golf was common in the Neolithic. Before we would assert that we would have to have an awful lot of that stuff that gets passed around at Burning Man!*

Music, festive gatherings, feasting, observing the heavens, time measurement, healing, intoxication, mysticism, and sport, all of these ancient pursuits and more have connections to modern Stonehenge replicas. When people build these things, maybe they are getting in touch with their ancestors even as they laugh and joke about it, getting in touch with those things that, despite huge changes, have remained the same.

Something to think about, or drink to! Until next time, friends, happy henging!

*Or maybe just a lot of mead. Recently someone suggested to us that Stonehenge was a huge tavern. The alcohol connection, which we have pointed out in the past.

Burning Man Project: BASShenge, and No, It’s Not Fish!

The code didn’t work, but we tried to embed the video here. We recommend watching it.

People are collecting money to create a Stonehenge replica, fully aligned with the cosmos, for Burning Man* 2012. We quote:

Whoever built Stonehenge, be it people, angels or aliens, gifted to us a breathtaking experience for which we are thankful but we feel, through our immeasurable gratitude and awe, that something is missing; …we’re replacing the Some of the Stone in Stonehenge with 100,000 watts of BASS. Huge speakers varying in size and shape will help comprise the imitation stone blocks we are using to recreate Stonehenge. You see, all we want to do to The Hanging Rock is add more Rock. And maybe throw a raging party on a timeless landmark.

 To that end we have: Artists from a wide variance of musical and artistic genres, large scale lighting that will include over 120 LEDS lighting the outer ring of stones, pyrotechnics and fire art, crop circles projected on the surrounding playa, interactive art displays and multiple circus, performance, and fire troupes. This project is currently underway and will be presented at Burning Man 2012  In Correct Alignment with the sun, stars and the moon..

Check it out. Dudes. Notice the gifts offered on the right side of the webpage to those who pledge. For a $300.00 pledge you get “a custom handmade BASShenge Druid Cloak with soft fuzzy lining. Color options available.” Dude!!

Of course, if this happens, people, we want pictures!

*There is a history of henges at the Burning Man Festival. We have posted two others, with links to more: Sol Henge, which was another large musically-related circle (links to a mudhenge and a twinkiehenge from Burning Man on that page), and a henge made of dead computer towers, another item doomed to extinction before long.

Lonnie Hamargren: Las Vegas Nevada’s Stonehenge


photo from Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations, with permission

Imagine that you are the neurosurgeon to the stars and that as you work with stars the concept of celestial stars begins to fascinate you. You have money and a place on your roof beneath the dry clear skies of Vegas that has room for a planetarium, and–hey, why not?–a pyramid, and–what the heck!–Stonehenge. What do you know: you must be Dr. Lonnie Hamargren!

Of course, there are a lot of other random, amazing, bizarre pieces of culture in his collections, but we leave others to reveal those. For us the point of interest is what we believe to still be  his work in progress on the roof: a Stonehenge replica. When we last checked, it was unfinished, pending a shipment of copper plates (!?).  You can see what exists of the replica so far on the roof in the photo above. A little short of halfway down the page at this [link], you can see his hand with a sign saying, “Stonehenge wasn’t built in a day!”

It’s always difficult to score an unfinished replica. We’ll give him 5½ druids util he can show us a completed structure. We are happy, though, to post our first Silver State Stonehenge replica outside of Burning Man!

Back to Burning Man: Dead-computer-tower henge


photo by dratomic2012, with permission (free electronica music at link)

What is it with Burning Man? It seems that the link between the ancient or third-world shamanic mystique and modern cybertechnology, which  many instinctively feel, rises to the surface there (much as it does in some of the henge works of Simon Burrow).  Here we see an installation from the 2006 gathering–a Stonehenge replica made of dead CPUs (central processing units) or computer towers.

Lighting creates much of the drama here, with the red implying activity inside while cool green, which also lights the seared earth, illuminating the inactive. It gives the feeling of a structure in which the parts consult with one another, burning with a common fire.

Score: 6½ druids for this striking vision created from everyday junk that once was wondrous technology and now is coaxed into an ancient form of great psychological power. Modern life is complex!

Stonehenge at Burning Man, Nevada

Stonehenge at Burning Man 2004


This replica, referred to by some as Sol Henge, was built for the Burning Man Festival in 2004. It is actually a sound system, a henge of giant speakers built by Sol Systems, a group of entrepeneurs who tell the story of Sol Henge at this link. See another picture here.

If you don’t know what the Burning Man Festival is, this post is not the place to learn it, but we will say that giant lit-up speaker-henges are probably one of the more pedestrian things about it. There does seem to be an affinity between Stonehenge and Burning Man. In other years there have been a Twinkie Henge (“just like Stonehenge but it will last longer”–2000) and a MudHenge (1996).

As for Sol Henge, it’s difficult to score. It seems to have an opposite effect to the original, not quiet power but fantastic effect, as if it is meant to point one’s attention at oneself instead of outward, and more about the senses than the yearnings. Of course, it may just be a more roundabout route to the same goal. No doubt it depends on the perceiver. Score: 7 druids for the henge in the desert, lit from within.

See first comment for information from one of Sol Henge’s creators!