Blazing Swan Logo
|Begins||28 March 2018|
|Ends||3 April 2018|
|Venue||Jilakin Rock City|
|Location(s)||Kulin Shire, WesternAustralia, Australia|
Blazing Swan is a regional Burning Man event held in Kulin, Western Australia. It is an experiment in temporary community and artistic expression, and is guided by ten main principles, including radical inclusion, gifting and radical self-reliance. The event occurs around Easter each year over a period of seven days. The event location is adjacent to Jilakin Lake, and is referred to as Jilakin Rock City. The highhlight of the event each year is the burning of a Temple, and of a swan themed effigy.
Vision & Organisation
Blazing Swan was started by a collective of artists and travelers who had attended Burning Man in the USA, and who were inspired to organize an regional event in Western Australia. The first such event was presented in 2014. The event is now managed and presented by Blazing Swan Incorporated, a not-for-profit organisation. Membership of the organisation is by application and payment (as at 2017) of a $50 annual membership fee. Members elect a management committee which in turn appoints a Chief Executive Office. The committee is supported in its work by a large number of volunteers.The aims of the organisation as expressed in its Consititution are:
- (a) organise, develop and promote:
- (i) an annual arts, music, and cultural festival which is inclusive, accepting, and safe;
- (ii) other related events promoting self expression, identity and understanding;
- (b) foster and create new art projects in Western Australia;
- (c) develop and support workshops and training activities;
- (d) support and develop community based fundraising events to further the Association’s objects;
- (e) train volunteers to facilitate the Association’s objects; and
- (f) conduct the Association’s activities in an environmentally sustainable manner.
- (a) organise, develop and promote:
Blazing Swan Incorporated's registered business location is the Swan's Nest, at 38 Amherst Road, Fremantle, Western Australia. The Swan's Nest is a large factory unit where construction work for each event is undertaken, along with social events and meetings.
To a greater extent each year, Blazing Swan Inc. is participating as host, co-host, or participant in events in the Perth region. This reflects its commitment to 'organise, develop and promote other related events promoting self-expression, identity and understanding' as expressed in the Blazing Swan Inc. Constitution, Section (a)(ii).
Blazing Swan Culture
The Ten Principles
The Ten Principles were originally written by Larry Harvey in 2004 as a guide to the organisation of Burning Man, and later adopted as a model of thinking and behaviour for participants to follow at the event, and in their lives generally. The Ten Principles apply to Regional Burns, including Blazing Swan. Perth graphic designer James Wickham created a set of pictographs in 2015 to illustrate the Ten Principles, and these have been widely praised and adopted.
The organizers of Blazing Swan have a strong commitment to ensuring that participants are aware of the 11 Principles. They are prominently displayed on the Blazing Swan Website, in the 'Wheres The Fun (WTF)' Guide book, and at the Greeters Gate at the event site. To the greatest extent possible, arriving participants are requested to pause at the Greeters Gate and join a discussion about the principles and their practical application onsite. Participants purchasing tickets for the 2018 Blazing Swan event will be required to pre-register, and part of that pre-registration process is a requirement to read and recall at least three of the principles. Beyond these efforts by the organizers, participants in the Facebook community will raise discussions about the Principles in the period leading up to each Blaze, and many Theme Camps set up posters around their sites repeating some or all of the Principles. The organizers encourage all participants to become aware of all of the principles and understand that they are not single words or slogans, but a interconnected web of thought and actions that live in a wider contexts than the immediate event.
Participants frequently comment on perceived inconsistencies between some of the Principles. 'Radical Self Reliance' is sometimes held to be at odds with 'Communal Effort', and 'Radical Self Expression' and 'Civic Responsibility' do not seem to be a natural fit. The answer lies in considering the principles as a whole, rather than in isolation. This is the ongoing challenge for each participant and for the community as a whole. This is consistent with the Blaze mission - It is not there to provide answers, but to inspire inquiry.
The participant who finds all this confusing might usefully reflect that the principles do not include 'Radical Self Entitlement', and follow the universal precept, 'Don't be the Dick'.
The Eleventh Principle
As of 2017 Blazing Swan, like some other burns has officially adopted consent as the 11th principle.
Photography and Videography
It has been argued that there should be a complete ban on photography at the Blazing Swan event, as it is against the principle of Immediacy, has infringed on people's Radical Self Expression, and raised a significant problem of Consent. Against this is the actuality that mobile phones are now effectively high resolution cameras, and that a ban on phones would be almost impossible to enforce. Over 6000 images of the 2017 Blaze were posted on Facebook alone. The response from the Blazing Swan organizers has been to attempt to educate Blaze participants about consent, and particularly to empower people to 'call out' photographers who they believe are intruding on their privacy. Over 30 photographers were 'accredited' by the Blazing Swan organizers in 2017, with the intention that they would self-regulate, provide advice to the organizers on issues relating to photography, and enable participants to recognize and follow up with particular photographers any concerns they had or indeed requests for copies of images.
Uploading to the internet via Telstra 4G networks is now possible from onsite at Jilakin Rock City. There is broad compliance with a policy not to post images of the Effigy or Temple to social media prior to the Blaze commencement.
The Blazing community encompasses present, past and future event participants, extending beyond Blazing Swan and Western Australia to include other Australian and overseas Regional Burns. The Community has no specific locus, but is broadly associated with the Blaze event, the Blaze Headquarters ('The Nest'), with the Blazing Swan social media presence in FaceBook, and with the wearing and display of symbols on clothing and wristbands retained from each Blaze event. Continued involvement with and connection between the Blaze organizers, the Theme Camps and participants generally is facilitated by a schedule of events throughout the year.
The increasing size and sophistication of Theme Camps has resulted in many people becoming involved in Blaze associated fund-raising, and design and construction activities throughout the year. Furthermore, there has been an increasing trend of Theme Camps sharing experience, work and workspaces, and for special interest groups - such as photographers - to meet and discuss issues of common interest in person or in Blaze specific social media spaces. It may be said that the Blazing Swan community is not only becoming more 'continuous' but also that it is becoming more deeply involving and rooted in friendships and a history of collaborative activity.
There is a notably strong presence of Blazing participants and Theme Camp organizers in Fremantle and surrounding suburbs, and Fremantle is home to the Swan's Nest and the Kraken event jointly sponsored by Blazing Swan and the Fremantle City.
The Blazing Swan Event
The major focus of the Blazing Swan community is the annual gathering and burning of the Swan Effigy and the Temple. Since 2014 the event has been held on a leased area of a private farm adjacent to Lake Jilakin, 15km East of Kulin, and 250km East of Perth. The current lease continues until 2018. The Lake Jilakin venue has exceptional scenic amenity, good infrastructure and transport access, and the Blazing Community has made strong connections with the local Kulin community. Blazing Swan Inc., and the Blazing Swan community are increasingly involved in and sponsoring events outside of the annual gathering, but the Blazing Swan at Lake Jilakin remains the primary activity and main focus of the community's efforts.
This Regional Burn event was first presented at locations near Perth, Western Australia in 2013. The organizers sought a larger permanent venue and in 2014 found a promising location on private land in the Western Australian Wheatbelt. The property owners were approached, and gave as their response, "We will sleep on it and take advice from God." The next day the owners advised that they had decided not to lease their site. This exchange inspired the title of the Theme Camps 'God Said Yes' and 'God Said No'. Shortly afterwards the site at Jilakin Rock near Kulin was found and a five year lease was negotiated on the 30 hectares of private land beside Lake Jilakin.
|Blazing Swan 2013||Bickley||Ignite||2 June 2013||~150|
|Blazing Swan 2013||Mosman Park||Syncronicity||1 September 2013||~250||$15-$30|
|Blazing Swan 2014||Jilakin Rock City||Inception||24–28 April||1400||$145-$195|
|Blazing Swan 2015||Jilakin Rock City||Inspiration||1–7 April||1900||$145-$255|
|Blazing Swan 2016||Jilakin Rock City||Illumination||23–29 March||2406||$150-$250|
|Blazing Swan 2017||Jilakin Rock City||Elemental||12–18 April||2760||$150-$250|
|Blazing Swan 2018||Jilakin Rock City||Beyond the Black Stump||28 March - 3rd April||Capped at 3300||$200-$350|
Since 2014 the Blazing Swan event has been presented on land adjacent to Lake Jilakin in the Kulin District of Western Australia. The site is approximately 15km East of the town of Kulin, and 250km East of the city of Perth. This land is privately owned, but an area of approximately 30 hectares (90 acres) is leased to the Kulin Shire for the Kulin Bush (horse) Races in August, and to Blazing Swan each Easter. Outside of these times the land is cropped and access to the site is restricted. The surrounding area is one of great natural beauty and antiquity, bound in the South by Jilakin Rock, by rock outcrops and a nature reserve to the West, and by Lake Jilakin in the East. The original inhabitants of this area were the NjakiNjaki people. The earliest European explorers in this area in the 1850's were assisted by the Aborigines who led them to waterholes at the base of Kulin Rock, and it is certain that Jilakin Rock was also a significant watering, hunting and cultural site for tens of thousands of years prior to European Settlement.
Jilakin Rock City Plan and Infrastructure
Jilakin Rock City is the informal name of the community and supporting infrastructure and services created each year at Jilakin around the Blazing Swan event. The site has some permanent infrastructure, notably the horse racing track and associated buildings, and the accommodation block known as 'Camp Hart'. A set of dirt roads are graded for the Bush Races and for the Blazing Swan event, roughly following the same plan each year. The naming of these streets can change from year to year. Generally speaking the site is divided up in to four zones: Art Burn, Theme Camp, General Camping, and Service Areas. Since 2016 the Art Burn zone has been located at the base of Cave Rock, with the Theme Camp zone wrapped around that in a rough semi-circle.
Created infrastructure: the Temple and the Swan Effigy, erect lighting, help install art works, set up the Medical Centre and the Greeters gate.Portable toilet blocks are also brought in, along with diesel generators and power distribution systems in the Theme Camp areas Provision of water, sewerage services, and power to the community remains the greatest logistical challenge and cost to the Blazing Swan organizers. in 2017 over a quarter of a million litres of water was brought onto, and taken off, site by contractors. It is likely that in 2018 the organizers will turn to a full cost recovery model for the provision of electric power to Theme Camps, and further reduce the availability of showers onsite. Some sense of the scale of the operation may be gained by noting that the 2,500 Blazing Swan attendees briefly but significantly outnumber the population of Kulin township (400), and even the entire Kulin Shire (800).
Volunteer and Contracted Services
The philosophy of Blazing Swan is that individuals and Theme Camps take responsibility for looking after themselves and others at he Blaze (Self Reliance and Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort). However, some services require more co-ordination or planning, or skills and equipment than could be spontaneously assembled on site. The Blazing Swan organization consequently undertakes to create and support a range of Volunteer Groups, and contract in outside support (voluntary and commercial), in order to provide a range of essential services. These services include security, fire fighting, water and sewerage carting, infrastructure creation and maintenance, regulation and compliance, medical services and environmental services. Participants in the Volunteer Groups are enrolled some months prior to each event and given appropriate training.
Lost and found items are handled 'on-playa' at the Rangers Station (Camp Hart). Following the Blaze found items are taken to the Swan's Nest. People seeking lost items, or wishing to post notices about found items are directed to the Blazing Swan Lost & Found facebook page.
ArtUnicorn March. Some expressions such as the Worm Hole can be traced over multiple presentations of the event, while others such as the Maze or Mandala on the Lake are once-off events, or repeated only intermittently.
Artworks and art expressions may be linked to specific Theme Camps (for example Camp Unicorn Powerrr and the Unicorn March), but many are constructed or presented by individuals or groups who have no Theme Camp association. The Blaze organizers fund the construction of the major structures, and provide grants to individual artists and performers. Virtually all of the work in developing and presenting artworks is done by volunteers.
Art Vehicles: Main Article: Art Vehicles
Presentation, Performance & Interactive Artwork
- HexaMaze, 2016
- Time Ship Dectavia, 2015-2016
- The Worm Hole, 2016-2017
- Crossing Over, 2016
- Chainsaw Carving, 2017
- The Portal, 2017
- The Pyramid, 2017
- Horsuwm, 2016
- Wyvern, 2017
- Sundial, 2016
- Mandala on the Lake, 2015
- Unicorn Parade
- Body Marbling and Painting
- Nude Photo Shoot
- Echidna, 2017
- Screw, 2017
Theme Camps work with the Blazing Swan event organizers to present public venues, performances and services, while providing their members with camping areas and communal facilities. Theme Camps are required to register with the Blazing Swan organization prior to the Blaze in order to receive support including grants and priority location, Registered Theme Camps are expected to provide a significant public offering, and undertake to conform with Blaze, Shire and State regulations regarding buildings and safety.
Camps start arriving and setting up about a week prior to the Blaze commencement. Some Camps erect very elaborate structures, while others present their public offering as a mobile facility or performance, or as a service to the Blazing community generally. Theme Camps are allocated positions closest to the Temple and Swan structures, and are broadly zoned 'Music', 'General' and 'Quiet'. The increasing number of Theme Camps, and the growing membership of Theme Camps resulted in 2017 in some Theme Camps having insufficient space to accommodate all of their members together. As this problem is likely to increase in future years, strategies such as having car parking areas separate to the camping areas, and the provision of separate Theme Camp member camping areas may need to be considered.
- Alliance, 2014-2017
- Anti-Precludians, 2016-2017
- Aruma, 2014-2017
- Artifactory, 2014
- Accept Change, 2015
- Aiding and Abetting, 2017
- Banana Bomba, 2017
- Big Kids Fun Park, 2014
- Black Lagoon, 2017
- Blaze Skate Park, 2016
- Camp Anita, 2015
- CamPassion, 2017
- Camp Random, 2016
- Can't Even, 2015
- Community Roots
- Couch Surfing Chillout Zone, 2014
- Crafty Cuts, 2015
- Dirty South, 2015
- Dream Gallery, 2017
- Dragon Fire, 2016
- Exquisite Foot, 2017
- Export, 2015
- Fairy Tribe
- Far Away Tree Tribe - ҒΔTT Camp, 2015-2017
- Feel Good, 2014
- Fluffs on Tour / Fluff Box
- Forever Tree Tribe, 2015
- Fire Tribe, 2014-2017
- Forbidden Fruits
- Fort Swan
- God Said No, 2014-2017
- God Said Yes, 2014
- Greasy Pirates, 2014-2017
- High Flyers Disc Golf Club
- High Tide
- Huckleberry's Farm, 2017
- Jam Camp, 2014
- Kamp Koasis, 2014
- Kulin Arts, 2015
- Kangaroo Paw Cinema, 2015
- Kaleidoscope Mandala 2014
- Lift Off, 2015
- Live Camp, 2017
- Lollipop Village, 2017
- Loose Suess, 2015
- Mad Hatters, 2014
- Mad Monkey Camp, 2015
- Mike Parry & Associates, 2016
- Moonbase Chrysanthemum, 2015
- Moonbase, 2016-2017
- MoVeMeNt MaDdnEsS,2017
- No Limit Camp / No Limit Sound System
- Outpost Chrysanthemum, 2014
- Outrigger Island, 2014-2017
- Phoenix Dreams
- Purple Moon, 2014
- Papazahns, 2014-2017
- Pom Pom Palace 2015-2017
- Pulp Glitchin, 2014
- Rainbow Tribe, 2017
- Ropespace, 2017
- Serene Green, 2014-2017
- Shiva's Tea House, 2014-2017
- Soul Food, 2014
- SoundScape, 2014
- Soup Kitchen, 2017
- Steampunk Pancakes 2014
- Sweat Lodge, 2017
- Teenage Junkyard, 2017
- Tiki Bar, 2014
- T.H.E. Camp - Tin Horse Experience, 2017
- The Bomb, 2015-2016
- The AntiPrecludians, 2016-2017
- The Associates, 2017
- The Bake Sale, 2017
- The Church of Belligerence , 2016-2017
- The Lab, 2016-2017
- The Library @ Jilakin Rock City, 2018
- The Poolroom, 2016-2017
- The Soup Kitchen
- Temple Guardians, 2016
- Tribal Progression
- Tribal Tribe
- Twisted Jah
- Unicorn Powerrr, 2014-2017
- Warm & Fuzzy Theme Camp
- Wyvernia, 2017
- XYZ, 2017
Participants bring their enegy, their expression, and many of the best aspects of humanity to each Blaze event. Inspiration for modes of participation come from the participants diverse and often rich backgrounds in the arts, science, engineering and humanities, and from ideas developed and extended in other Regional Burns and Burning Man itself. Participants create expression individually and collaboratively in and across Theme Camps, and by their participation in activities within the event, and simply by their presence at the event. Blaze participation is encouraged by all ages and there is a growing demographic of families with young children, overseas travelers, and pre-retirees and retirees (50 to 70 years old).
Specific practical guidance is provided to the Blazing Swan participant in the 'Survival Guide' prepared and updated each year. New and returning participants are strongly urged to acquaint themselves with the content of the Survival Guide as lack of preparedness or current knowledge of the evolving arrangements for the provision of services can severely curtail a participant's ability to fully participate in the Blaze. The Blaze is attractive to and supportive of participation by people who are challenged in the areas of physical and mental health and sociability and social skills, and provides a considerable depth of medical, psychological and social support utilizing contracted and volunteer services.
The Blaze organizers recognize that Theme Camps providing music and dance venues are a core and valued part of the Blazing experience. Music Theme Camps have evolved and diversified and provide very high quality DJ and live and participative music performances. Music and dance, however, are only two of many aspects of Blazing Swan and there are a considerable number of Theme Camps built around artistic, reflective, healing, supportive and playful concepts. Nevertheless, there remains a strong public perception that the Blazing Swan is a 'bush doof', a misconception that is being consciously addressed by the event organizers through a more extended process of ticket purchase, and by greater involvement of the Blaze in public events particularly in the City of Fremantle.
There are constraints on participation in the Blazing Swan event. Firstly, there is no provision for 'free tickets' and there is a strictly limited number of discounted tickets for people involved in volunteering, in Theme Camps and for residents of the local community. Tickets are only available via a process of pre-registration which works to ensure that participants are congnizant of principles of the Blaze, and of the 'Terms and Conditions' attached to the ticket, which include (but are not limited to):
- You certify that you are physically able to participate in the Blazing Swan Event and in any activity or performance associated with it, and have not been advised otherwise by a qualified medical professional.
- You acknowledge and fully understand that as a participant, you will be engaging in activities that involve risk of serious injury, including permanent disability and death, property loss and severe social and economic losses...
- You understand that some participants at the Event may engage in expressive activity and dress, which may include partial nudity or nudity and other types of expressive activity. You agree that such expressive activity and dress is not indecent nor offensive to you, and that you have decided to attend the Event with full knowledge that such expressive activity and dress may occur. If you are accompanied by minors at the Event, you acknowledge that you have made a choice that the minors may be exposed to the expressive activities and dress that take place at the Event, and that you have exercised parental responsibility and control in bringing the minors to the Event. Should you find that any activity at the Event is offensive to you, or to any minors accompanying me, you acknowledge that you can avoid such activity by, among other things, leaving the vicinity of the activity or leaving the Event.
Participants are reminded that all State laws and regulations apply on site, and that the organizers will refer violations of the law to the Police if they come to their attention. The organizers and participants have built and maintain a very good relationship with WA Police who maintain a presence on site during the event.
Getting To and From Blazing Swan
Jilakin Rock is located 295 kilometres from Perth. The normal access route involves traveling through Roleystone in the Perth hills, and further east through the small towns of Brookton, Corrigin and Kulin. All but the last 4 kilometres are sealed roads, but motorists are advised to exercise caution due to the heavy trucks using this route, the usually poor to average state of the road, the presence of kangaroos along the entire route, and the general alignment of the road with the rising and the setting sun. Motorists are further advised to take full advantage of frequent rest stops on the highway, to ensure their vehicle and tyres are in good condition, and to respect speed limits and avoid driving tired or under the influence of alcohol. Police presence on all WA roads during the Easter period is increased and it is reported that vehicles traveling to and from the Blaze have been subject to additional attention. Increased penalties apply to traffic violations during this period. LPG gas in available in Brookton up until 8pm, the Corrigin Roadhouse is open until 9pm while Kulin has a 24 hour unmanned fuel bowser with diesel and petrol fuel, operated by credit card.
A bus service operates between Perth and Kulin on Thursdays and Sundays. There is no taxi service in Kulin, but during the weeks leading up to and including the Blaze there is considerable traffic along the 17km route between Kulin town and Jilakin Rock. Vehicle, truck and trailer hire is available in Perth, but people should carefully check the terms of hire and ensure that travel on the final 4km of gravel road is permitted, and the potential for accidents on this stretch of road should not be discounted. Additionally, people hiring vehicles should check the terms relating to windscreen damage. Rocks flicked up by passing traffic on this route chip windscreens, and extremely cold Kulin night time weather can lead to these chips extending to full-windscreen cracks. Normal insurance arranged with the truck hirer would leave hirees exposed to a liability of up to $500 in this event. Separate more comprehensive windscreen hire can be obtained from major vehicle insurers and should be considered. Some protection against this eventuality may also be obtained by covering windscreens at night with a thick blanket or light doona.
Kulin has only one general store with limited opening hours. Event participants are encouraged each year to pre-order their provisions through this store, but traffic between the event site and the Kulin township during the event is strongly discouraged due to the potential for accidents as vehicles move through the event site itself. Arrangements for shared vehicle usage between Perth and Jilakin Rock, and between Kulin and the event site are publicised before and during the event each year.
Participants wishing to offset the carbon footprint they incur in traveling to and from Kulin (590km) can refer to a range of online calculators. As a rough guide, purchasing AU$5 worth of carbon credits would offset a vehicle's costs and also make a reasonable contribution towards offsetting the shared carbon impact of fire effects and electricity generated at the Blaze site. The Blazing Swan organizers have not nominated an official Carbon Offset Partner for the Blazing Swan event, but individuals have made contributions to 'Activate the Wheatbelt' who undertake participative landscape restoration projects in the WA Wheatbel
Other Events & Activities
Blazing Swan Inc. is involved with a number of community art projects and philanthropic activities in Western Australia. Some examples are:
- Providing significant art grants to the community to encourage creative expression.
- Donating $10 from each ticket sold at the 2015 event towards funding a full-time age care nurse to the Shire of Kulin.
- Partnership with the Australian Government's 'Work for the Dole' program, to help job seekers gain skills and experience that give back to the community and can help them find a job.
- Donating a three metre wide metal sculpture created by Matt Bray to the Shire of Kulin, as a permanent public art offering.
Blazing Swan Inc. have stated that they are not promoting Decompression or Pre-compression events in order to leave the space open for Theme Camps to do fund raisers, but they do co-sponsor with the Fremantle City, the Kraken Event. This is held in July, half way between Blaze events. The first presentation of Kraken was in 2017 in the public areas around the Fremantle Round House. The highlight of the event was the burning of a ship and Kraken effigy on the Beach. Attendance was open to all. Although Theme Camps were present, and Blazing Swan Inc. were involved in the organisation and presentation of the event, it was not an authorised Burn.
Blazing Swan's website..... Blazing Swan's social media presence...
Commercial Media Coverage
Blogs, Videography and Reports
I am testing whether storing administrative documents here is a good idea by adding some of Blazing Swan's documents and asking those who make and those who use these docs to comment.
- Standardised formatting - docs are easier to make and read (some may feel this limits creativity, but I think they'll be okay)
- Centralised location - with all/most docs in one place they'll be easier to find and link together
- Version control - wikis have excellent version history and tracking
- Collaboration - wikis are designed as a collaboration tool, passing documents as volunteer roles change is trivial
- Accessibility - wikis are easier to use (that pdfs) on desktops, mobile, and with screen readers
See: Burning wiki does not have namespace "3000".
- Blazing Swan Website
- Blazing Swan Official facebook page
- Blazing Swan Unoffical Community on facebook
- Ride Share at Blazing Swan on facebook
- Lost and Found at Blazing Swan on facebook
- Blazing Swan Stage and Street facebook page, connecting performers and venues
- Blazing Swan Burner Classifieds
- Blazing Art on facebook
- Blazing Swan Art Cars on facebook
- The Blazing Swan Community facebook Informal Index