Yesterday when I mentioned to some friends that I’ve been spending time at Burn2 this week, one offered to come join me as she’d been a Lamplighter in other events in the past. The more the merrier in this type of environment so I welcomed the company. Fast forward a few hours and I read that they are looking for more volunteers to serve as Lamplighters. I swear I’m naming my next avatar Serendipity.
What is a Lamplighter? Don’t worry, I asked the same. They have some information on the Burn2 website about it.
Each night, when the sun goes down at the annual real life Burning Man festival, men and women in white, flame-trim robes and turbans appear, carrying long poles laden with kerosene lamps. They make their way from Lamplighter Village out through Black Rock City, hanging glowing lamps along the virtual city’s byways, to illuminate the night for festival goers.
Their work done, the Lamplighters congregate at Center Camp, in the heart of Black Rock City, where they are joined by drummers, fire dancers and other members of the Burning Man community to drum and dance and celebrate fire throughout the desert night.
At BURN2, a virtual recreation of Burning Man in Second Life, there is also an active Lamplighter group. Like their real life counterparts, the BURN2 Lamplighters build a nomadic village on the playa which serves as their home during the festival. It also serves as a kind of community center for the broader BURN2 community, a place where anyone can drop in, anytime of the night or day, to play drums and fire dance, or just to socialize.
So Thyri and I found the Lamplighters camp, signed up and were promptly given everything we would need from drums to robes. The robes look so much like the ones I researched about RL Lamplighters that I was a bit taken aback even wearing them. I was really nervous actually because I hadn’t even heard of a Lamplighter until two days prior and I didn’t want to mess up the ceremony. Everyone was so friendly though my nerves were quickly settled.
It was so much fun! The procession from the Lamplighters camp to the temple was a bit chaotic. A few of us got separated or stuck in the lag monster but that was part of the laughs. Eventually we all made it to the temple and the dancing and drumming began.
One of the major highlights of my Second Life and I will always remember this.
Each night Lamplighters don their robes, form a procession at Lamplighter Village and make their way north, lighting lamps as they walk, through Center Camp, past The Man to The Temple where they will drum and dance and celebrate fire until dawn. BURN2 is meant to be a participatory event, not a spectator event, and in the Burning Man spirit of radical inclusion drums are always available for anyone who wants to join in.
You can catch the Lamplighters procession and dance every night for the duration of Burn2. They start at the Lamplighters camp around 7 pm SLT and arrive at the temple around 7:30 pm SLT for the dancing and drumming. Everyone is invited to come down and watch or even join in. It’s really something everyone should witness at least once in their SL. You can find the temple and join the drummers and fire dancers at the end of the procession here
Updated: I had a chance to do the walk, the lamplighting as well as the dancing and drumming afterwards for a second time again tonight. Some of my friends took time out of their roleplay and Gor to come down and watch me and lend their support. I know this Renoobed project that I’m doing doesn’t make sense to some people so your support meant the world to me especially as this was the last night I’m able to attend Burn2. Thank you all.
I have no idea where next week will be taking me, but it’s good to know I have friends, both old and new, encouraging me along the way.