Here is my story about my experience with The Everywhen. And I apologize in advance; it's a long story.
I first learned about Burning Man in 1989 or 1990, I don't remember now. I first heard about it on NPR I believe. I said "that sounds cool, I want to do that!" A couple of weeks later a co-worker mentioned it, and I repeated myself, "I want to do that!"
Over the course of the next 30+ years, I tried many times to attend Burning Man, but every time, for various reasons, it was not to be. Either personal finances, tickets selling out, job, home, whatever.
Throughout the years I would talk to people about Burning Man, and more often than not, people would talk about the drinking and drugs at Burning Man. I knew I was not talking to someone with first-hand experience. I always said "If drinking and drugs is what you think Burning Man is about, then you don't know what Burning Man is about." Yes, I know those things happen, but that is not the mission of Burning Man. I know you will find it if you look for it, but no one is going to make you drink or do drugs.
In 2020 I was saddened when I heard Burning Man was cancelled. Alas, another faint opportunity lost. Then, the week before Burning Man would have happened, I heard on the media that many Burners were going to the playa anyway. I slapped myself on the forehead and said "Of course! Why didn't I think of that!? It's BLM land, anyone can go out there! I don't have to wait for an official BM event to go!"
But with a week or less to go, I didn't have time to prepare.
It was indeed another lost opportunity after all.
In 2021 when it was announced that Burning Man was again cancelled, I was not disappointed at all. I rejoiced. I threw my arms up in the air and said "I'm going!" I read all of the negative propaganda, the BLM restrictions, etc. But I didn't let it deter me. I scheduled my time off work, began planning my trip, started gathering my gear and food, and when the time came, I hit the road.
I drove the roughly 14 hours alone, stopping overnight for sleep in Hawthorne, NV. I arrived on The Playa around 11:00am Sunday morning. I found my spot and setup camp. I wasn't expecting much, given the propaganda and BLM restrictions. But that evening, when the art cars started rolling out, I got goose bumps. This was it. I knew all hope was indeed not lost.
I spent the entire week exploring what I could on foot.
By the time I left the "Renegade Burn", I knew I had missed much, but I was not the slightest bit disappointed. I saw so much more than I expected. I was elated, to say the least. Did I see drinking and drugs? Drinking, yes. Lots of it. Drugs, no. Although I'm sure it was there. But I was looking for neither, and those who offered alcohol to me were very gracious when I passed on it. In fact, one playa bar gave me lots of swag, in spite of me not imbibing.
It was a long drive home, and I was looking forward to getting some rest. But by the time I got home, I was ready to turn around and go do it all over again. Over the next few weeks I was catching up on social media and on Thursday evening, October 7th, I found some people on Reddit trash talking something called "Everywhen."
I googled "Everywhen" and found The Everywhen Electric Universe web site. I browsed their site and said "This looks cool, I want to do that!" But WAIT!!! It starts Sunday!!! I did some more research, and on Friday (the next day), I bought my ticket. On Saturday bought supplies and packed my gear.
On Sunday morning I hit the road for a 6.5 hour drive and arrived at the Mojave Desert Everywhen around 2:30pm. On Monday morning the sandstorm put a bit of a damper on things, but I was already there, so I was committed. (most people think I should be committed anyway)
Monday evening I went to use a porto and discovered half of them had been blown over in the sandstorm. When I went in one of the standing ones I found 1/4" of sand covering every inch of horizontal surface area, and even the vertical surfaces were coated with dust. I said to myself, "I'm not going to want to sit on that tomorrow morning."
Tuesday morning came and I took my broom to the group of porto's nearest my camp and I swept them out. Then I did my business. I roamed around and witnessed the carnage from the sandstorm. But I also witnessed people working together to get everything back in operation.
I can't say exactly when it happened, but it happened. The Everywhen Electric Universe happened. The art cars , the exhibits, the camps, the people, the lights, the sound, it all happened.
I was overwhelmed with emotion. I literally cried with joy (more than once) to see it come to life. And live it did. It was a living, breathing experience. The desert was alive with art. The pulse, breath and blood of those who created and brought forth the art.
This was what I had dreamed of seeing at Burning Man for over 30 years.
Was there drinking and drugs at The Everywhen? Probably. But I wouldn't know. I didn't look for it. What I was looking for was the truly magical experience of art that I found at The Everywhen Electric Universe. But I also found so much more than I ever expected to find. I found the art. I found the friends I never knew I had. I found the community that I never knew I was already part of. Heck, I even had face to face conversations with the "founder" of The Everywhen. Try doing that with any of the BMORG.
It was a life changing event for me. Now, now I knew what I had been missing the last 30 years. Am I sad that I have never been able to attend a true Burning Man event? Of course. But this year when the BM tickets went on sale, I didn't even try. I already had my tickets for The Everywhen, both Black Rock Desert and Mojave Desert. That's where I will find my community and friends.
Will I ever attend a genuine Burning Man? Probably not.
I didn't want to attend Burning Man to call myself a burner. I wanted to attend Burning Man to find what I found at The Everywhen Electric Universe. I may never be called a burner. That's okay with me. I found the art I was looking for. I found The Everywhen.