Firing up to Burn The Man

18 August 2014
Burn the Man went ahead despite the rain. Photographs and audio slideshow: Bridie Tanner

Despite the rain, Southern Cross University Fire Club's annual Burn the Man festival fired up on August 17 with a day of family fun activities, live music and stalls. 

‘Drown the Man,’ as it was being referred to on the day, was conceptualised back in 2011 by Duane Swan, as an end-of-session party inspired by the major self-expression event Burning Man held in Nevada each year.

The day-long SCU event featured the burning of a 'five-metre tall timber effigy' designed and constructed by Thomas Allsbury and Colin Mathers of the Fire Club.

The Swamp Stompers, Parkside Orchestra and Ben Wilson & the Job Seekers entertained crowds who also enjoyed a free BBQ, gem stalls, free massages, belly dancing and hip-hop workshops, as well as face-painting, hula-hoops and a jumping castle. 

Mathers, a founding member of the Fire Club and Burn the Man, said that this year was about stepping up the event and reaching out to families as well as students. 

“Burn the Man is an ‘up-yours’ to authority figures, as well as a hint towards [Nevada's] Burning Man. It also gives the fire club something to work towards throughout the year,” he said.

Allsbury, who still coordinates Burn the Man, expressed his desire to bridge the various student groups as well as encourage public engagement with the Uni.

“It joins the social clubs, SCU fire & flow arts club, OPUS and the media club and gives them a chance to showcase their skills and talents,” he said. 

“Next year, we want to go bigger and better with more involvement, more collaboration and more public engagement.”

As the sun went down and the effigy smouldered, the event moved up to Uni Bar which had more bands and a DJ to keep the students partying.