Written by Ben Bjostad (Cheesepants)
We have a new home, y’all! Starting with Euphoria 2016, we’ll be moving to Ooh La La Lavender Farm, a few miles northeast of Eatonton, GA .
Located about an hour and a half east of Atlanta, our new home is an operating farm, in gently rolling hills with a mix of open pastures and fields, old-growth hardwood forest, and replanted pine forest. Situated on several hundred acres, it is surrounded by other farms and open land, with fewer neighbors than we’ve been used to. It is a bit larger than Cherokee Farms overall; although different parts of the land will be closed off or inaccessible for each event based on the needs of the farm and the condition of the land, we will have at least as much usable space as we did at our former home, and probably a good deal more.
The open fields are flatter than at Cherokee Farms, which should be conducive both to campsites and to more bicycles and art cars. The older forested areas are more open; lots of older trees and open space at the bottom, providing potential space for theme camps or art projects under their canopies. The pine forest is perfect for hammock camping, and the trails provide room for people to wander and explore.
It’s beautiful, y’all. Imagine towering oak and pine over creeks and clearings, open fields that are just waiting for the arrival of lights and sound and art and the energy and creativeness of our community. It’s a blank slate. It’s an opportunity to, in Alchemy’s tenth year, build something new while retaining what has made Alchemy so amazing for so long.
There will be challenges to overcome. It is a more spread-out property. It is more rustic than Cherokee Farms; there are less structures, and no showers. We will improve the land, build new roads, establish more infrastructure, but this will take time, and it won’t all happen before Euphoria, or even Alchemy. It’s expensive to move and no one wants to see ticket prices go up more than they have to. It will be important to read the survival guide this year; we’re so used to Cherokee Farms that it’s easy to forget that a new home comes with new challenges for campers as well as the burn as a whole.
We’re going to need the whole community to pitch in to make this a success. The Public Works Committee will have to work hard to improve the roads and establish how to best manage the logistics of holding a burn on a property without the infrastructure we’re used to. Fire Safety and Rangers will have to learn the land and identify how to help keep the burn safe. Lamplighters will have to determine new routes, Placement will have to discover how to best accommodate our city in our new home’s terrain. Each team will have new challenges, but just as our community stepped up to volunteer in the face of adversity at Alchemy 2015, we will step up to provide the extra volunteers needed as we determine how to build our burn at the Lavender Farm.
There’s so many of us that volunteered for the first time at Alchemy 2015. It was awesome, the way our community stepped up in adversity and made that burn happen in very difficult conditions. For those of us who stepped up to volunteer at Mudburn and discovered how satisfying it can be, we’re going to need extra help in making this burn happen. Euphoria Leadership Call Outs are live; please consider how you might wish to contribute your time and energy to building Euphoria!
Burns are a place where we celebrate the transience in life. We build amazing art, towering monuments to our ingenuity, and then fire consumes it in celebration. Through burns, we learn that every blank slate is a new opportunity, every evolution another chance to shine. For nine years, we’ve made the trek to Cherokee Farms for Alchemy, and almost as long for Euphoria. We’ve built a magical city on a hill each time, a monument to the communal effort and creativity of our fellow burners. It is difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been home for so long, but this is an opportunity to create new traditions even as we retain and honor our past, to found and name new neighborhoods and paths, to work through the challenges and growing pains as a community. It’s a chance for the temporary, transient society we build each burn to evolve.
Euphoria gates open in 130 days. We can’t wait to build a new city, in a new place…together.