I recently attended Apogaea, the Colorado Regional Burning Man burn, which was an experience like no other. The event ran from June 5th-9th, 2024, and as always, it was a celebration of community, creativity, and radical self-expression. This year’s theme, “Surreal Safari,” set the stage for a whimsical and transformative adventure.

The atmosphere was electric with anticipation and excitement from the moment I arrived. The vibrant decorations and art installations transported us into a fantastical world where imagination reigned supreme. The event grounds were filled with theme camps offering unique experiences, as well as activities encouraging participation and interaction. The extended five-day format allowed for deeper immersion, giving everyone ample time to explore, connect, and create lasting memories.

As I navigated through the myriad art pieces and interactive exhibits, I was constantly in awe of the participants’ creativity and effort. The “Surreal Safari” theme inspired various artistic expressions, from whimsical animal sculptures to elaborate jungle-themed installations. Each corner of the event revealed something new and unexpected, making every moment a discovery.

The sense of community was palpable, with people coming together to share their talents, resources, and stories. Whether through spontaneous performances, collaborative art projects, or simply sharing a meal, the connections made at Apogaea were genuine and heartfelt. This collective spirit of generosity and openness truly embodied the essence of the event.

A Burner enjoying art at Apogaea

The 11 Principles of Apogaea

Apogaea, like Burning Man, is guided by core principles that shape the culture and experience of the event. They are Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, Immediacy and Consent. These principles fostered a welcoming, creative and responsible environment, ensuring everyone felt included and respected.

My Personal Experience

Camp Cheesus Crust

I was a proud member of Camp Cheesus Crust, a food camp that quickly became a beloved part of the Apogaea experience. Every night from 1:00-3:00 AM, the disciples of Cheesus Crust served the body of Crust, which is grilled cheese, to the people. The joy of sharing food and seeing the delight on people’s faces was gratifying.

Camp at Apogaea

Happy Tap

Much of my time was also spent at the nearby sound camp Happy Tap. Happy Tap offered various music, tasteful decorations, and good company. It was a haven where I could dance, relax, and connect with others in a vibrant and welcoming environment.

Camp Happy Tap

Lodge of Rich Weirdos

One of the highlights of my adventure was participating in a bounty from the Lodge of Rich Weirdos. This task involved bringing a surreal creature back to their camp for assessment. The hunt was challenging and fun, pushing me to engage with the event’s theme in a deeply immersive way.

The Conclave and Final Night

The last evening of Apogaea culminated in the Conclave, a celebration of the art and fire that brought all in attendance together. Since we were in Trinidad and under a partial fire ban, we could not burn the effigy down entirely, but it was ever present.

Mesmerizing performances by fire performers accompanied this symbolic act of renewal and rebirth. The flames danced against the night sky, creating a captivating spectacle that perfectly encapsulated the spirit of Apogaea.

The Conclave at Apogaea

A Regional Burn for the Ages

Apogaea 2024 was an unforgettable experience that embodied the spirit of the Burning Man principles with added emphasis on consent. It was a celebration of creativity, community, and radical self-expression, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Colorado wilderness.

Every moment was magical, from serving grilled cheese at Camp Cheesus Crust to dancing at Happy Tap and completing a surreal bounty. I left the event feeling inspired, connected and grateful to be part of such a unique and transformative community.

Want to learn more about other Colorado events? Head to Party Guru to get the latest and greatest info, news and more!

Photos by Daren Lee

Recommended Posts