Borderland, the Burning Man event of Denmark

For one week the area within the border which divides Dream and Reality gets to be explored, next to Copenhagen.

Borderland, the Burning Man event of Denmark

This cultural event was held last July, from the 22nd to the 28th precisely in the Hedeland park not far from Copenhagen, part of the municipality of Hedehusene in Denmark. It took place in the wonderful Danish countryside near an untouched lake characterized by a handful of tiny isles within it.

A brief introduction before beginning to explain what it is Borderland is indeed necessary: ​​first of all it is important to underline that this is No Festival, if you are not actively involved as a participant and do not bring entertainment there will be none, if you personally do not participate in the creation process nothing will be happening. In fact it is not even possible to buy tickets for this Event, but only virtual memberships which allow you to participate as a member of the Cultural Association of Borderland, you can get one from the main site or from the Membership facebook group.

This is a “Burn Event” as there are many around the World inspired by the original US Burning Man, events co-created by all their participants where the spirit of shared creation all together with respect and responsibility are the pillars. Borderland is a safe space co-regulated by its members and participants, for this reason photos are allowed with strict restrictions, it is possible to take pictures of people in close proximity only with their prior authorization, asking is mandatory.

This co-created cultural Event stands for the participants literally as a Bubble in between Dream and Reality where everyone is free to express himself/herself outside of the behavioural constraints imposed by Modern Society, without any prejudice or ridicule towards any type of clothing or custom. It represents an escape route from the grey daily routine, the participants, friendly called “Burners” or “Borderlings”, live this experience as something absolutely necessary and liberating, cathartic for their lives.

This event is really something else, once crossed the “Border” of the Borderland bubble, for a week everything will be different. Casually starting conversations with strangers and warmly greeting passers by, this is just the normality of Borderland. (That’s also underlined by the Event’s Guidelines, the importance of being friendly and sociable with strangers).

The only way to exchange any type of property within the Borderland’s grounds is through the act of donating without waiting to receive anything in return, this is also reflected in bars or food stalls (if set up by some members) where it is possible to get some snacks or free drinks (without selfishly exagerating). For this reason, it is fundamental to possess a personal cup, a very important element of the Borderland etiquette. The cup is the item that allows you to receive gifts inside this Bubble in between Dream and Reality, it is therefore strongly recommended to bring one, better if it can be hooked to the belt.

What is indicated by the Guidelines is also to be 100% yourself in constant respect for your own person and for others around you, to be responsible and self-sufficient, to bring with you everything that could turn useful in a week of camping. It is recommended to join group campsites where members take turns for cooking, getting water, and arranging electric power strips, even in this case it is possible to do it through a facebook group. The only real rule is the imperative of Leaving No Trace once off the site, no garbage left on the ground will be tolerated in any way.

After getting a membership it is indeed possible to just go to the event and see if someone needs a hand, for example by joining the “Clown Police” (Borderland’s parody police squad), the “Sanctuary” (First Aid tent), or the “Port” (the reception gates) but it is strongly advised to use the Borderland Platform to start any kind of cultural activity (music, theater, dance and other), or to provide assistance for an already existing project. For example, make use of the “Dreams” interface regarding the entertainment offer, and instead to take care of the organization for the practical realization of the Event is good to utilize the “Realities” interface.

If all of this sounds complicated to you, don’t worry about your judgment, because it really is. To sum it up, everything you read in this article is finely explained on the Borderland Website, even with a First-timers page dedicated to all those who go there for their first time and are considered “Virgins in Borderling Slang”. On that page you will learn how to participate, what to bring, how to find the place and generally about the spirit of Borderland. Organizers will even mind warning you about the flora and fauna of the place, because the Danish countryside despite being beautiful has two problems: ticks in the high grass and itchy yellow flowers.

The highlight of each “Burn Event” is obviously the “Burning Ceremony” which usually happens towards the conclusion, Borderland had no fire ceremony last year due to extreme summer drought and because of the consequent Danish fire ban, fortunately for this year’s edition it went differently. It was set fire at the base of a piano played by a pianist wrapped in a fire-proof suit, he continued to play until the flames started to flare up devouring the piano. Playing a last note, the pianist moved away, decreeing the fulfillment of the ritual.

Such an incredible event where the Border between Dream and Reality is truly fleeting, recommended to all creatives who dare crossing it.

Written and Translated by Gerardo Iannacci

Burning Ceremony, Borderland 2019