Burn the horse?
September 7, 2007 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Anyone been to Playa Del Fuego? Should we go this year?

The MrsMoonPie and I are thinking about going to this regional Burning-Man-esque gathering. We have various talents, it's close and cheap, and it looks like a generally good time. We're experienced car campers, so that's not a worry.

Have any of you gone? What'd you think? Is it worth going? Any special hints, tips, or tricks?
posted by MrMoonPie to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From my brother:

I've been to Playa Del Fuego 8 times over the past 4 years and I fully recommend it.

It's much smaller than Burning Man, with a typical population of about 600 - 800 participants. In the past tickets have sold out quickly (within minutes/hours of going on sale) but it looks like things may be going more smoothly this time (273 tickets left at time of writing).

There are a good number of theme camps, several of which are regulars at Burning Man, such as Disorient and the Philadelphia Experiment. There are a few dance camps and even more open-bar camps. It's way cheaper than Burning Man and the short travel time is also nice. There's not as much art, but there's some. The pony burn is usually a really good time. It's a great place to prototype ideas for the big Burn. There are always burn barrels going at night with good people and good conversation going on around them. The people have a great vibe and have always been my primary reason for going.

There are typically tent-camping and theme-camping areas, plus overflow areas for unregistered theme camps and tent campers who showed up after that whole area has filled up. If you want it quiet over night you'll want to try to show up earlyish and be in the tent-camping area. As far as car camping, they typically don't allow cars to remain parked on site; they'll let you drive into the event, unload your stuff, then drive out and park in a separate parking field. They do make exceptions for registered theme camps, RV's, and people who successfully convince them that they are only equipped to camp out of their car (it can be a hassle to convince them, but it's worked for me once or twice).

It's often cold there at night, be prepared. The weather is generally better at the Spring event than the Fall one. Be prepared for rain! If it rains a lot, which has happened a couple times, the whole place becomes muddy and some areas become submerged up to several inches. Try to camp on high ground. Bring extra socks, bags to put around your socks & feet before putting on shoes, and any other wet weather camping necessities. It's more likely to rain a lot at the fall event than the spring one.

The further back fields have been used as cow pastures in the past. They don't smell and aren't gross, but the ground is fairly uneven. Boots or hiking shoes help for dealing with the uneven ground, particularly at night. Sleeping in a tent in those back fields can be rough without some decent padding, like an air mattress.

The land is owned by the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club of Delaware. Many of the bikers live there year round and they will hang out at the event and drive around it in their little black golf cart. They are good guys, worth talking to and getting to know. They have some amazing stories to tell and show a lot of respect to those who show respect to them. They also judge the giant naked slip & slide, which is pretty entertaining.

So yeah, it's a great time. If the chance of cold and wet weather totally turns you off, maybe wait till spring. As for myself, I have had some of my best experiences camping amidst the mud and the puddles with my fellow Burners.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:27 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I reckon that's a best answer. Thanks! We're still working out the details, getting time off, all that, but it looks like a go.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:49 AM on September 8, 2007

Best answer: Yeah, that's a very complete answer, well done. The only thing I can add to that is that if you want to coordinate with or meet other PDFers before going, the best place to do that would be on the PDF Tribe site.
posted by scalefree at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2007

Response by poster: Great, scalefree--I got a good idea about the type of folks going. We're in, if it's at all possible (and I think it will be).
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:58 PM on September 8, 2007

Response by poster: Just bought tickets! Whoo hoo!
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:28 PM on September 9, 2007

Response by poster: We're back! There was more of a raver-type crowd than the hippie-folky type (of which we're members), but everything was groovy and we met a ton of great folks. Thanks for the input, all.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2007

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