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An effigy burns during the 2015 Mosaic Experiment event. 

Burning Man is coming to Southeast Ohio as the Mosaic Experiment

People have the chance to have fun and "leave no trace" at the Mosaic Experiment starting Thursday morning. 

The Mosaic Experiment, an official regional event of Burning Man, is a four-day camping and music event in Rutland. Burning Man is a yearly music festival that sets up a temporary, leave-no-trace community in Nevada. The all-age event is based on Burning Man’s 10 Principles and is run entirely by volunteers. Regional Burning Man events are meant to bring the principles to local areas away from the desert and bring people together.

“Everyone is so welcoming,” Elizabeth Braithwaite, the co-leader of first aid, said. “It’s like a big family there.”

The event is an intimate setting where people can come together to share music, art and the camping experience. The event will not have any vendors, so participants are expected to bring their own food and any other necessities. 

“You’re camping on open plains, it’s days of being off the grid and being self-reliant,” Braithwaite said. “We try to leave no trace afterwards — it’s a big deal.”

Claire Brockman, a junior studying psychology, said she would be interested in attending the Mosaic Experiment.

“A lot of my friends have done it, and they’ve had nothing but good things to say about those kinds of festivals,” she said.

Brockman said she wishes people would try their best to leave no trace in everything they do.

“We’ve already had a really bad impact on this world, but it’s really cool that we have something to all come together to party and go nuts, and when you leave, you clean up,” she said. “It teaches people that you can clean (up) after yourself.”

The Mosaic Experiment will also have musicians from different genres. 

“There will be a lot of DJs and electronic music — there’s a camp dedicated to live music — and wandering musicians,” Braithwaite said. “It’s very different. If you have an instrument, bring it. Someone will play with you.”

Braithwaite said she has seen participants twirling fire, playing music and gifting food and drinks they brought from home.

“Last year someone brought beer they brewed at home to share,” Braithwaite said.

The Mosaic Experiment’s theme this year is “Future Past.” Braithwaite said the idea comes from how older generations predicted what the future would look and how the future was portrayed in film.

“The nice thing is, is that anyone can interpret (the theme) however they want,” Braithwaite said.

Every year a group of artists and volunteers at the Mosaic Experiment design and build an effigy, or large wooden structure, inspired by the theme. Participants can apply for multiple art grants, including a $1,500 grant specifically for building the effigy. 

Participants don’t know what the effigy will be until they arrive at the event.

“On Saturday night there’s a big burn party of the effigy,” Braithwaite said. “It’s phenomenal, and it’s the big highlight of the entire event.”

The party will include dancing and music until early Sunday morning. 

Younger participants will have the option to do activities in the children's area throughout the duration of the event. 

“I’d be nervous if there were kids running around,” Brockman said. “But I think (the event) could be very eye-opening (for children) to see how different people live.”

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Braithwaite said everyone at the event felt like family, and that the people were open and accepting.

“You could show up there with just a ticket and they would take care of you,” she said. 

Braithwaite added that she felt completely safe going alone to the festival.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Braithwaite said. “Anyone who’s open-minded who wants to broaden their understanding of the human experience should try it once.”


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