In 2009, 39 fire groups originally communicated their intention to participate, and 32 of those lasted through the summer to participate in the Fire Conclave. Membership totaled 1,158, down from 2008, but still making this the largest group of fire performers and support team in the world. In all, there were 726 fire performers, 236 fire safeties, 32 radio communicators, and 44 musicians. These members work long hours to stand in the Great Circle and show off their fiery magic in dances dedicated to the Man.
What has been true for a long time stays true to this day. Maintaining high standards for being a member of the Fire Conclave is number one. The challenge is great: create a creative, choreographed and compelling fire show that furthers the art of fire dance. The tools that the performers use has pretty much stayed the same, while the intention and manner in which those tools are being used continues to evolve.
With memories of the bad weather conditions from 2008, being prepared with Plan B will always be the norm.
Once again the weather started out great, but over the course of Burn Day (Saturday, September 5), the weather seem to be having a mind of its own. The Black Rock Desert, being the largest flat expanse in North America, the weather in Black Rock City will always be a challenge. White outs were starting to rage, and for the second year in a row looked like the Fire Conclave would not be able to dance. That was just not acceptable. So even in the midst a near impossible visibility the Procession decided to head to the Great Circle.
Procession for Burn Night activities starts at the Center Camp Cauldron, El Diabla, which was lit on the first day of the event and continued burning throughout the week. The flame is transferred to the Luminferous (Giant Lantern) that is carried by 16 members of the Lamplighters. They started their journey up the 6:00 Promenade, flanked by the Luminists (lamp bearers), from Seattle, WA, and 20 Bay Area members of Gamelan X.
During the white out, the promenade spires acted as the guiding points for the Processional members as they slowly walked towards the Man. They knew they just needed to keep walking as if like magic they were being pulled towards the Man.
Finally arriving at the 6 O’clock position of the Great Circle, the Processional transitioned into the next phase. Four different musical groups were positioned at each of the entries points in the Great Circle awaiting the radio call. Gamelan X and the Luminferous started at 6 O’clock, 33 members of March Fourth from Portland OR at 9 O’clock, 9 members of Titanium Sporkestra Titanium Sporkestra from Seattle, WA at 12 O’clock, and 17 members of Orkestar Zirkonium from Seattle, WA.
With a radio signal, the musical groups started their journey around the inside of the Great Circle gifting participants their musical delights, which were responded to with shouts of joy. As the Luminferous traversed the Great Circle, each Fire Conclave group dipped into the flame, which in turn gave fire to their group.
Each musical group returned to their original position, which was the signal for the different Fire Conclave groups to begin their performances. The Great Circle filled with the fire and energy of the Fire Conclave before the Man was released in pyrotechnic delight.
2009 FIRE CONCLAVE MEMBERSHIP
- Radiant Heat – Returning Group, Vancouver BC Canada
- Thermal Shock Mafia – New Group, Calgary, Edmonton Canada
- Pyroklectic – New Group, Prescott
- BeOnFire Tribe – New Group, Nevada City
- Heartburn – New Group, Southern CA
- Dreamtime Circus – Returning Group – New Shin, Bay Area
- Fire Arts Collective – Returning Group, Bay Area
- Fuego Azul – New Group, Bay Area
- Garnish – Returning Group – New Shin, Portland, Montreal, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Sebastopol
- Luminesque – New Group – Returning Shin, Mendocino, Willits, Ukiah
- Pois In The Hood – Returning Group, Los Angeles, CA
- Pyrospin – Returning Group, Santa Barabara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Nevada, Canada
- San Diego Fire Conclave – Returning Group – New Shin
- Santa Cruz Fire Conclave – Returning Group
- Solar Flare – Returning Group – New Shin, SF, East Bay, Davis, San Mateo, Sydney +
- The Burn Academy – New Group, Los Angeles
- Tribal Fire Collective – Returning group, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA
- Vulcan – New Group, Oakland, CA
- Colorado Fire Tribe – Returning Group, New Shin
- Ka Mana Lei O Ke Ahi (powerful circle of fire) – Returning Group
- Minneapolis Fire Collective – Returning Group, New Shin, Minneapolis
- Controlled Burn – Returning Group, Reno
- Tribe Vibe – New Group, Reno
- NYC Sparkworks – Returning Group, New York City
- Cinder Circus – Returning Group, Eugene
- Oregon Fire Conclave – Returning Group, Portland
- Aish Tamid (Eternal Flame) – Returning Group, Philadelphia
- Utah Fire Conclave – Returning Group, Salt Lake City
WASHINGTON DC & AREA
- Playa Del Fuego Fire Conclave – Returning Group
- NorthWest Fire Conclave – Returning Group New Shin, Seattle
- Pyronauts – Returning Group, 23 Countries/19 States
- The Firework Collective – New Group, United Kingdom