A group of cutting-edge drone show developers are seeking to raise funds to stage an immersive aerial performance that would place participants at this year’s Burning Man event in the heart of the choreography. But with time running out and just 5% of the total online target pledged, the effort still needs help getting off the ground.
The drive to literally elevate the creativity and experimentation inherent to the annual Burning Man desert celebration seeks to raise about $73,000 to mount a new kind of drone show. The brainchild of Verge Aero CEO Niels Thorjussen, the choreographed nighttime UAV swarm would take place around spectators viewing the spectacle from inside protective wire mesh structures. Verge Aero has an established record of spectacular aerial and imagery performances, including its drone work in a 2020 event by then President-elect Joe Biden.
According to Live Design Online – which first reported the Burning Man campaign – the planned performance would be the first drone show ever to enable surround-around, 3D views as lighted UAVs fly around the audience, rather than above it.
Organization and fundraising of the unprecedented drone show for this year’s Aug. 28–Sept.5 Burning Man is being overseen by the Convergence Collective, with the support of the Indiegogo crowdsourcing site.
With only 15 days left before the appeal closes, however, the project has only received about $4,000 of its nearly $73,000 goal, financed by 11 people. That means there are a great many Burning Man attendees who, once the event opens, may wind up sorry they didn’t shell out to make the show happen when they had the opportunity.
A limited form of the immersive technique was tried during a Verge Aero performance on a lame reality TV program (pardon the redundancy of terms) whose name will not disgrace these digital pages. Plans for the more adventurous Burning Man drone show proposal call for protective wire enclosures to be built in cube, spaceship, and other shapes, from which spectators would get close-up, 3D views of UAVs dancing around them.
In addition to those structures, specialized tech like solar panels whose energy would be used to power the show’s drones are intended to be left on site for future use at Burning Man – if, that is, the project receives the financial lift required to get aloft at this year’s edition.
Convergence Collective is, of course, also pursuing corporate and other organizational funding in addition to the modest inflow of individual donations. It therefore may yet be able to come up with the money to stage the performance despite the timid online response – especially if those ramp up as word of the project gets around.
Thorjussen certainly hopes that’s the case, believing his novel wrap-around drone show concept matches the innovative spirit of Burning Man itself.
“Burning Man is an amazing explosion of creativity that happens annually in the desert,” he told Live Design Online. “The amount of effort people spend to create spectacular, illuminated art is mind-boggling. For me, it’s an opportunity to push the envelope and innovate using new technologies and concepts while giving the Burning Man community a beautiful gift.”