That Time We Pranked a Burn

That Time We Pranked a Burn

The Shanghai Cacophony Society (also known as the Raccoon Society) are pranksters of compassion. As members we try to invent shenanigans that will trick, confuse, and delight people. One year at Dragon Burn we started a new theme camp that was less than it seemed.

It came about during a site visit. We were wandering around the forest by the lake that would become Dragon Burn later this year. There was always a lot to do. We need to figure out theme camp placement, power supply, safety concerns, and so on.

We were talking about the recent Fyre Festival, and what a disaster it had been, and it sparked an idea. What if we brought the genuine Fyre Festival experience to Dragon Burn? All the details fell into place quickly. To start with, we would film footage of ourselves at the site in order to create a promo video.

Jenny Rumble filmed us dancing and doing crazy things. When we got back, she started to edit the video together, and I started collecting supplies for what would become Camp Fyre at the actual event. Rumble struggled to get a good video put together, but it turned out that Mango, the founder of the Raccoon Society, was actually a professional videographer.

Rumble sent him the footage and he took over the creation of the promo video. What he came out with was a thing of beauty.

With this ready to go, I wrote a quick article for the website (released on April Fool’s Day, of course). And we were in motion. We spent the next month heavily promoting Camp Fyre in the group chats. Talking about how amazing it would be, how we had the best bands, and how we would do everything for you. Our goal was to make sure people were expecting to see an amazing theme camp.

We promised we would be bringing the genuine Fyre Festival experience to Dragon Burn. It was my job to set up the actual camp at the Burn. So, during setup, I made sure that anyone looking for Camp Fyre would find the genuine experience.

It looked a bit like this:

Not pictured: a list of bands and their play times, all marked as cancelled.

The sign is a reference to this clip from one of the Fyre Festival documentaries.

I suppose it wasn’t 100% the authentic Fyre Festival experience, as no one was really stuck and it didn’t become a humanitarian crisis. Still, the joke landed well, and we even overheard people talking about it when we burned the effigy.

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