What’s Wasteland Weekend? The tl;dr answer: A 5 day Post Apoc party.
This event is not any of the following, though elements of these have been adapted to fit the Established Aesthetic–
Old Hands at Wasteland are all keenly aware that we must adapt to the environment in order to maximize our enjoyment of our time together. There is a certain aesthetic that the whole event is centered around. The purpose of “fully immersive” is to blend in, not to stand out. There are MANY variations on the theme that can and have been utilized to the delight of everyone.
Dozens of people volunteer to spend many hours in a harsh environment to set up and strike a fully-immersive, temporary space. Being the first and last boots on the ground is a weeks-long labor of love taken on by some extraordinary people. On top of this, many people volunteer before, after, or at the event to keep things running smoothly. So when you walk around with a neon pink fanny pack because you want to stand out, it’s taken as a true insult. Think of it as being in the audience of a play on Broadway or the West End and setting your phone’s ringer to the loudest setting. That help? 🙂
The “cost” of “fame” in this environment is to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE. Use your talents to make cool things (costumes, props, vehicles, camps) and share them with everyone.
If a person wants to go to the event but doesn’t have the time/money/resources to create a camp within the aesthetic, there’s places to pitch your normal tent or park an RV of any size. Clothing is quite easy. Know those old dark-colored cargo pants you’ve had forever and only wear when you’re going to get dirty? The shirt you use to change your oil? Perfect! Learn how to “weather” things by watching any number of videos on the subject!
Each year is different, and each year is “the best” for different reasons.
This was the 4th time I was part of Road Rash, which is a tribe that’s been around for quite awhile. There are specific rules that were created because of this tribe. Honestly, they probably prevented many a true disaster as the event has grown.
The thing to know about us (and any of y’all can object, but y’all never deny it) is that Road Rash is not evil. I kind of think of us as Like-Minded Intellectual Degenerates. The smartass kids who somehow manage to be successful enough in real life to leave Ordinary Life behind and convene together for a week in the Mojave Desert. Many of us have contributed to running the event in many and varied capacities over the years as well, which has always added a layer of Randomness to each year as people are summoned for any number of reasons, ranging from Serious to Silly.
The reason our humor is so dark is because it’s surreal dark humor. We can joke about terrible things because we have a very high moral code and a sense of common decency. It’s hard to articulate because it only exists in the moment.
We protect each other (and the event in general) from Actual Evil. Anyone who doesn’t believe in consent and seeks to harm another will be discovered and, if necessary, banished forthwith. Violence will only be used on the evil. Thanks to the way the event always has been run, this rarely happens. (Thankfully, there are sources of Controlled Violence available for qualified, interested parties.)
We are quite a diverse lot, label-wise, but the only label we care about is Road Rash. Everyone is loved and respected for who they are. We all have different ways of contributing to our camp. We bring things to make our sleeping spaces comfy as well as make camp as weather-friendly as possible. Time has helped us increase the comfiness.
The best way to enjoy this event is to remember that your physical, mental, and emotional comfort is your responsibility. This is a grown-up event. Act like an adult, allow other people to act like decent adults, and you’ll have a great time!