The whirlwind of nonstop creativity and magic that is Burning Man has finally settled, and PK Sound is still de-dusting their boots and processing the utter insanity of it all. PK powered Camp Questionmark for another week-long romp on the playa complete with epic music, trippy visuals, and a slew of satisfied burners and electronic music lovers. Over 70,000 people gathered in Nevada’s unrelenting desert to erect the temporary social experiment that is Black Rock City, a community that spawns so many jaw-dropping artistic, musical, and performing arts creations that it is impossible to take it all in in just one week. Burning Man is guided by ten fundamental principles, which include ideas such as inclusion, self-reliance, self-expression, gifting, and leaving no trace. Guided by these principles and their own individual paths, ‘burners’ work and play during the festival before burning it all to the ground, packing up their camps, and going back to the default world.
At Camp Questionmark’s stage, the PK system earned the unofficial nickname of “the most f***able subs on the playa” by friends and fans alike. Camp Questionmark has long been known for its top-tier electronic music lineups, stunning visuals, and of course, thumping bass. This magnet of a sound stage brought the heat this year with a stacked lineup, hosting arguably the best sets of Burning Man for five days in a row, all night long. Well-known names like Skrillex, Beats Antique, Diplo, Rusko, and Griz blessed the decks, plus up-and-coming favorites such as Stylust Beats, Trevor Kelly, Shlump, Sayer, Ethan Glass, Andreilien, and many more. Over 70 artists in total joined in on the fun at Camp Questionmark on PK Sound’s equipment.
PK Sound deployed a VX12 line array system with 11 modules per side and another 2 set up as front fill. The low-end consisted of 35 CX800 subwoofers; 33 cabinets in 11 stacks of 3, which were quarter wave spread plus an additional 2 set up on stage with 2 CX215s used as mid-highs for monitors. Bryan Andres of PK Sound explains “our main goal was to showcase the finest system for one of the best camp locations at Burning Man—and what we deployed could be felt across the playa. The dance floor was teeming with raw energy and the vibe was perfect both in the crowd and on stage.”
Despite years of experience of doing what they love, the PK team (Bryan Andres, Nate Martin, Ruairi Matthews and Kevin Carlton) know that every event comes with its challenges; Burning Man was no exception. The rugged elements of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a prehistoric lakebed, expose equipment and personnel to often violent and unpredictable conditions. High winds roll through and major dust storms are the result. Sometimes these dust storms can bring gusts of 30 MPH or more, causing whiteouts where most people can’t see a few feet ahead of themselves. During whiteouts, Burning Man doesn’t stop and the show must go on.
“When the sand storms kicked up we knew that trouble was coming, the alkaline dust of the desert wreaks havoc on equipment and 2 DJ mixers malfunctioned. The team was able to quickly source backups and the show went on” says Nate Martin of PK Sound.
When the arrays were flown on the stage, they were secured per usual, however, at one point on Saturday night additional adjustments had to be made. The storm picked up badly for about an hour, so the crew worked through it to lower the line arrays for extra security until the weather calmed down. This was all done throughout the show without skipping a set or even a beat.
While each night of music brought even more energy and seismic bass waves, possibly the climax of it all was ill.Gates’ performance after The Man burned. He started his set with an aptly put dedication to the Camp Questionmark team, which is spearheaded by Brian and Michelle Saccomano and Chris Kite. Then of course, the master blew burners away with an exceptional set. Before getting to the end, he shared some extra words of wisdom with us all. “This place is a church of imagination… it’s all about what you do next.”
We couldn’t agree more.
By: Laura Hulberg