Well if you look at it from a specator's perspective, and consider it a "floor show", you may have a point. But if you look at it for what it really is - a gift of art - you might see something deeper.
To elaborate on Stuart's comment: It is not just the gifted art of the LLC - the Fire Conclave involves nearly a thousand fire performers from all over the country. It is the culmination of months of planning, training, and rehearsal.
It is given by the performers for many reasons - while some may just be looking for an audience, the rest are happy to give something back to the community that inspired them to take up fire art in the first place.
Most fire art knowledge is gifted, even outside the trash fence. Through their involvement with the Conclave, many of these performers have built strong local communities around their art, which is the higher goal of the Burning Man Project. Fire performers have taken home the DIY ethic and installed it in their communities perhaps more than folks in any other single artistic medium.
There are also many fire groups that predated the Burning Man involvement of their members. There has been a vast exchange of knowledge between these groups and the Project. We have an opportunity to support them with info about permits, venues, etc., and to provide some promotion by sharing their performance announcements with our community. They can then reach more people locally, or on tour or whatever.
When I watch the Fire Conclave (Which I do from a distance as I no longer dig the crowds, either) I don't just see pretty spinning fire, I see a flaming web of shared knowledge, support, and a tangible effort to make the world a more interesting place. But YMMV.
Buster Friendly wrote:The vast majority of the audience of this show can no longer be said to be participating in the Burn, as they have been reduced to being mere spectators
When have the vast majority of Burners actually done anything more than watch, laugh, yell and dance during the Burn? Being at the Burn is
your participation in the Burn. As always. Unless you are actively on the Man pyro crew, a firefighter crew, the on-duty Rangers, supporting staff, or the Fire Conclave.
Buster Friendly wrote:Has the Burning Man community every been asked if they wanted a pre-show that's even longer that than the burning of the Man itself, or have we all been told that this what we 'want' to see?
Do you really think it is appropriate for an artist to ask the public what it "wants"?
p.s. I'm moving this to the "Nature of Burning Man" thread as it is really not about camp or art planning.[/quote]