Interview | AfterBURN interview with the Spirit Train team

Image by SION LIFE

The Spirit Train has become an integral player in the growth of Afrikaburn, mutant vehicles and some of the wildest dance floors you’re going to find on the Binnekring. They’ve recently launched a POST Burn fundraiser called Afterburn with 6 international and 2 local acts performing LIVE at the Zip ZAP Circus in the Foreshore. We caught up with Mike & But to find out about their Burn experience, how to dress up at Afterburn, curating their line up and much much more..

MCBN: We know a lot of planning, careful planning goes into Afrikaburn. That being said, choosing a theme for the Spirit Train must always be a tough task. What was it this year?

The theme was dictated by Afrikaburn, and was PLAY. It certainly was between our collaboration of Spirit Train & HBF crews as we linked our art pieces as the train arrived in front of the Station 🙂

MCBN: How many Burns have you been too?

Seven (Mike)
Six (But)

MCBN: How was your experience at this year’s AfrikaBurn? We’d love to know all the naughty details, tell us everything.

We landed with a thud after (once again) realising that so much of our planning had become almost useless – due to outside forces infringing on our perimeters, but we forged ahead and adapted to each situation to create the best of a relatively bad situation.

MCBN: How many people make up the team that is the Spirit Train collective? And how did you all come together? We love the close-knit tribe it has created among dancers and creators alike.

Our 2017 crew was 30 people, consisting of some specialised craftsmen (electricians, lighting gurus, woodworkers, designers, chefs etc). We have a very stringent application process to join the Spirit Train crew with the full knowledge that it is THE PEOPLE behind any project whose energy can make or break it. It is exactly how the concept of the train began and will always remain a core value for us.

MCBN: Describe the ethos of the Spirit Train project a bit more and what it means to each of you personally. 

Mike: The concept was born at Afrikaburn 2014 during a particularly dark time, when three words came to me: logical, capable & resourceful. Three attributes I found lacking in my immediate surroundings, and that moment I knew I had to create something. Moving forward with my partner But Corpaci we knew right away it was all about consciousness/awareness of others & our surroundings – as human beings first & foremost, and ultimately to perpetuate that with whatever we created.

MCBN: Tell us a bit more about AfterBURN. Who came up with the concept and what is purpose behind the event? 

After our first two years of wasted energy on fundraising before Afrikaburn we decided to focus rather on one main event directly after Afrikaburn – it just makes sense. And … well … it’s ‘after’ the ‘Burn’ …. so AfterBURN was a catchy name.

MCBN: What can AfterBURN attendees expects? Will Lobo and Gobo be attending the festivities too?

We have crafted a special wolf that will be evident at the event, without giving too much away. Unfortunately, Lobo lives at Tankwa and is too demanding a beast to bring back to town each year.

MCBN: Are party goers encouraged to dress up?

YES. GO MAD GUYS…. Let’s replay the feeling we all had last week 🙂

MCBN: Building the train must take some skill we can imagine, are any of the people in crew skilled professionals or is this just art of improvisation and imagination?  

Our key artists/technicians were Buffy (who did the original drawings for Lobo’s head and heart) and Charl Bothma (who did our metal work). But ultimately, it was the two of us (Mike & But) carefully planning and designing the look & feel & function of each facet of Lobo, factoring in weight, wind, movement, safety, aesthetics etc

MCBN: You has a vast array of talented international acts on your lineup, how do you go about curating such good party for a fundraiser?

Lobo has LIFE. Lobo has had global reach and we are lucky enough to be contacted by artists from all over requesting to perform on the MV (mutant vehicle). So it really has become more of a job choosing which acts will play than finding acts to play. A great problem to have.

MCBN: What is your most memorable Spirit Train moment at AfrikaBurn?

Mike: For myself personally, seeing/feeling months of planning finally manifest with me lifting my girlfriend onto her cloud swing (aerial act) above the massive crowd and watch her fly above everybody for the first time. Also playing my late Father’s music on Wednesday as a tribute to him, and feeling his presence with that sudden cool weather & rainbow 🙂

MCBN: Describe the Binnekring (Playa) in 3 words

Too small.

MCBN: Describe Lobo in 3 words

Lobo has life.

MCBN: Thank you guys



Monolink / ERIC VOLTA / Just Emma / Batu Ozer /Ali B / Kaiser Souzai

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