9 of the Coolest Art Cars from Boogaloo Art Car & Music Festival
On a stony path alongside a lake rests a silver pirate ship adorned with glimmering objects. Further down the trail, on a matted-down patch of shady grass, a giant, green dung beetle appears, cozily nestled among the trees. Music slaps through the air as the smells of sage, cannabis, tobacco and palo santo mingle into that familiar festival fragrance. At Boogaloo Art Car & Music Festival at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, California, art cars became places of worship for attendees to dance to their beloved musical deities. One of the largest gatherings of mutant vehicles outside of Burning Man, these are some of Boogaloo's most memorable of 2017.
The Pearl Necklace
This 80-foot pirate ship took its maiden voyage at Boogaloo last weekend before sailing to the playa for its first Burning Man this fall. Equipped with a massive wall of sound, piercing lasers, and a name that elicited giggles with its innuendo, the Pearl Necklace kept the dust high with its heart-palpitating lineup of DJs. Located on the outskirts of the event, Lonely Boy, Loomer, Davoid, and Ejagz were among those at the helm.
Charlie the Unicorn
Created in 2011 by divaDanielle and a crew of artists, crafters, and DJs, Charlie the Unicorn has become an iconic art car both on and off the playa. During the day, this whimsical behemoth attracted kids dressed as superheroes, dinosaurs and fairies, who danced to house and techno music on stage. After sundown, however, it quickly turned into the best kind of freak show. This Los Angeles-based creature featured performances from the aforementioned divaDanielle, Vanilla Ace, DJ Dan, Fritz Carlton and Josh Billings. The constant thump of house music kept this stage, as Camp Charlie says, “unicorning so hard.”
Boogaloo’s eponymous art car, this 26-foot tall dung beetle is Los Angeles-based Burning Man camp Dirty Beetle’s mascot. This crew of fun-loving troublemakers headed by Brian Crain (who is also known as Lou E. Bagels and half of 2Tight) built the entire event around their beloved arthropod. Boogaloo and crew are the heart of this festival, with performances by A.Skills vs. Z-Trip, The Funk Hunters, Mark Farina, and Jeremy Sole right in the core of the beetle's abdomen. As clowns and hoopers danced atop Boogaloo, the dance floor was decorated by spectacular attendees donning all the finest festival regalia, toys and hand-made totems.
You are more likely to find attendees lounging on this plush and padded flatbed rather than dancing, though it is often blaring music. After speaking to a slurring, intoxicated passenger who claimed to be the creator, explaining how she found the inspiration to build “the twerking turkey” during her most recent trip to Mars, it was eventually discovered that the true creator goes simply by Fuzzy Bunny—he and Paul Swek are the leaders of the Fucking Flamingos camp at Burning Man. A Boogaloo fixture, Big Pink certainly attracts an otherworldly crowd of nappers, trippers and relaxers.
“In Bulgaria after New Years, there is a huge festival, or holiday, where people dress up in crazy masks to scare off evil spirits,” says Petar Ivanov, one of the five creators of this six-month-old art car. “They are called kuker.” The masks come in an array of styles ranging from elaborate animal faces to nightmarish humanoid creatures. Depending on how your night is going, a sighting of Kuker can either be delightful or frightful.
The Las Vegas-based Clean Carriage is an art trailer and traveling store with a mission of providing showers for crusty and dusty attendees. Founded by Dennis Rotsch and fully crowdfunded, it also functions as the Clean Carriage Soap Company, which create high-quality, plant-based soaps. This little oasis was a place to refresh and rejuvenate, especially after the intense windstorm on Friday and Saturday that left patrons disheveled and campgrounds in shambles. It’s little things like much-needed showers that can have a game-changing effect on even the most well-seasoned festival-goer.
The Blackbird Bus
Founded by Michael Beerley (who goes by Coyoti) and his Blackbird Squadron, this two-story mutant vehicle is famous for its raucous renegade after-parties and hand-built 30,000 watt sound system. The Blackbird Bus was created in 2011 in Philadelphia and journeyed across the country eventually landing in Culver City, California, where it now nests. A myriad of house music lured in wandering Boogalooers who were either cruising by in search of a party or even in search of sleep — the beats were just too infectious to pass up.
The Yellow Submarine
Situated in the middle of the festival, this humble art van pays tribute to The Beatles’ famous psychedelic sea vessel. Oddly, there was another Yellow Submarine van positioned nearby and in between was a festival art gallery that featured hallucinogenic paintings. While this art car was not a sound hub, it appealed to other senses like touch, sight, and smell, as the aroma of various substances were always wafting through the air in its vicinity.
The Shenanigan Wagon
This Ford Ranger pickup turned charming covered wagon was created by two Burning Man devotees who go by Mak and Mosh. As it wheeled slowly through Oak Canyon Park making dance party pit stops, people hopped on and off as the music continued to play. Kids especially loved this modern, colonial cruiser, as they would watch it pass by in awe.
Honorary Art Cars:
Googly-Eyed Red Wagon
Though not an art car per se, this zippy red wagon with googly eyes was often spotted speeding through the venue delighting onlookers as well as its riders. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in speed as drivers wildly whipped through the dance floor doing donuts.
The Baby Baller
Clearly not an art car by definition, but a little kid rolling through Boogaloo in his own convertible Mercedes Benz is worthy of mention.
The Dangle Zone
Though simple in appearance, this little beast hosted one of the most cracking renegade parties at Boogaloo. Complete with a trampoline, people were bouncing high and getting low to an array of foot-stomping beats.