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|A Q&A with a member from The Ohio Burn Tribes
(This interview by Out Of The Blue was conducted in 2008 before OOTB's online transition.)
How did the Ohio Burn Tribes originate? When did everything form?
The Ohio Burn Tribes originated on a venture to Burning Man '05. As it was "The Ohio Burn Unit," "The Spunion Tribe" and "Nocturnal
Energy" were all represented and we agreed on the theme camp name of Ohio Burn Tribes, allowing burners from any group to be an
active party without abiding affiliation to another fire troupe. Since then it has been the name I use when setting up a show that requires
more than myself to cover, for the same reasons.
Who all is involved and where are they from?
There is only myself (Woody) and EnfernoChuck (a fire eater/spitter and flame diablo expert from Marion) as base core members.
I recruit members of other groups I perform with regularly, including the mother group The Ohio Burn Unit--a maverick pack out of the
Cleveland area who perform several highly intense shows during the festival season at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. There are also "The
Spunion Tribe," a loose knit batch of mad-capt banditos from the Marion area, "Nocturnal Energy" a small but talented group also out of
Marion which mostly concentrates on indoor and rave style venues, and "The Fyre-Flys" who are comprised of talented females with
members in the Carolinas and Iberia.
What training is involved?
Any and all persons involved in an Ohio Burn Tribe's exhibition have been involved in fire performance no less than a year, and have
displayed exceptional skill in their area of expertise as well as a solid background in safety. You can find martial and performance arts
backgrounds, independent artists, and propane expression technicians. Our support and safety crew is comprised of individuals selected
for their attention to detail combined with an ability to work with security or law enforcement officials in charge of crowd safety at venues.
What are the names of various stunts and what do they involve?
The most popular stunt would be the "Human Sparkler," which is a roughly 45-second highly intense display where an individual or multiple
specially modified poi are ignited, rendering an approximately 50' helix arc of sparks. "Fire Snakes" are another very popular item. They
are a rope style wick poi with a flame range of two to five feet. "Hells Furys" are a newer addition involving flammable gas filled balloons
ignited in an inconspiculously dangerous manner.
What shows have been performed?
This is actually the hardest question to answer. While the entity itself has been around since September, 2005 I had never really pushed
the Burn Tribes until 2007 due to the first two years mostly performing individually or with already "established" groups. However, since I
am a go-getter of sorts and can not totally rely on the performances of other groups, I book several gigs on my own and as word gets
spread on the continuity of superior performance, I am finding more of a market for larger shows. Hence a need to recruit performers
from other groups. So all in all most of the Burn Tribe shows thus far have been for private clients.
Where do you see the Ohio Burn Tribes in 5-10 yrs?
The Burn Tribes are an ever growing entity riding on the wings of an ancient and ever growing art form, and I being as undaunted as a
terrier, in 5-10 yrs. the possibilities of the Burn Tribes would be undetermined.
How can people contact you or the group for shows?
I may be contacted at email@example.com and as far as cost is concerned...depends on what a potential client would like to have
for their particular needs and abilities. I can sell a show for $150 to $1500 or more depending on what one wants to see (i.e. one person
performing a simple routine would be on the low end flaming stilt walking, flame effects, multiple performers, time span wanted all affect
the total cost). I find it more consumer friendly to allow a client to choose what they want rather than say 'this is what I have and this is
how much it costs' as not every one has the same idea or workable budget.
Performing with fire has been around since times considered ancient and man's fascination with it has survived even longer. Although it is
not scientifically considered an element, it is primal and it is justifiably an art form. Thank you for allowing me to express in your
publication and your considered support is much appreciated.
(Click any photo below to enlarge. Photos taken in 2007 by N. Shumate, Out Of The Blue)