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Oakland Artists Are Building a Three-Story Victrola for Burning Man

For when you really, really want to be heard

Everybody has a dream. Oakland artist Nick Fynn’s dream is to build a 35-foot-tall Victrola gramophone and roll it out to the desert in time for Burning Man come August.

In the odd but apparently not all that unlikely case that this happens to be your dream too, you can kick in a few dollars toward the cause, and even help with the construction.

Fynn, a 46 year old musician and metals artist with a day job in tech, hooking nonprofits up with hardware and software they don’t have, got together with some friends and cooked up the Victrola project two years ago.

If completed, the piece will be three-plus stories tall and weigh over 8,000 pounds. What's more, the old-school record player will double as a stage for live bands on the Playa.

After raising nearly $21,000 earlier this year (134 percent of their goal), the team needs a second round of funding to finance the final push before the festivities.

So why a Victrola of all things? Other than the allure of the horn’s distinctive silhouette, Fynn told Curbed SF they want to shake up Burning Man’s image a bit. "People think it’s all EDM and glowsticks and one giant rave out there," he says.

And, yes, he admits there actually is quite a bit of that. "But there are people from a lot of different walks of life with a lot of different tastes," he adds. "If people are into blues and classic jazz and bluegrass and opera, we want a place for them to hear it."

Although roughly 30 people are involved in the construction, if you feel like getting your hands dirty, Hand Crank Creative (as the group working out of Oakland’s American Steel studios dubbed themselves) are also taking additional volunteers to help put together the steel horn, which itself will weigh 3,500 pounds.

It’s bruising labor, but nobody ever said making sweet music would be easy. Here are a few photos of how the piece is already coming together.