I’ve read a lot about this event and find it quite fascinating - as an idea and - might sound cliche - an adventure in free spirit and community.
This year I registered for individual ticket and had a chance to get it but could not get any of my friends to go with me. Their major complaint was that they never heard of it and they don’t know anyone who went.
So, I thought someone here went there once or knows someone who did.
Burning Man is somewhat like a multi-day camping-on-site type music festival except without a concert area and more emphasis on physical art work and performance art: sculpture, body paint, acting skits, miming, setting constructed art object on fire, oddball costumes, dancing, light show displays, etc. The obligatory port-a-potties and tent vendors are there. Toward the end of the week long shindig, a large wooden ‘man’ is burned in effigy. Most of the music is just attendees playing in hand drum circles or strumming acoustic instruments. Nevada is hot during mid-day late August, so most of the fun takes place near twilight and after sunset all night.
I find that hard to believe. Could it just be an excuse? It’s not the most convenient vacation a person can take.
IMHO Burning Man hasn’t really been the supposed “free-spirited” event that it’s cracked up to be since about the year 2000. At that time they started making it way too governed and organized to really live up to that.
Coffee and ice are the only things sold in Black Rock City. Priorities, people!
Last I knew, nothing else, including water, could be sold. But anything can be traded or bartered or given away, so there are still vendors of a sort. But the way it works (or so I’m told) is much more informal than other festivals - people walk around with things, or have them at their camp. If you like it, you see what you can trade for it, or they give it to you for free. “Gifting” and “Decommodification” are still inThe 10 Principles.
I’ve got many friends who have gone once or twice. I have a few friends who have gone more than twice. Many of them report that “it used to be better” and that it’s gotten away from it’s creative roots and becoming more and more of a frat party, and that the security/oversight/rules have increased as a result. But they all still agree it’s worth checking out for yourself.
Just remember that, unlike most festivals, once you’re there, you’re there. There’s no easy town run for more batteries or a forgotten tent stake. Radical Self-Reliance is *also *in The 10 Principles. And there are no trees. No. None. No, really, NONE. If you want to hang your shower bag, you’d better bring a tall piece of rebar or an art installation to hang it from.
I take exception to “BurningMan”, and the “10 Principles”.
I live in the area, and while no one is going to get away with leaving a bunch of trash on Black Rock Desert, it sure doesn’t stop all these assholes from dumping shit all around the rest of Northern Nevada. Every year, without fail, you will find cans, bottles, trashbags, couches, rolled-up carpet and even RV’s/trailers littering the surrounding area. Especially along 95 and 50.
If you visit Lahontan State Park (about an hour or so south, on the general way back to Southern California) just after BurningMan, you will find a vast collection of abandoned shit.
This is really a bummer and I guess there are assholes no matter what the venue. There is a dump and recycling depot near Fernley where you can dump all that shit. Our camp consistently gets the highest rating for cleanliness and I personally walk the site to make sure that nothing visible remains.
The event is getting more touristy as I only got one shitty piece of schwag after giving out 50 shot glasses with booze included. This year I’m going back with 144 shot glasses because hell, it’s Burning Man!
You can show up by yourself and just meet your neighbors and then you have friends for life. A dude showed up in our camp with only a pair of holey sweatpants and my buddy supported him for the week.