Every year thousands of people look forward to one week in august. For the other 51 weeks in the year, many “Burners” are preparing for their next burn. Its extraordinarily hard to sum up this event, or explain it to anyone who’s never stepped foot on the dusty valley that is Black Rock City. Whenever someone asks me what Burning Man is like, I just reply “The greatest day and night of your life, every day, for seven days.”
First, the curious must know that BRC during the event is a SELF SUSTAINED COMMUNITY. For those that are unfamiliar with what that means, essentially all Burners bring their own water, power, food, and shelter to survive. There is no cell service, wifi, Starbucks, money or plumbing. There are several miles of vast desert to play in AND a fuck ton of creative people brought together by ONE MAN (The one we burn at the end!).
As it states on the Man’s website, “No one at Burning man is a spectator. You’re here to build your own new world.” This is true. Even if a Burner isn’t the mastermind behind the dozens and dozens of art pieces and structures scattered across the playa, their camp is their creation alone. This event forces participants to turn off the everyday world, and learn to survive in an intense environment. Sounds tough, although the sense of family and community felt around a mix of friends and strangers is phenomenal. Most of the city works on a trade system, or just a generally friendly system. Without my amazing camp, Sunrise Coffee Camp, I would have honestly starved, as I didn’t come prepared with enough food! Preparation is key when attending this event and I’m sure I’ll learn a handful of useful survival tactics every year.
Looking at photos from the magical event doesn’t even do it justice in its beauty. Every photo is usually from the day, or with intense flash if it happens to be a night photo and everyone appears very post apocalyptic and DUSTY. Yeah, Burners are a bunch of dirty motherfuckers, but we sure as hell know how to have a great time!
So why is it called Burning Man? At the end of the event, all of the stunning structures, including the Man, must be burned. The theory is that something is created through fast amounts of effort, loved for an entire week, and let go through the primal process of adding fire to make it burn. The concept of the Burning Man Experience is to “leave no trace.” That means no trash, no structures, no art, NOTHING. The prehistoric lakebed that makes up the desert the city sits on is left just as it was found. The things experienced there are the gifts the participants leave with….and bags full of dusty clothes.
Lastly, and my favorite part of it all, IS NIGHTTIME PLAYTIME. Remember, there’s isn’t a central power source so when the sun goes down it gets dark, and the crazy LED and glow lights turn on. In the evening it turns into Man vs. Wild vs Rave. There is so much amazing Electronic Dance Music playing all through the city, that I usually go home hearing phantom bass! Anyways, enough about this….GO CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF!
PS – PHOTO CREDIT TO MICHAEL VEGAS (@ITSMICHAELVEGAS) AKA THE SOUL THEIF
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