Burning Man is not for the faint of heart, and it's definitely not your run of the mill festival. It's an opportunity to experience something beyond your wildest dreams and join a community all about art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In fact, all its participants literally create this community, known as Black Rock City, out of the nothingness of the Nevada desert. They create the city, the interaction, the art, the performance and ultimately the “experience." If you're ready to participate in this life changing experience, here are 10 things you should know before you go.
Make The Most Of Burning Man In 2017 With These 10 Tips
1. Buy tickets
This sounds simple enough, but it can actually be the hardest step to getting to Burning Man. Getting tickets is not easy, and they sell out fast. Be online as soon as they go on sale and get ready to hit that refresh button. If you missed the ticket sales, there are many options to buy resale tickets. Tickets should not be sold for a profit, so keep that in mind whether you're buying or selling.
2. Getting there
Reno is the closest airport, and there are also charter buses from San Francisco and Reno as well as a small airport on the Playa for private planes. Just be prepared for traffic and pack water and snacks for the ride. Getting in and out of Black Rock City has been known to take 12 hours or longer, and if weather gets bad, they may temporarily close the Gate. Also plan to show up at the Gate after opening because you're not allowed to wait in town or on the sides of the highway if you arrive early. Just remember that it's about the journey, not the destination, and that skydiving is always an option!
3. The 10 Principles of Burning Man
Not created as rules but more as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture, these 10 principles are the guidelines to your ultimate Burning Man experience. Some of these principles include radical inclusion to welcome and respect everyone, radical self-reliance, to discover and exercise your own inner resources, and gifting to learn to value of unconditional giving.
4. Don't be a "sparkle pony"
A "sparkle pony" is someone who comes to Burning Man unprepared and ends up relying on the generosity of others for basic things like food and water and sometimes even more. Do your best to come prepared. It takes a lot of planning because you need to bring everything you'll need for the entire week with you. The only thing you can actually buy at Burning Man is ice and coffee. Bring plenty of food for you and to share with your neighbors, at least 2 gallons of water per person per day, a bicycle & bike lock, clothes, somewhere to sleep like an RV or tent, and something to gift.
5. Join a camp
While it's important to create your own journey and learn to rely on yourself, the people you go to Burning Man with can be a huge influence on your experience. A lot of times friends make their own, but you can also join a larger camp through the Burning Man Website and online. Reddit and Facebook are great places to find other Burners and regional groups. One of the biggest benefit of joining a camp is infrastructure. There will likely be shade as well as experience Burners to guide you if this is your first time.
6. Decorate your bike
Your bike will be with you everywhere, and it's the easiest way to get around the Playa. After all, you never know where you might end up, and it can be a long walk back to your camp. Think of it as an extension of yourself and personalize it because a lot of bikes out there will look the same. Be sure to light up your bicycle (and yourself) to avoid unnecessary collisions because there aren't any streetlamps in the desert.
7. Dress appropriately
Remember that you're in the middle of the desert which means sweltering days and frigid nights. You might want to spend the day in your bikini, but once the sun goes down, temperatures drop drastically. C prepared with something warm. You'll also want goggles and a bandana for dust storms and sturdy boots to protect your feet. And don't forget to express yourself! Some people wear extremely elaborate costumes and others wear nothing at all. There is no right or wrong way!
8. Learn how to give and receive
Practicing gratitude is the world’s most reliable way to introduce happiness into your life at a moment’s notice, and it's not a coincidence that gifting is one of the 10 Principles. When you’re feeling lousy, give something to someone else: a smile, a shoulder, a foot rub, a cold drink, help cleaning a tent, or making a meal. Also bring something small to give new friends you meet on the Playa like a piece of jewelry or face wipes. If you’re having trouble thinking of something to bring to gift just think about what you would crave in the middle of the desert after a long days of little sleep in an extreme climate?
9. Prepare for Playa dust
It's roughly the consistency of talcum powder and it will get everywhere. Bring a spray bottle filled with water and lemon juice to keep from getting "playa foot." The acidity will fight the alkaline dust which can wreak havoc on your skin. Make sure to bring air tight bags or containers to protect things like food or anything else you want to keep dust out of. Dust can also get into your bike gears or car wheels, so be prepared!
10. Be open
Burning Man is all about the emotional and physical sense of leaving the weight of society behind. Try not to come with preconceived notions of what your Burning Man experience will be. Have a spiritual experience of letting it all go, embrace self-acceptance and self-love, and let your week unfold for you. Participate in something that you wouldn't normally do, take part in workshops, dance until the sun comes up. In other words, be sure to participate and make the experience your own!
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.