What to expect at the Burning Man Festival

What started as a bonfire ritual during the summer solstice on a beach in San Francisco has turned into annual event. The Burning Man Festival this year will take place from August 27 to September 4, 2017 Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Thousands gather for a week of radical self-expression with art installations, performances, self expression and creativity within a temporary community. Among those who have attended are artists, CEOs and celebrities. To date there have been 70,000 “burners” that have attended in one year.

The festival has a theme every year and for 2017 it’s Radical Ritual. Past themes have included Fertility, Time, Hell, Outer Space, The Body, The Floating World, Beyond Belief, Vault of Heaven, Psyche, Hope and Fear, The Green Man, The American Dream, Evolution, Metropolis, Fertility 2.0, Caravansary, Carnival of Mirrors, and da Vinci’s Workshop.

The Saturday night before Labor Day is when the man burns, a much awaited part of the event.

Photo credit: Cory Doctorow (Flickr)

Some tips:

  • There is no vending at the festival. Only coffee and ice are for sale.
  • There’s also no selling of any kind of items, instead guests can trade or give to one another in keeping in the spirit of community.
  • Bring enough supplies for your length of stay. You need to make sure to bring your own food, water, sleeping gear, etc.
  • Remember to hydrate because it is the desert.
  • Print out a map and plan ahead for meet up locations better yet rent an vacation rental the night before and gather everyone together ahead of time before heading to the event.

Lastly, enjoy this one of a kind unique experience!

11 thoughts on “What to expect at the Burning Man Festival”

  1. What a unique festival! It seems so similar to our Dusshera here in India with such huge murals.
    I see it as a great opportunity to exchange talents among the members. Thanks for the helpful tips, particularly reminding that it is a desert.

  2. I have heard a lot about the Burning Man festival and I think i have even see a movie about it. It sounds like a unique festival that maintains the hippie spirit alive by sharing items through the participants. It’s interesting that you need to bring your own food and drinks, I didn’t know that you can’t buy it from there.

  3. Good that you’ve mentioned the what to bring and what to expect. At least those interested would know what to do. Honestly, first time here to hear about the burning man festival and it sounded too strange. But like the idea.

  4. It’s as if I read or seen a portrayal of this somewhere. Oh, wait, it was a festival also in Japan that involves burning. Think I saw that in an anime. Well anyway, this is really a great festival since nothing is sold except for coffee and tea. Also, you get to trade your artworks to others. It’s so kind of you to mention what needs to be brought in order to stay alive in the desert. But I wonder why it’s called Burning Man.

  5. This is an excellent event!!! It is so special, and what I like most is that there is no vending and that you cannot sell your works of art, just give them as a present or trade them with other artists. So, so great way to celebrate art and human creativity. I would much like to join it, but I am afraid I won’t make it this year. Also, the topics they choose are unique. This year’s topic is creative and it keeps track with the events in the world.

  6. wow I really had to look for the details because I thought they really had to burn a man literally lols
    I wonder where this unique concept came from.. there must be an interesting story behind it
    but generally based on the details you provide , this seems like a very festive event!

  7. I have always wanted to do Burning Man, I enjoy looking at the photos every year. There are so many stories of heat stroke though its quite hot there you really need to be careful. The costumes people wear are quite insane and so much fun! Are you going?

  8. I like that there’s no selling and the value of giving is highlighted. It’s letting the people appreciate the value of giving. I wonder if all people would really follow. Attending here would be nice.

  9. Like Milton, the title made me think twice. I also thought that a real man would be burned. hahaha Good thin that it’s only the creations that the people made that they burn. Anyway, it’s helpful that you listed what should be brought to the event.

  10. Oh my God, what a horrible title? Did a man burn here several years ago? What is the significance of this festival? Like as Indrani say, we in India have a similar festival where we burn effigies of demons. This festival is called Vijayadashmi.

  11. I remember reading about this for the first time about a couple of years ago and Ive been wanting to go ever since. Sounds like such a life changing experience ☺

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