Let’s Go to Burning Man, Shall We?

by Shannon Murfree on September 6, 2013

in IN PRAISE OF..., SHALL WE?

man burning

Burning Man. I experienced my first a few days ago and WOW! I was fortunate to be in a theme camp (shout out to Bouncy Bouncy Club aka BBC for a great experience!!) and also to be camping in an RV with seasoned veterans. I was well taken care of. In theory, you should be able to show up at Burning Man with just a ticket and survive on the kindness of fellow Burners. The idea of that terrifies me. I believe anyone would be cared for, no doubt, but the conditions in Black Rock City are extreme. I can’t imagine being in a tent when one of the infamous dust storms looms, or when temperatures drop into the low 40’s. EXTREME.

The Good
None the less, if you’re like me, and believe life is about the experience, add Burning Man to your bucket list. It’s an adult carnival full of music, art, and free expression of whatever form you choose, as long as it’s based on kindness. Driving in, I saw the first of many nudists, and the look on his face was one of pure freedom. At Burning Man there is no judgement, and there is no currency (except to buy ice and to pump RV tanks) so every camp you visit will provide you with basic and even luxury needs. There is a camp for everything: booze, food, massages – ours gave out ice cold cucumber and mint spa water and champagne snow cones. The gratitude people showed was really cool.

The (not so) Bad
Make no mistake, Burning Man is a dirty experience, literally. You’re supposed to surrender to the dirt, it makes the “hardship” easier if you surrender. I tried, but I was unable to embrace the full experience of complete filth. I’ve heard from veteran Burners that this year was among the best in term of weather conditions, so I know I could have been far more uncomfortable. It was hot, but no hotter than Vegas.

The Music (and Art)
Music and art at Burning Man have become some of the main attractions. People who know me know that I’m a jam band girl at heart, but I enjoy all sorts of music, including electronic. I saw some really good electronic music in the desert and I didn’t even scratch the surface of what I could’ve seen, even with the absence of veteran sound camps like Opulent Temple.

Many artists break onto the scene via Burning Man. Since there are lots of eyes on your craft, its a great place to debut. Artists plan all year for the pieces they will display at Burning Man. They plan them, build them, break them down, transport them to the desert, build them again to exhibit, then break them down again and drive them out. When I say build, we are talking about massively complex pieces like the Church Trap (see below) which had pews, a working organ, and plenty of creepy churchy things inside.


Church Trap burn


Art piece in the middle of the playa

Here is a slideshow of moments from my first Burning Man, which I will no doubt remember for a long time. Enjoy!

Another HUGE shout out to my camp, thanks for the great burn BBC!!

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