Have you ever been to the Burning Man Festival? Any desire to go or rather not and call it Boring Man?
I first visited the festival 10 years ago this week. A huge adventure with my then boyfriend, we'd both always wanted to go and thought 'Let's do it!' I'd seen Round the World in 80 raves and the place looked crazy, like mad max. We had to go and experience for ourselves.
The Burning Man festival began by a group of artists from San Francisco, they found Black Rock desert in Nevada and started the yearly festival in 1990, building a temporary city out in the middle of no where and creating a new society. 'Founder Larry Harvey wrote the 10 principles; Radical Inclusion, Co-operation, Gifting, Radical self reliance, radical self expression, Communal effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving no trace, Participation, Immediacy.' Source
The temporary Black Rock City is built each year. Art work commissioned, camps built, structures created. There are rows and blocks of camps in a horse shoe shape, the huge man in the middle, beyond is a huge playa of cracked earth. Art cars and buses move around, most people ride bikes, segway's are popular now. There is a guide to the events happening, but no main stage, no artist promoting their new album, there's no advertising anywhere and no pay bars, you take your cup and you fill up. There is a huge sense of community and love, the trip is life changing.
Burning Man Festival 1st time
We first visited in 2006, joining a couple of Brits living in LA in our little camp of three RV's 'recreational vehicle' (motor homes) We had a great gang, Steve and Gayle had never been, Mike had been once before and was really into the spirit, he had stuck neon pompoms onto all his accessories picture. It was a magical crazy adventure, so much fun.
One has to be prepared.
You cannot buy anything on the site, so one has to spend lots of time shopping to get everything you need for a week in the desert. Walmart is a one shop stop and even sells bikes . You could locate a second hand bikes somewhere if you are organised and of course all the shopping in either LA or San Fran for last minute outfits and bits and bobs. It is crackers! In the day it is boiling hot, at night it’s really chilly. It can get windy and cause dust storms, which are amazing, if you have the right gear, beautiful light.
There are two options, well 3 if you want to get a connecting flight to Reno. LA or San Fran. You’ll need to be away for at least 2 weeks, the festival is a week long, you don’t have to go for that long, lots of people just go for the weekend, Sunday is always the best day. But if travelling form the UK, it’s best to make a road trip out of either side.
San Fran is nearer and Lake Taheo is on the way, a beautiful area, perfect for a chill out after a crazy week.
It is bonkers at the Burning Man Festival. There are so many amazing things. As you arrive for the first time after driving for hours up a dirt track. You are greeted with ‘Newbies’ and taken out of your vehicle to ring a massive bell.
We went everywhere; ballet classes, a wedding with bearded bridesmaids wearing pink, lots of sculptures to explore, light shows, rides on art cars, dancing on podiums, rollerskating...
Black Rock Roller Disco
My husband and I had matching roller skating outfits including matching boots which we bought from England to wear. Husband didn’t tell me, that he could skate until we got to the rink, all dressed up. We looked ridiculous!
The look is skimpy and weird and wonderful, lots of bikinis in the day, fake fur at night.
I packed totally wrong, my camp mates took pity on me after a few days and dressed me up and changed my life! I became Tall Cazza, a 6 ft blonde princess. It was so much fun, if you are short like me, 5’4” the ridiculous white cyber punk platform knee high boots were amazing. I loved feeling so tall, a totally new perspective and perfect kissable height to my boyfriend.
The ballet class was funny, a small group with a little fella a lot like Jeremy Hillary Boob, the nowhere man, prancing about in the middle.
pic of nic
The Belgium Waffle
In 2006 there a was a huge structure ‘The Belgium Waffle’ it became known at, based on the chaos theory, planks of 2 by 1 hammered together. An elegant shade in the day, a booming nightclub at night and on the last day, they burnt it and the heat was incredible.
The man is burnt on Saturday night with a big busy party, the place is buzzing.
Sunday they burn the Temple, a different creation every year, a peaceful place to go and remember.
Can get quite confusing. There’s lots of lit vehicles moving around so you might lose your bearings, boats on wheels, massive ships made from buses, rockets, pink double decker buses. You have to wear lights to be seen out on the playa, it’s pitch black and does get cold, take layers.
It is hot and a great time to adventure, go to camps, meet people, experience the wonder. Everyone makes a huge effort to bring something to the festival, gifting is important. There all sorts of creations and games and activities, my favourite was a guys 'Boob Cooling machine' ~( he was a bit creepy, but did the trick.
How much does it cost?
It is an expensive trip. There’s the flights, RV hire, you can camp, but first time I would go RV and I don’t think I would ever camp, I know friends who have and they liked it and it’s much cheaper. So if you are on a budget, this might be an option. Then there’s the road trip either side and the shopping, I think it’s 2 grand per person.
Would I go again?
Yes and we did in 2010 and again lots of fun. I don’t think I’ll return, too many other adventures to have. The festival was different second time, slicker with amazing music, 2006 was a bit too techno for me. The festival seemed grander and I hear now there’s billionaire’s row with closed camps. All festivals do evolve. We have moved on, I feel so lucky to go twice.
Do you want to go?
I would highly recommended the Burning Man Festival to anyone who has a spark of interest. Pick your crew well and get involved, go to everything, explore everywhere.
There’s magic at the Burning Man. It totally opened up my eyes to gifting and bringing something to the party, doing something for others, making the effort in all your life, being responsible, It’s not always easy, but I’m trying.
Thank you for reading and I hope I have inspired you.
Please join Club Cazza for more inspiration and like, share and follow me.