1/23/2014

Reasons To Go To Burning Man 2014

signs left on the board at playa info in center camp

Burning Man is ever-changing. Along with this change is the fact that people seem to have a hard time deciding what it even is. Is it a festival, a pilgrimage, a party, a camping trip, a rave, or an art event? Maybe it is none of those. One of the things that remains constant is people wondering why anyone would, or should, go to this thing in the desert. Let's explore some reasons to go right now.

It's an adventure

Whether you're an experienced desert camper or someone who has traveled the festivals of the world going to burning man will still be somewhat of an adventure. One needs to travel roughly 100 miles away from civilization to get to the event-site. Once there you'll find a whole different kind of civilization, as close as one could get to a temporary city. The climate is harsh, much harsher than most attendees would be used to. The experiences are many, much more varied than the average festival or art event. The camping is fun, much better than your average family-style campground. The people are generally nice, it's generally family friendly and there is plenty of space to spread out: unlike most festivals you'll encounter.

Yeah, granted, it is a bit more manicured and controlled than it was 20 years ago, but it is still pretty darned great.

The fire art is amazing, the pyrotechnic stuff is nothing like anything you're likely to have seen before and the large-scale burns are hard to compare with anything one normally experiences.

After a week of varied experiences, of the harsh climate, of fire, sunsets, sunrises, and art most folks go away feeling a mix of never wanting to leave and being glad to be on the road to a nice hotel and a warm shower again. It seems that is a telltale sign of some kind of adventure, perhaps as close as one might get to one in northern Nevada, at least.

It may not be around forever


Like it or not things change, burning man is no different. Odds are it will either not exist sooner or later, or change to the point where it just isn't worth going to. Some might argue it hasn't been worth going to since the late 90s, but there are plenty of others who would argue it still has some juice left in it.


writing on the inside of a CORE art project
While it is likely to be around for a while, the chances of drastic change or a problem with a permit for the protected federal land its held on always are a possibility. Though a loss of permit may be unlikely, there is certainly another good reason to go now: it keeps getting more expensive.

While stuff generally seems to get more expensive burning man seems to buck the average upward trend.

Get out there now while its still not too expensive, while people still seem to be enjoying it and while the regulations imposed on it from within, and externally, aren't too onerous.

One might not realize how a small change can impact such a big event until one has seen it. So go, before you wont know what you've missed.

the man on his base at burning man
The Man will be huge



Ok, so it might not be the best reason to go but it is one. This years man sculpture, from which the event gets its name, is going to be wildly different than it has been in the history of the event. While this particularly sculpture, among thousands of attractions and art pieces, is not so important it will probably burn like the dickens. And that will probably be pretty cool.


Throughout the history of burning man there have been moments that people say you should have been there for. Some point to Hellco in 1996. Some point to Uchronia (the Belgian waffle) or various rain storms, or dusty years. Some point to the year the man burned early, or the amazing Crude Awakenings burn. Usually one doesn't know before the event that one of these things is going to happen. It seems like this year the 100 foot tall man sculpture will be pretty darned cool.



Go before we're all jaded


A lot of the old timers and recent vets are getting tired of all of this change at burning man. Some are just tired of it in general. There was a recent non-transition to a non-profit, there has been changes in police enforcement, changes in permit requirements. Rules, lots more rules too! All kinds of internal little bitty changes the average attendee will never know or care about, but the insiders notice. They notice it a lot.

Go to burning man before all of the people who love it, leave it. While it is unlikely that there will be a mass exodus any time soon, some part of it changes a bit every year. Every year there seems to be a loss of some
cozy burning man theme camp
much-loved thing in the community. Whether it be an art car, a mutant vehicle, a camp, a sculpture, a person, a performer, whatever it may be, get in while the gettin' is still good. Burning man is changing, time moves on and so do people. Go while some of the people who have made it great in the recent past are still around.


Because you want to


Yeah. Go because you want to go to burning man. It isn't for everyone, but odds are everyone might find something they enjoy there, if they looked hard enough. Wanting to look is just enough to start the ball rolling. Go!


No list or explanation of it is ever going to really make one understand what burning man is. Nobody can really convince one to go to burning man. It is quite a commitment. It is expensive. It is a hot burdensome desert. It sometimes isn't fun. Sometimes it's great. Some people would never imagine going. Some people can't imagine not wanting to go.

If you're reading this and have even the slightest desire to go, do it. People of all ages, from 8 to 80 go and have a grand time. It's an adventure. It's America. It's nature. It's art. It's Burning Man and it's still there, go while you still can.