There’s a 1,000’s of sites with pictures of Burning Man. Google it if you want a visual world wind. I purposely didn’t shoot any pictures while at Burning Man though I wound up in a few!. I was a rookie and wanted to really soak things up old school style; my senses were *heightened so I used those to absorb my experience.
For the last 5 years or so I heard from burners “you, of all people need to visit the playa” over and over from dozens of really good friends. Turns out they were dead on. I NEEDED to go to Burning Man. I NEEDED to be blown away. I NEEDED to witness what I’m convinced is the biggest, richest, high volume, high level art show in the entire world. This isn’t a show you walk through and look at art. Black Rock City is a Movie or a Video Game, and guess what? YOU ARE THE STAR! Guess I was ready for the big screen because it was hot, cold, and the wind/dust storms were relentless, regardless of the extreme conditions I had a blast. Everyone has a different, unique experience at the Burn, I came to the playa on the heels of turning 40, having the summer of my life touring the Greater North West and essentially making the Burn a Giant Sized Exclamation Point!
I read articles on Burning Man for years, as it was for most, I ALMOST went so many times. This year was different. All summer long I KNEW I was going thanks to a new friend who had a ticket with “my name on it”. Thanks Mandy:) Two things: 1. Burning Man is NOT for everyone. 2. If you plan on going I actually wouldn’t recommend going on the heels of a 75 day trip. It sounds good on paper and now that I’ve done it I’m stoked but in hindsight I wish I had a little more energy at the Burn to gift everyone. Even the week before, I was excited and our prep was going well. However my tank was on E. For months I had slept on couches, spare beds, in tents, hostel bunks and in the Eurovan all summer long. My body was beat up, my mind was exhausted, and honestly I wanted to go home.
But that all changed when we left the City (SF) and arrived at the gates. Waiting in line (We got lucky, from pavement to camp in less than 2 hours) the nervous energy was unstoppable. People were FIRED UP! It dawned on me that other burners had came from around the world, we were finally there and minutes away from one of the most unique environments on Earth! Picture the Grizwalds running towards Wolly World. Except this time it was open, new and improved and oh Damn! people inside were ready to have a good time!
Being rookies, my friend Ryan and I were in a great “newbie” situation. Our friends we were camping with were experienced burners. They had everything figured out and enjoyed the fact that there were several rookies amongst the crew. They went out of their way to make sure we had a fun burn, and for that we were grateful. Thanks fam! Some of our crew had early entry because of the “art car” status. The Art Car was key, picture an open air limo, with pumping beats, coolers for ice cold beverages, and at night, lights you could see from a half mile away.
I would have to write a small book to sum up my complete experience at Burning Man. The truth is it wouldn’t matter how descriptive or clever I wrote. It would be tough for you to “get it”. This isn’t Burner Snobbery, it’s just I don’t possess the words to convey my experience in a few short paragraphs. I’ve heard and read it before, you have to go to the playa and create your own Burn to understand. I can however, state a few things that I learned:
1. The Community Culture and Principles of Black Rock City are authentic, pure, and potent. So much in fact, that it’s possible to leave the playa changed, Better, more well rounded person. I did. I AM.
2. The Artwork is phenomenal. HOLY SH*T! The volume and quality of work: sculptures, paintings, body art, costumes, jewelry, food, drinks, vehicles, camps, performances, were simply awesome. Literally miles and miles of gushing creativity. That’s in the daylight. At night you can sprinkle in a Million color changing LED lights, random and planned blast of flames and fire, and it’s a spectacle that Las Vegas should be jealous of.
3. If you haven’t been to Burning Man, please save your critique for after your first Burn. Thanks.
Thank You Black Rock City!