You’ve probably heard about all the great experiences people have had when they went to burning man festival. And if you’re reading this, chances are this is your first time and looking to find out how you can prepare yourself best for it.
What is ‘Burning Man’?
First and foremost, a let’s have little history lesson about how this festival came to be.
The first burning man was never intended to be a festival, Larry Harvey, and artist in San Francisco decided to make a large wooden sculpture in the shape a man as an art piece. He then decided to use it as a simple bonfire and took it to baker. This spectacle gathered such a crowd that every year people came to baker beach just to see the burning man engulfed in flames. As the years went by, the sculpture kept getting bigger and bigger until it was no longer allowed to be set on fire without permit. So Larry, along with this friend Jerry James decided to take the burning man to a remote desert in Nevada which then became known as ‘Black Rock City’. Now, the burning man has become a week long annual festival to inspire, express and celebrate creativity. It’s a hotspot for many artists and musicians to perform, showcase or to seek inspiration.
As early as this may be, this year’s burning man will be held on August 24th till Sep 2nd. So if you’re interested in going be sure to snag some tickets as they sell out within hours! So pack your tent and your backpack and check out their official webpage for ticket information.
What to expect at the festival
As soon as you arrive at black rock city you’ll quickly realize that majority of the other campers with all their fancy wall tents or bell tents, aren’t there to entertain you, but to express themselves instead. So set up your tent, don’t be a spectator, participate and have a blast!
During the day, since it’s quite hot out in Nevada in this season, this is usually the time people tend to do less physical activities and check out all the art showcases others have to offer. Some take this time to just catch up on sleep, eat and replenish.
But hey, if you’re an artist or an organization looking to showcase some brilliance of yours, good news! You can apply for an official art grant on their official website.
Now if you’re still unsure on what you can do and want to support or just participate in the burning man project you can always volunteer. There are plenty of performers looking for helping hands or like minded individuals to collaborate with.
Come nightfall, it’s time to party! There are dozens of DJs and artists that start performing as soon as its sunset. There isn’t an official list of performers as of yet, there’s at least 50+ artists and bands that play every year. Last year even Skrillex, Flume, Infected Mushroom and many more came to perform! You will definitely find something you like.
There so much to see and experience at burning man, be sure to share your experiences on facebook and instagram with #man, #burningman, #camping and #blackrockcity hashtags.
Must haves for Burning Man
That’s great and all, but you’re probably left wondering, “Where will I sleep?” As you can guess by now, there is no hotels for miles around, your best bet is to bring a tent. Now this isn’t an ordinary camping trip in a park or your backyard. This is desert camping and need some heavy duty tents to combat the harsh environment of it. As such it’s suggested to use a bell tent or wall tent.
Water, more water, and even more water! Dehydration comes at you in full force at burning man you best be prepared. So how much water do you need? Well, according to burning man project you need to have at least 2.5 gallons of water per person per day! This does include water for other necessities such as cleaning, washing and cooking.
Bear in mind the festival is a temporary city with no existing infrastructure, you will not find a fast food restaurant nearby. You may find some people with permits to ‘gift’ you food. But otherwise bring your own food to last you and your group for the entire week. Salty food is recommended as you tend to sweat a lot during the day, plus it tastes better when you’ve lost some yourself.
Apart from what you’d normally bring in your list of essentials, you must absolutely bring a pair of goggles. You cannot imagine how hard it is to navigate yourself around when you can barely open your eyes. So pack a pair of goggles and make it look funky, everyone else does it.
You know black rock city as estimated to be about 7 square mile patch, the equivalent of downtown san Francisco! You can’t possibly imagine walking around everywhere in this heat now can you? The solution? Bring a bike! Don’t worry even you don’t have one you can always buy one at one of the last stops before you enter black rock city.
Oh yea, almost forgot to mention, neon…. That’s right. When it gets dark it REALLY gets dark! Make sure you put any piece of neon lighting or soft led lights on your bike or costume. Get Creative with it, after all it's time to party, it totally fits the theme! Besides, people really hate it when they’re moving around and out of nowhere, someone just suddenly appears in front of them. Some people really get hurt badly sometimes, especially on bikes.
Now you’ve packed more than what you initially expected, and you need a place to store all your belongings. This is exactly the reason why you should have a Bell tent or Wall tent in your choice of tent as they tend to have enough space for a small party with lots of stuff to store and keep safe.
Canvas Tents to look at for Burning Man
Since Black rock is a desert, you’re basically out in the wild. It’s time to bust out that fancy tent we talked about!
Depending on the size of you group you’re going to have to bring a large tent or more. And at White Duck Outdoors, there is a variety of tents for all kinds of camping. Here are some of their popular and most reliable tents ideal for week long camping in the desert.
Cotton Bell Tent
Suitable for any small party going to burning man, the bell tent is a very common sight at black rock city. With breathable cotton canvas the Regatta Bell Tent is the best tent for burning man!
Capacity: 3-8 people
Water and Fire Repellent Canvas
Cotton Wall Tent
Ideal for anyone with something to showcase or store. This cotton canvas tent is the perfect choice for anyone with an art piece to showcase or simply to store all your equipment or art belongings while keeping them protected from the harsh environment of a desert.
Capacity: 8-14 people
Water and Fire Repellent Canvas
Family Cabin Tent
An alternative choice for a small party or solo goer to burning man festival. The family explorer comes with an awning perfect to block the sun when you decide to take a seat outside.
Capacity: 6-8 People
Water Repellent Canvas.
White Duck Outdoors have a really good camping article about "11 Things You Should Consider When Going for Overnight Camping". Check it out!
You were never there!
When the week is finally over, and the Man has burned, it’s time to pack up. But there was never really a trace of you before you arrived, and there shouldn’t be any when you have left. This includes that empty bag of chips you don’t even remember where you threw it away. Anything that wasn’t there when you arrived should not still be there when you depart. After all, you were never really there.