Thursday, October 12, 2017

Preparing To Burn

Burning Man 2018: 

If you are one of the many that have asked about this, or thought about attending, this is an early notice for Burning Man 2018.  We are going to attempt to attend our sixth burn in 2018.  If anyone else wants to go with us, I am putting you on notice.

Burning Man 2017 recently wrapped up in September of this year, which means that if you want to attend in 2018, now is the time to start ‘planning’ for it.  Those that wait until three months prior will have a very slim chance of going.

For those that have never been, Burning Man is a difficult event to describe.  In basic terms, “Burning Man” refers to a city that exists once a year for a week in the Northern Nevada desert. The city is called “Black Rock City” (named for the Black Rock desert where it is constructed).

The term Burning Man refers to the large wooden structure of a man that is erected at the center of the city.  He is usually five to six stories tall and made of wood.  On the second to the last day of the city’s existence, the man is burned in a lavish ceremony.

Burning Man is more of a community than an event.  It is based on acceptance, giving, sharing, art and celebration.  It is one of the great festivals of the world, attracting participants from all over the globe.  Attendance is limited to 65,000 per Nevada State Law.  Those applying for tickets always exceeds the number available.

However, these are some of the caveats.  Burning Man is not easy to get to and can be expensive.  There is no guarantee of getting a ticket and a ticket is needed for entry.  The tickets are not cheap.  Once you have entered Black Rock City you cannot leave and return, you can only enter once.  Black Rock City is REMOTE.  There are NO services there, including internet or phone service.  You will be cut off from the outside world.  The city is constructed on a dry lake bed that can be extremely dusty when the wind picks up.  The wait time to enter Black Rock City can be as long as 8 hours at the gate due to the heavy volume of participants.  If you are still intrigued at this point, read on.

Burning Man occurs on the first week of September (Labor Day Weekend).  While the event lasts a week, travel time and preparation also need to be factored in.  Hence, requesting time off (if employed) should be done early in 2018.  The average ‘burner’ takes two weeks off to prepare, travel, attend, travel home and decompress.

The earliest that tickets are available for the event is usually February or March.  The tickets are tiered in price based on the amount available and when they go on sale.  Due to demand, there is a lottery system to give everyone a chance to get a ticket.

The early tickets which are limited (usually a few thousand) are currently going for around $1,000 and are the easiest to obtain.  The larger bulk of the tickets are usually around $400 dollars and are harder to come by due to the demand.  An attendee would need to have a ticket in hand no later than June/July of 2018.  After that, obtaining one can be very difficult, although not impossible.

In addition to the tickets, there are other cost factors involved, including transportation, food, and lodging.  Attendees need to provide their own shelter/dwelling at the event.  Some can be quite simple while others are quite elaborate.  Nothing can be purchased at Burning Man.  No commerce is allowed.

While many attendees sleep in tents at the event, I would not recommend it.  Five days in a tent in the middle of a dusty desert is not a good idea (I have experience with this). 

Overall, the least you would have to spend to attend the event would be $1,000.  The average person will end up spending around $2,000 to attend.  The cost can go down significantly if resources are pooled.

So why spend this much money, time and effort to put yourself through this?  Well, I have attended five times.  My wife Sue has attended twice.  So there must be something about the experience that is compelling.  Either that, or we are masochists.

The size and scope of Burning Man cannot be expressed well in words.  The city is very large and diverse, with streets, a post office, hospital, airport, street lights, and art work that is not be believed.

The central themes of Burning Man is always ‘radical self sufficiency’, ‘leave no trace’ and 'sharing'.   There is a synergistic effect when this many people, expend this much energy to go this far and gather as a group.  Every citizen of Black Rock City is encouraged to participate in the event.  It is hard to be a wall flower in Black Rock City.

This is an overview of the event and not meant to be comprehensive.  There are many other do’s and don’ts regarding attending Burning Man, but this should give you an idea of what to expect.

If you believe that you are capable of making the commitment to attend and would like to join us on this journey to a modern day Brigadoon, drop me a line on social media or via e-mail.

I am not looking for commitments at this point, only a level of interest.  Sue and I will be going regardless.  Everyone that has attend past burns with us have said they would like to return some day.  So here is your chance to see what all the hoopla is about.

Listed below are some links regarding the event.  While some of the images may be compelling and stunning, they cannot communicate the scope and feel of attending.  A picture taken at Burning Man is like looking at the Grand Canyon through a keyhole.  Sure it is impressive, but it doesn’t convey the scope of the real thing.

Burning Passions - My Google Page for coordinating Burning Man adventures.

Burning Man - The Official Burning Man Website

Flickr Images - Many, many images from Burning Man from Burners who have been there.

Burning Man YouTube Videos - Video that I made after my second adventure to Burning Man

Map Image - The location of Burning Man courtesy of Google Maps

(All images taken by me during my various trips to Burning Man)

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