Preparing participating a festival in Nevada desert is not something you organise overnight. Especially not if you are arriving from the other side of the planet.
Last year, which was my first year participating Burning Man festival I started organising 5 months before. And this year, I planned six weeks before. When you have been once it is much easier to prepare going the following year… and the following year again.
A lot of people ask me all the questions regarding organising everything with tickets, tent, outfits, etc. Therefore I will try to elaborate on the practical things you have to prepare when going to Burning Man. Remember, this will be my perspective. And I am a person who partly like to organise and partly wants and likes to be spontaneous.
Let’s start out talking about what Burning Man is?
It is very easy to tell when people who have not been to Burning Man tries to talk about Burning Man. Burning Man is nothing like you can expect or predict. People like me, who have been, can tell you about it but until you have been yourself please stop talking about it – you do not know what it is and I really want to emphasise this – PLEASE DO NOT TALK ABOIT BURNING MAN like you know what it is if you have never been. It creates a false image of what Burning Man is, which I think is sad. It is like talking about people who you have never met and talked to.
As I see Burning Man, it is a playground for art, music, and positive vibes. The dominated vibe at Burning Man is the positive -, “let’s-help-each-other”-vibe. You feel safe and together, even though you might be lost from your friend/group. It is an explorative dusty playground for adult who wants to know more about themselves. There is no judgement, which I think is one of the most beautiful things at Burning Man. You do not ask people “what they do” or anything related to status in society – everyone is the same. I meet supermodels, Forbes listed most influential people in the world, DJ’s, retired people who have been to Burning Man for more than 10 years, etc. etc. It does not matter what you do or who you are outside Burning Man, what matters is that at Burning Man we are all together and “one”. We spread good vibes, smiles, and welcome anyone in our camp, art car, tea ceremony or whatever event is going on.
So, the practical question about tickets and arriving/departing to Burning Man – let me try with this.
First of all, the Burning Man organisation releases tickets 2 or 3 times a year, so people can by online. Check the website here First round of tickets to buy is in spring, then in the summer. Also, if you drive in with a vehicle then remember to buy a “vehicle pass too”.
On the website above you can read more about the “10 Principles” of Burning Man, more about how to get there, and other practical information.
If you cannot get your ticket online you can search online on craigslist, or other sites where people have bought tickets but are not going. You can also arrive to Burning Man and tell the check-in that you came across the world and this is your first time – then they will probably sell you a ticket. Another way to get a ticket is to search for people who organise camps, then you can buy a ticket through them and be in a camp. Burning Man is full of camp but some people prefer being without camp. I would definitely recommend being in camp. I have been in two different camps the past two years and I really like it. Some camps are very communal, which means you have to build your own tent, you have shift in your camp to cook, clean etc. The more communal the camp is the better is the bond with your fellow burners in the camp.
Burning Man festival is located in Black Rock City desert in the state Nevada. There are many different ways of arriving to Burning Man.
You can fly to San Francisco or Los Angeles and then drive or get a ride with some other burners.
You can fly to Reno and then either drive/get a ride or take the Burning Man bus that Burning Man organisations provides.
You can fly with Burning Man Express directly into Black Rock City. These flights are flying from Reno, LA, and other destinations. Check website: Burningmanexpress.com
You can also rent an RV and drive from LA or San Fransisco or wherever you got the RV from. Then when you arrive to Burning Man then you have everything with you.
Burning Man is a whole week long festival and I definitely think it is worth is going for the whole week. So when you book flights or rides remember to check times carefully.
My first year, I flew from Copenhagen to LA and then my friend and I found a ride on Craiglist. We drove with the cutest American couple. We paid for the gas and that was it. On or way back we found a ride on the day we wanted to leave Burning Man. So do not go nuts because the planned is not 110% – everything will work out, there is always some people who will give you a ride.
My second year, I flew from LA – Reno and then I took the Burner Express from Reno straight into Black Rock City, which was very convenient.
What to bring to Burning Man?
Burning Man is in the desert, which means it gets very hot during day and can get very cold during night. This means you have to pack bikinis and a fake-fur. I bring a lot of bathing suits and bikinis which I wear during day with a kimono or shorts. For the late evenings/nights I wear tights, sometimes two pairs and then a warm sweater and a jacket or fur. This year I brought a tracksuit so I could wear many layers underneath. Then I bring a pair of boots and a pair of sneakers. It is really important to bring shoes you walk comfortable in because you are out most fo the day and you walk/bike a lot.
Also, very important, I bring a lot of headpieces, wigs, funky jewellery because it takes the outfits so much more fun. Burning Man is all about fun outfits so go crazy, For example I brought neon kimonos and a pink wig. So bring a lot of funky outfits so you can mix and match. You can buy this kind of clothes in vintages shops or online. I did a huge order on ASOS, which made all my outfits! And together with my pair of Dr. Martens boots I was ready to go!
Furthermore it is very important to bring sunglasses and googles (when the dust storm comes).
Bring wipes, sanitiser, a good bag/bag pack, a water bottle, and toiletries and you are good to go. You might get a few showers while you are there but you get dusty straight away. You will look grey, literally. My long hair turned completely grey after some days and people came over to me and said “you are going to look very pretty when you get old”. HA! Old woman hair with a young woman’s face and body.
Also, bring a lot of lights because when it is getting dark nobody can see you unless you have lights on you. And you also need light to be able to see where you are going when you are walking or biking.
Last but not at least, remember to bring a bike. You can order one at Walmart or proper bike stores, which you can pick up on your way. You will bike A LOT so buy a good one.
When all this is said, I think you are more than prepared and ready to go. Now you know the basics and more. I did not know all this before I went, I just went with the flow and brought way too much with me.
Do not think too much about it – just go. Alone, or bring a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband, or go a larger group.
See you next year at the BURN!