100+ global alternatives to Burning Man

This spreadsheet has a very impressive “Burner Bucket list“, listing other events around the world that Burners would enjoy.

Burning Man Alternatives

Please comment if you have been to any of these events, let us know what you thought of them.

Burner culture is clearly spreading around more than just the Black Rock City Playa, although some events on this list such as “CEBIT” and the “Dakar Rally” are questionably related to Burning Man. The international pole dancing contest might be more up the alley of Burners.  I would love to see an Art Car version of the Dakar Rally, but the route is not really suitable for art cars. I’ve been to CEBIT and it was a German computer trade fair, nothing like Burning Man. You’d get sprayed by an MP7 if you tried to drive an Art Car into CEBIT. Maybe it would be more of a Burner-friendly event if they moved it to Berlin instead of Hanover. The good old Love Parade featured Carl Cox playing to 1.7 million people, more than 50 trucks with sound systems and built-in dance floors – it would seem to be a suitable place for a Burner Art Car rally.



9 comments on “100+ global alternatives to Burning Man

  1. We need to form a new entity, informal at least, that provides good representation of the burner community. Not that it would have anything to do with the Borg and BMP, per se, but more like a union to establish rights of burners in any context. We could also identify a set of fundamental elements and then score various burn events by those parameters. Seems this is as good a place as any.

    We will all work on it as a combined effort, with the help of Burnersxxx.

    Step 1 is to assemble the list of burn events, and update the spreadsheet. This will include adding columns for the various parameters we can discuss online and refine. This will result in a list of fundamental burn elements to score each event,

    Step 2 is to take that list of elements and discuss and refine them into a list of burner rights (transparency, cost, participation …whatever). These need not be yes/no elements but at least something to grade a burn, perhaps 1 to 10. But the burner rights would be a list that can be used to give feedback to the various organizations.

    Step 3 is to then create a list of things events and burners should expect from each other, and from themselves. This list will start with ideas from the Night Market for each participant and truck.

    This should be an interesting experience.

    With a new blog or web site created by Burnersxxx, we should all be able to work together on these.


    In Step 2, note that scoring an element of an event from 1 to 10 gives them a chance to improve, as well as to see examples of events that have a higher score and what they do.

    For example, the NV burn might get a 2 on transparency, and Transformus might get an 8, possibly degraded to a 6 because they removed their recent online financials. And these would be discussed and debated by those that choose to participate.

    Cost might not only be listed, but also graded as a percentage for much of the fee go for hard costs vs overhead, like many non-profits are scored. This percentage depends on their financials, and not on the bizarre Form 990 data (that seems to have been structured to allow people to hide their overhead).

    Other factors include grants (number and amounts), counts of assaults, and other factors of interest.

  2. A list I put together a few years back:

    Alternatives to Burning Man in NYC and BEYOND
    January 23, 2011 at 1:23am

    This note is intended to provide an updated list of Burning Man-type of events in the NYC area, with comments on experiences and additions from others.

    Though past events are listed, these are generally recurring events. Go to the links listed for each for current information.


      This is like a truck farmer Burning Man:


      The email invitation was clear: “This is a private event. Please do not post this to any mailing lists, blogs, websites, printing presses, social networks, Twitter, etc. It is critical that our activities stay under the radar… We must leave no trace of our activities.”

      The directions themselves (not mailed out until the night before the event) were purposefully vague. To get to the Market you had to walk down an honest-to-goodness “passageway” — in reality a candle-lined alley covered in potholes full of what may or may not have been water. The door, nondescript, had a handmade sign taped to it, and opened onto an unlighted hallway. And only then did we emerge into the Market itself. But what exactly is the Lost Horizon Night Market? And why am I writing about it on a food blog?

      The Lost Horizon Night Market is hard to define. In the open warehouse space were several rented trucks, each with its own reason for being. To name just a few: the Smash Truck asked people to bring their unwanted items in to be destroyed; the Rocking Chair Truck was full of rocking chairs, for no other purpose than to sit and rock; the Pinhole Truck set up a photo shoot in the back of the truck and spent over half an hour setting up a photograph to be taken by a pinhole camera. There was a truck that would celebrate your birthday (whether it was your actual birthday that night or not), another truck that was performing science experiments with Elmer’s glue, and another truck in which our friend was playing cello as accompaniment to a short silent movie. Everything was technically free, though donations were always accepted to compensate the people participating. In lieu of donations you could bring something to barter with — one of our friends brought a box of clementines, and we saw lots of people sharing wine and other alcohol.

      From attending the fall 2010 symposium, a few of the Night Market rules that make it work:

      1. Trucks are not decorated on the outside in any way. The experience is entirely inside each truck. This keeps passer-bys from finding it. (Typically you hang a curtain to cover the back of the truck.) Large trucks are allowed, but you have to have the necessary driver to get it to/from the event.
      2. No alcohol or drug use.
      3. Everything must be legal, and ready to be observed by LEOs.
      4. No admission charge, to the event or to a truck, though a tips jar is allowed.
      5. Secret location, only disclosed 24 hours before the event, though date and town are told ahead of time and only to those who have specific interest and involvement. (This works because you can spend as much time as you want prepping your truck, and then drive it to the location once disclosed.) This also allows the location to be dynamic, depending on local cooperation: there is no BLM/LE problem like the Burn.
      6. Ends at 2am, since the more roudy and illegal things tend to happen after that.
      7. No commercial-themed trucks, though consumable give-aways to promote a new product, like a new cookie recipe are allowed.
      8. Management does not “approve” trucks, though those that do not follow the rules are not allowed to park. Management only sets the time and location.
      9. Trucks are not allowed to leave until the end. Only by special arrangement can they move during the event Example: there was a film noire truck that slowly moved while the visitors were inside, leaving them at a new location when they exited
      10. You can have external events, like a boat ride, where you would hand out (free) tickets and have people travel to the event that is not at the truck location.

      2014 Update: Unfortunately, when this was handed over to new management, the NYC Night Market in 2013 has not been as successful.


      This was a nice alternative Burn. The art installations were very creative, on par with the best at the NV burn. Considering the location, cost (no admission, and even the ferry was free), it was an easier and more productive to get exposed to a Burn-level of creativity. There was also a lack of that amazing playa dust.

      Difficult at best at the Burn, Figment had installations in several of the old residences, essentially taking over the subject room. There are also artist studios on the island, with installations and even performance space for things like the “Un-seen Dance.” Several installations were in the basement vaults of the old fort, which gave a chance for dark work.

      Unfortunately, Figment is only 10a-7pm, so there is no “night” aspect. It also lacked the grand scale of the Burn.

      There was also a bit of commercialism: a food vendor, and one house was set up to sell art. YUCK!!!

      It’s easy to decide to do Figment again. In fact, some few exhibits are on the island though October 3rd. However, they are only available weekends, Friday-Sunday, when the (still free) Governors Island ferry runs.



      GI Ferry: http://www.govisland.com/Visit_the_Island/directions.asp


      Bring to Light is New York City’s first-ever Nuit Blanche festival. A Nuit Blanche is an all night arts festival of installations and performances celebrating the magic and luminance of light. Nuit Blancheevents enliven cities all around the globe, but there has never been one in New York.

      BRING TO LIGHT NYC will be held in Greenpoint, Brooklyn primarily on Oak Street between Franklin St. and the East River waterfront in Fall 2010, beginning at sundown. This unique block will play host to local and international artists, performers, galleries, and musicians as they Bring to Light the street itself as well as its unique assets including metal, set design and textile workshops, residential facades, an indoor gymnastics park, and much more.


      AfrikaBurn is a community of participants who gather once a year in the Karoo desert in South Africa forming an impermanent city, creating art, building structures and theme camps, wearing costumes, making music and performances and more!

      Austin, TX area

      Burning Flipside is a regional art and music festival inspired by Burning Man. It is a place for radical self-expression and an experiment in temporary community building. It is a place of acceptance, inclusiveness, and respect. It is organized entirely by volunteers. The art and entertainment is created solely by participants. There are no spectators. There are no concession stands. No cash transactions are permitted at Flipside. Even bartering is discouraged. This is a sincere experiment in creating a gift economy. If you need something, ask for it. If you have it, gift it! This is a Leave No Trace event. There are no garbage cans. Participants pack out what they bring into this private event.

      Burning Flipside 2012 will take place over Memorial Day weekend. Tickets are NOT available for purchase at the Gate; sales will be announced on this website when available.

      When: Burning Flipside will be held over Memorial Day Weekend in 2012: May 24th – May 28th. Gate times are: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 9am – midnight; Sunday, 9am – 6pm; Monday, everyone leaves by 5pm.

      Tickets are NOT available for purchase at the Gate and will be announced on this website when available.

      Where: Burning Flipside will be near the campgrounds of Apache Pass River Theatre, on the private grounds north of the San Gabriel River, just outside the town of San Gabriel, TX. If traffic isn’t too bad, the drive is just over an hour from Austin.

  3. As suggested by ABP:

    Envision Festival in Costa Rica, February 25 to February 28, http://www.envisionfestival.com/

    Serenity Gathering, March 17 to March 20, http://serenitygathering.com/

    Lucidity Festival, April 8 to April 10, http://2016.lucidityfestival.com/

    Further Future by the awesome Robot Heart, April 29 to May 1, http://www.furtherfuture.com/

    Lightning In A Bottle by the awesome DoLabs, May 25 to May 30, http://lightninginabottle.org

    Ignight Fire Flow Conference, June 17 to June 19, https://ignightconference.com/

    Other burnerly festivals, and art events, not within the control of the Borg, might be included in the manner of Symbiosis, Figment, Wasteland Weekend, Shambala, and of other burns.

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