Burning Man Sucks! 10 Reasons to Stay Home

[We’ve been copping a bit of flak recently in some online comments, for being crusty old vets who are overly negative on Burning Man, compared to the dewy-eyed Virgins and wannabes. Not true – at Burners.Me, we all love Burning Man, that’s why we write about it. Loving Burning Man is not the same as loving the company that owns and operates it, this party is unique in that it is created by the audience, not the ticket-sellers. This isn’t a marriage – we’re free to criticize any aspect of the party or BMOrg we don’t like. You are too, and you’re free to disagree with us. As eloquently as you choose. “Freedom of Speach”, as Burner Crystal aka Nezgod calls it. Anyway, in the face of all this criticism against us for too much negativity, Burners.Me is happy to bring you this guest post from Whatsblem the Pro…]

porta-potty-blowdownWith each passing year, more and more people hear about Burning Man in glowing terms that convince them that it’s something they’d like very much to experience for themselves. This gives rise to tongue-in-cheek threads in online communities in which participants claim that Burning Man is canceled, or that bicycles are banned, or that there will be no porta-potties this year.

Why don’t vets want you to go to Burning Man? Isn’t it a place of radical acceptance where all are welcome?

Yes and no.

Burning Man isn’t just an annual party, it’s a year-round culture. That culture has to be successfully transmitted to new people in order to survive, so of course new people are welcome. Unfortunately, the maximum allowable population of Black Rock City is finite, while the word-of-mouth about the event is more like a geometric progression. If the influx of new people overwhelms the vets’ ability to transmit the culture to them, the culture will perish along with an inordinately large number of dehydrated first-timers, and Burning Man will indeed become just another party (some say this has already happened).

We got a taste of that problem in 2012, when the ratio of fresh new burners to old hands threatened to become completely unmanageable due to the ticket lottery. Steps were taken to adjust that ratio, and in February of that year Marian Goodell wrote on the Burning Man blog:

“There are indications that a large percentage of people attending Burning Man this year will be first-time Burners. As eager as we are to welcome our newest citizens into our community, it’s crucially important that we have a solid foundation of veteran Burners in Black Rock City to meet, greet and acculturate these eager new participants, ensuring that they not only survive the elements but also fully participate in the Burning Man culture.”

In the interests of preserving a healthy ratio of new burners to veterans, here are ten good reasons why Burning Man sucks and you don’t want to go:

1. It’s dangerous.

ticket 1998If you look at the back of any Burning Man ticket, you’ll find a disclaimer that varies slightly from year to year, but remains crystal clear: YOU MIGHT DIE at Burning Man and if you do it’s all your fault for showing up. People die in Black Rock City every single year, although you don’t hear much about it. There are plenty of injuries as well, some of them very grave. There are accidents. There are rapes and other forms of assault. People might kill you; you might enjoy a momentary lapse in good sense and kill yourself, and like the ocean, the desert itself stands a good chance of killing you if you fail to respect it and prepare for it. If you have any kind of medical condition that could bring on an emergency, you could find yourself having that emergency a million miles from the help you need. Nearly everyone around you will be intoxicated, and some of them will be operating incredibly dangerous and highly experimental machinery designed to be maximally destructive.

2. It’s dirty.
shower camp 1996You’re not likely to get a shower at Burning Man unless you’re DPW or hooked up with a camp that has its own shower equipped with the best shower filter. If you’re squeamish about being filthy, that alone might make you want to just quietly erase us from your bucket list. Some people run behind the water trucks that spray water on the roads to keep the dust down, but don’t do it; that water is non-potable and much dirtier than the dust and mud you might have caked on you. Speaking of the dust, you’ll have a hard time appreciating the thoroughness with which the dust infiltrates virtually everything until you’ve been to the playa yourself. I guarantee you’ll get playa dust in your vag even if you don’t have a vag. It might wreck the electronics and any vulnerable moving parts in your car, your phone, your camera, your watch (why are you wearing a watch?). If nothing else, it will be with you (and your car, and a lot of the things you take home from the playa) for a long, long time. People are not exaggerating to you when they talk about how insanely problematic the dust can be. . . there is just nowhere and no way to hide from it, and if you get yourself caught in one of those sudden dust storms that kick up out of nowhere, unprotected and with no shelter available, the dust could easily kill you.

3. It takes a lot of hard work in a dangerous, dirty environment.

reading roomIf you’re looking for a vacation, Burning Man will certainly improve your attitude and give you plenty of opportunities for recreation and cutting loose, but relaxation? Forget about it. This is the hardest-working vacation on the planet, if you’re not just being a tourist (and tourists in Black Rock City are despicable). If you want to kick back and have people waiting on you, if you want to catch up on your sleep, if you want to finally read that novel you haven’t had any time for, then go someplace else. Burning Man is not the place for you, and if you manage to go home happy it will only be because you’ve been through profound and possibly jarring changes in your worldview. This is the vacation that you come home from filthy dirty and profoundly tired, having stretched your own physical capabilities to the very brink and maybe a little beyond.

4. You might end up in trouble with the law.

cops ponyEvery year, the ratio of law enforcement officers to burners on the playa gets worse. Some reports claim that between 2011 and 2012, the number of cops in Black Rock City doubled or tripled. We’re talking about all kinds of cops here, from at least six different agencies: the Federal Bureau of Land Management Rangers; the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office; Washoe County Sheriff’s Office; Nevada State Department of Investigations; Nevada State Health Division, and the Nevada Highway Patrol all have a presence among us during the event. Undercover officers are abundant, and a lot of them don’t seem to care much about anti-entrapment laws. You’re liable to get a little more leniency in Black Rock than you will from the same cops elsewhere, but you’ll still get fined, get stuck with a criminal record, and possibly go to jail.

5. It’ll ruin your relationship.

1995 mud orgyBurning Man can be poison to relationships. It’s incredibly unlikely that anyone on the playa is going to keep to whatever schedule you might propose, and that alone is enough to push some peoples’ buttons. Add to that a tantalizing smorgasbord of available sex, unprecedented feelings of freedom and hedonism, and the strong sense of complete personal transformation that your first burn is liable to inflict on you, and you’ve got a recipe for pissing off someone you love and driving them away forever. If you’re not polyamorous, or at least willing to give the love of your life a vacation from monogamy (and the feeling is mutual), then you might want to go without that person . . or stay home and let him or her go without you.

6. People at Burning Man can be really mean!

It’s true. “Fuck Yer Day” is an oft-heard phrase in Black Rock. Burning Man is not based on anyone’s notions of peace ‘n’ love, and radical acceptance doesn’t mean everyone has to like you, or even pretend to like you. If that bothers you, better drink more water (or maybe just go somewhere else). You have to prepare properly, and show that you’ve received enough of the culture to be some kind of asset and not just a tourist, or you’ll run the risk of being openly mocked and derided by the burners around you (or worse, DPW) for your inevitable massive faux pas. Bellying up to the Black Hole bar and loudly demanding service and a cup, for instance.

7. It’s expensive.

On a per-day basis that includes your ticket and your food and other basic supplies for a week on the playa, Burning Man really isn’t that expensive, and in fact would be quite a good vacation value if those were the only expenses you might incur. However, if all you’re doing is surviving and spectating, then you’re doin’ it wrong, jack. Being a part of it all is essential, and that takes a lot of hard work and maybe quite a lot of money, which needs to be factored into the cost as well. Plus, as you get involved, your participation will rapidly begin to demand more than just a week out of your year. Even if that’s all the time you actually spend on the playa, be prepared to find your burn preparations annexing your leisure time – year ’round – like Hitler pouncing on the Sudetenland.

8. It will make employers think you’re weird and on drugs.

Granted, this can actually work in your favor if the person making the hiring and firing decisions is either a burner, or is weird and on drugs, or both. Your strategy would best be determined by your intended profession; it’s probably not going to be an issue if you want to work in a piercing parlor, medical cannabis dispensary, or fetish webcam modeling agency, but it might put a damper on your work if you teach at a Mormon high school.

zombie unicorn9. It will ruin you for other festivals.

Seriously. People who work at other festivals, people who work on road tours with major musical acts, people who are major musical acts, people who are at festivals all the time and don’t even get much out of them anymore aside from a paycheck. . . those people go to Burning Man to unwind. It’s not like other festivals and it will make every unrelated event you attend seem like a delicious dish with some vital ingredient missing.

10.  This list of reasons isn’t a joke.

OK, sure, it’s a bit meta, but it’s an important point. A lot of people hear about the conditions that prevail out on the playa, and fail to appreciate the sheer severity of it all. Maybe they think their friends are exaggerating, engaging in hyperbole, or just plain joking. The fact is that the playa is a howling wilderness that will make you monstrously uncomfortable if you’re not prepared, could change your life in ways you haven’t anticipated and aren’t ready for, and just might maim you or kill you deader than a very dead thing.


246 comments on “Burning Man Sucks! 10 Reasons to Stay Home

  1. I’ve only been to regional burns on the East Coast and have loved all of them and my camp mates. The Big Burn may be something I’ll do once in my life if I find the right people and right art project. However, like many posters have said, the burning “community” by its nature and at its best is nothing more than the Ten Principles in action. If you accept the ten principles, and you accept that radically accepting, encouraging self-expression, participation, communal effort, etc, will bring out the humanity in everybody, you have to also accept that you might not necessarily like everybody’s humanity…but that’s OK…we are not meant to “like” everything about each other we are meant to experience each other for who we really are. The reality of another, when met with your own openness, will teach you things about yourself you didn’t know. If somebody can tell me another place in this commercialized, organized, rules driven, world in which two people can connect in a more genuine way than at a burning man event, where you are working together, surviving together, and letting your guard down, please tell me. I’ll be sure to be part of it. Love to all!!!

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    • Actually besides playa dust two other things come to mind things your likely to bring home with ya acquiring a disease and demonic possession.

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  4. Ladies and gentlemen, this would be a prime target for a terrorist/extremist attack. Even better, different extremist groups of various religious denominations can actually work together to target BM. The carnage would be glorious. Blood all over the nevada desert…

  5. I’ve read this article at the beginning of this year. But it didnt stop me from going to Burning Man for the first time. I’ve wanted to experience it for myself. You know what? I’ve had the time of my life. I have to admit the trip was expensive but I have no regrets. It was worth every penny.

  6. Thank you for making this article. Because I feel as if this is the biggest waste of MONEY. WHY are they charging for the FREEDOM of the desert and the MORONS who buy into it… I feel sad for you people. Seriously. Its cheaper, easier and less of a hassle to go to a park in the RV and camp out away from all the idiots that make these sorts of festivals a nightmare.

    • Have you ever been Alice? I thought the same thing, but I had the time of my life and wait to go back. If you haven’t been, you don’t know what your missing.

      • Please don’t encourage people to go. From the sound of it, I certainly would not like to have Alice out there, she can stay the fuck away and all for the better.

  7. Black Rock is at its very best when it’s devoid of humanity aside from yourself.
    No sparkle ponies..no turnkey camps..no tribal music..no rapes…no assaults..
    no old capitalists prancing around in garter belts and saggy booby girdles spewing their ten principle verbiage…no Larry Harvey good ol boy pretense.
    On second thought..just stay away from the Black Rock if you can’t face being alone with yourself

  8. You guys need to just take a trip down to Key West Florida and enjoy fantasy fest under the beautiful sun tropical weather and you have the same bunch of freaks as you do in burning man

    • Fantasy Fest is a swap meet for body-painting retirees. Not nearly dangerous or dusty enough. NEXT!

  9. Lamenting the “good ol’ days” of BM and wishing upon it the more purist idealism of “true” burners is pointless. It is the same as the unknown actor who struggled his whole life for fame only to complain about the paparazzi who constantly hound him now that he has acheived his goal. It is the same as the fisherman who’s hidden trophy fishing hole has been invaded by “wannabe’s” and 1st timers who luck into something big and tell everyone they know.

    If BM was kept a secret and only a chosen few were able to attend, it would wither and die. You need a constant influx of new ideas and experiences to thrive…the fact that they don’t meet your expectations or reflect your opinions is basic to humanity.
    Some people want to be enlightened and stretch their inner boundaries and a few want to be preached to. But pretty much everyone wants to have a good time.

    If you don’t want “tourists” crashing your party, ban all alchohol and drugs. Then you’ll only have the “right” kind of people show up.

    Hmmm….does that sound like exclusionism and slightly Nazi to anyone else?

    • “Hmmm….does that sound like exclusionism and slightly Nazi to anyone else?” Nope. But that ridiculous comment sure made me laugh my ass off.

  10. i’ll just sit on the beach in the Caribbean, Burning Man is a fallacy filled with young silicon millionaires trying to out do each other, horny fucks trying to find a piece of ass under the guise “love baby, now suck my dick”. Creeps and trolls abound the place.

  11. We all know the dirty secret by now: BM has been destroyed by the custies. An event that gets covered by the style section of the Wall Street Journal and NYT is WAY past its sell-by date.

  12. Bahahahaha…. Burning Man is the best!! It will only magnify more of who you are, if you find yourself miserable that should tell you something about yourself! If you can pull the stick out of your ass, love, laugh and contribute you’ll have the best time you’ve ever had!

  13. Everybody, in a sense, is either investing or wasting,
    all the time, every day. Cosmology attempts to analyze this connection between what we know to be true and what we believe in. Those
    facing North bear the Abhaya (fearlessness) mudra, while those in the East show the Bhumisparsha (earth-touching) gesture.

  14. It’s funny how clear it’s that most of the people posting in this blog don’t care for the word “sharing” they’ve found an experience so transforming and deep and yet they don’t want to share it, because as transforming as it’s their soul is so sick that they don’t understand the whole point of this festival “to pass on a caring attitude for those around you!”. And if you’ve been coming to BM for 5 years let me tell you something mate (and that goes for 90% of the people who commented in this article) you’re not a veteran of the BM, and the easiest way to see that is the fact that you still have that attitude of “this is mine, go away” and haven’t yet fully submerge and embrace the message. So you all f uck off and go find an activity you can keep for yourself like jerki ng off.
    To everyone else reading this article and attending the BM for the first time;
    As far as the dangerous of attending the event goes, mate, death can find you at your your table while having breakfast at home, why not look at her in the face and tell her; hey! I know my day will someday come, but until then I’M ALIVE AND I WON’T SETTLE FOR LESS!

    • No, but seriously. Some people just should not go period. Ever. Not even in their past or future lives should they go.

      I’ll call it an 11th principle of burning man: Radical Self-exclusion – it’s a generous gift

  15. All things experienced involve some degree of chosen perception and always affected the the choice of others. It is a place where you can make it what you want it to be at most any level. I go out with the perception that it is the largest massing of art on the planet and the highest percentage of loving, caring, creative and cooperative people amassed on the planet too. You largely attract what you expect and and get much of what you put out, back. No matter where you are that there is that many people, it is a law of averages that there will be detracters, but I dare say most cities of this many people will have more negativitiy occurring than this one. There is SIMPLY no other place/time in the world that you will find more creativity, the finest contribution to the planet humans have to offer.

      • A company called Black Rock City, LLC makes most of the money. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Burning Man Project, a tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation. We only have one public tax return for this organization to go on, from that it appears they accumulate cash in their bank account. Black Rock City LLC pays salaries to the executive directors of Burning Man, and also pays millions of dollars in royalties to another private company owned by the founders, Decommodification, LLC. You can read more here: http://burners.me/2014/07/28/art-world-rocked-by-burning-mans-latest-move/

      • If you check the financials, as much as they will disclose, over the past 10 years, you can see that the hard costs to do the event are only about $7 to $10 million, even as the population has doubled from 35,000 to 70,000. The ticket income now tops $30 million, What they do with the other $20 million is the question that they are doing their best not to answer. We do know that about $4 million goes to lawyers, while less than $1 million goes to art grants. )$(

  16. After having looked at the “25 Reasons You Must Experience Burning Man” article (http://www.highexistence.com/25-reasons-why-you-must-go-to-burning-man-once-in-your-life/), I’m left even more repulsed by the idea than I was when my only real objection was “it’s hot and it’s in the desert during the summer.” Most of the things listed are actually repellents for me, not draws. Fire is dangerous, heat is dangerous, I can see photos or videos of art if I want to look at it, and some of the other stuff listed is outright boundary-breaking for me.

    So I wish all those who love or want to go to Burning Man well, but it’s not me and it never could be. It looks like an extrovert’s playground and an introvert’s nightmare.

    You want to go? Great. I do not. And despite what that author thinks, there is no “must” about it – in fact, it tells me why I MUST avoid Burning Man if I’m to remain sane and calm.

  17. Very well said. This will be my 15th year to attend Burning Man. I have seen many changes to the event over the years and it DEFINITELY isn’t for everyone. So if you are considering going for the first time, take the words posted here to heart. They are true and not a joke.

  18. Burning man is natural selection at its finest. Please morons go into the desert to take acid an ecstasy with other stupid people. Light some shit on fire pretend to be enlightened. Hope you all die soon. The police are there more and more because you guys are transporting drugs across state lines. Openly talking about what you will bring online! Your community is a joke! I understand though trying to paint your ego with funny titles like burner an vet makes you feel special. You are not special you doing something that is done in rural areas 1000s of times every year by junior high an high school kids.Your festival is just a over grown field party. Some people have their priorities all fucked up. On the other hand, If you are always fucked up you have no priorities but getting fucked up. Damn the wanta be hippies an hanger ons. All the real hippies died in the 60’s . This whole thing about people cheating on their spouses is funny to me also I wonder how many people go home with sand in their vagina’s and the empty feeling that comes with not knowing how many people you had sex with. The more people that die at your “field party” The more police will be involved. Personally i wish the cops wouldn’t try to help people who wont help themselves. Waste of resources an tax payers money.

    With that being said anyone who wants to go should go. Please go just bring drugs (you know the ones were you have have no idea what is inside of them) and enough water to last you a day in the desert. Wait for the night. Wander away from the lights. Your spiritual awakening is in the darkness of the desert! Become one with the desert!!

  19. This was ruined after it became too well-known by the general public. Used to be different—when hardly anyone had heard of it. Years and years ago, I remember a few people knew about it and it was cool–before it got all commercialized and people who’ve got no fucking business being out there caught wind of it and it became “trendy”. All the little assholes who want to go out and just party, get fucked up and laid have ruined it for people who actually GET why everyone is out there. Sounds like it’s just Goddamned spring break bullshit now. Too bad, because, once upon a time, it was really cool.

    I always feel that the fewer people know about something like this, the better. Otherwise, it starts getting fucking homogonized and has too many rules because too many fucking people know about it, which ends up ruining it for everyone. More cops, more rules, more people—too much everything. Just like everything else, once too many fucking people are in on something, the original purpose of it is fucked up and forgotten. It’s a shame this got so popular with people who don’t have a fucking clue as to what it used to be like, because it’s becoming more and more trendy and less original and artsly like days of yore.

    • Also meant to say that this was much better before it was uber-organized—oh, and FREE. It’s gone from having basically NO rules with NO admission fees, to having tickets that cost $400.00 and God knows how many other fees you have to pay. Sad that something that started out really simple and basically free of commercial BS has turned into just another fucking festival.

    • Oh, poor you, having the Burning Man experience ruined by the “general public.” I’m so sorry it couldn’t remain a haven solely for pretentious assholes like you.

      • Sorry, but there is nothing pretentious apparent in that TooManyPeopleRuinBurningMan commented. All I see is an observation of what has happened as it changed from an organic word-of-mouth/self-selecting event into a mainstream media “festival.” What specifically strikes you as pretentious?

        VilePeople, I suspect that you have to project your issues for pretentious to be applicable.


        pre•ten•tious (prĭ-tĕnˈshəs)
        Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
        Making or marked by an extravagant outward show; ostentatious. See Synonyms at showy.

        More at Wordnik from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

      • Hi, Millenial. Speaking of assholes–go get a mirror and you’ll be looking straight at one. 😉 You’re one of the turds I was talking about whose sole reason for going is to get laid and fucked up–you miss the whole point of what it was originally intended to be. You’re the reason things like this turn into just another piece of shit event.

        • It was originally intended as a way for a guy who sucked at art to get laid. Surprised you didn’t know that.

    • Why don’t you go and start your own fucking burnin man then if you’re going to whine about too many people ruining it for you, pretentious asshole? Guess what though? No one cares about your feelings. Or as you said yourself, “fuck yer day”. So maybe you should never attend again and spare everyone else of your useless opinions.

      • kingkhan, your comment presumes we still go. That’s not the case for most of us. In fact people have already started their own creative expereinces, many free:

        But we hope you and your friends still religiously go to Burnt Man. Like flypaper, it attracts you somewhere, and sucks up your spare cash and time, so we don’t have to deal with you elsewhere.

  20. All i know of burning man is the few people ive met who have gone. if those half a dozen or so people are ANY indication of the kind of people at burning man….holy shit i would pay good money to not go

    • And anyone who uses that word, in your avatar name no less, is someone of lesser value than whom you insinuate are “the kind of people” you wouldn’t want to be with. You’re well below the level of quality you think you bestow. Racist much?

  21. It was okay; the way I described it anyone who asked, was that it was “everything”. There were times I felt overwhelmed, underwhelmed, delighted, amazed, loved, disgusted, etc., etc. It was just sensory overload. I’m hoping to burn better (and greener) in years to come. I have ideas for installations and other fun projects I’d like to try as well; but I will probably aim to do that in my community in general (pursue creative outlets and ideas), not just in the BM community.

    I do think though, that sometimes people may put BM on a bit of a pedestal. It is definitely is exceptional/unique in so many ways; but at the end of the day, the things people are doing there are not impossible feats outside of BRC… The difference, and the thing that had me most in awe out on the Playa was that burners *choose* to do/pursue the things they’ve dreamed up. That is what I love about burner culture, and what I hope becomes more a part of everyday life in general.

  22. If you all want to party in a good and positive way then check out Psytribe and Psycircle. Burning Man is for the BIRDS.

  23. I had my first burn this year – super awesome and fun. My airline lost my luggage of food, clothes, etc, no big deal. I met some totally rad people and they helped me out, then I helped other out! It was sweet. New and transformative experiences at BM. Now time to bring some of these values to the default world!

    • That’s an ignorant comment. The Black Rock Desert is cleaned up by mid October every single year and must pass BLM standards for restoration of the landscape. So, yeah, ignorance.

  24. So, Burners, is rape and other forms of assault part of the radical self expression component? Many are too quick to gloss over this fact. Any excuse to ignore these horrific crimes only perpetuates the problem and exhibits a closed minded, heartless human being. And I don’t hear the BM Org taking any proactive measures to make the community safer. If anyone is being abused in your “ideal” reality, then your reality is just as f—ed up as the one you are trying to escape.

    • Why are men so nonchalant about this? It’s like:

      “Yeah there’s playa dust, and tourists are a pain in the ass, oh a little rape too. But anyways…”

      Are male Burners just too cool to care?

    • There’s rape in every portion of the world, and on a similar, relative scale, there’s less rape at BM than in many major cities. It’s all about perspective. I’ve never been before, but I’m considering it for the first time. There’s evils throughout the world, you can’t expect them to disappear like magic because you give an event a name. It’s just how it is. There’s shit everywhere. It’s a part of life. A fucked up, real part of life.

  25. I’d rather just take a bus to Cincinnati with a wad full of cash in my pocket and a thirst for alcohol and generosity and maybe a freakish mask or costume, and spend a 4 day weekend doing whatever the hell I want. Whereas, prancing around like an ass in front of others who prance around like an ass at an ass-prancing event bores the living fuck out of me (Times Square or the Las Vega$ strip on new years for example– not fun and for amateurs). Reminds me of farting next to a sewage treatment plant; you want to maximize your fart fun? Fart in church when it’s silent in there. Yeah, Cinci, I think I’ll book it.

  26. The smoke in Fernly and Fallon today is so think, rotten, and smelly that one thinks of the end of days, a layer of death suffocating life, car lights on all day, sun obliterated, life perishing.

    unhealthy to the 10th degree.

    what is black rock like? will the smoke force a postponement: forest fires burning out of control. federal funds diminishing to fight forest fires. where does it end?


  27. I think Burning Man has become the new Super Bowl. I also can’t get over how so many burners rave about the spirituality of it and the life transformation….blah blah blah…..meanwhile, after years of hearing such rhetoric, it was just a couple years ago I discovered, from a burner who had the balls to be honest, about the rapes.

    So! If I had the spare time and all expenses were paid, sure. I might give it a try. I would go watch a Super Bowl, too. But since I don’t have the time and money, thanks but I’ll pass. My life is beautiful and difficult enough. I don’t need to dehydrate and get beaten by dust (much less risk getting raped) to have a transformative revelation. Maybe that’s just me.

    And maybe I’d be more impressed if there was no rape and no need for electricity.

  28. If you ask someone to build you a large spaceship, and you use the design, you should also pay them for the 15 months of work they put into it.

    The MAN is alive and well–and he is NOT the one getting burned this year.

  29. use your money to rather fly to South Africa,come experience Afrikaburn,WAY more intimate! yes we’ve still got a lot to learn,but what we have achieved in our 8 year history will blow your mind! South Africans are super friendly keen to work,learn and play and get involved,Iv been told by burning man vets,that they’re able to connect with more people on a deeper level.is like burning man,but less people and the karoo desert is not as harsh. but still come prepared!
    the burning culture is starting to really take off here,look out for the vlam collective from cape town at BM 2013,with their very impressive show involving lizie the flaming t-rex. and pendulum. I suggest you guys at least explore the idea of possibly attending the largest regional burn out of Black Rock City! http://www.afrikaburn.com do it!

    one love!

  30. You guys are too funny. This article rings true though I have to admit all of my dealings with BRC law enforcement have been positive (I dare not spread that around).

    Don’t go – it’s a sting operation! They’re hauling dozens off to jail every hour!

    • I just got back from my first burn, and I did not enjoy it. I understand wanting to drink or party a little, but the majority of people I tried to talk to were drunk or high at all hours of the day or night. While BRC is supposed to have many events and seminars, these events are often late, cancelled, or rescheduled for some unknown time, making for a very frustrating experience. I would talk to people on the playa that were obviously high, and they would tell me: “I have to volunteer for my shift at camp in 15 minutes…I missed my shift yesterday…but I really want my chai tea”. So they go off and I doubt they ever made it back to volunteer. Also, the map and Playa info were virutally useless. No one knew where camps (like the French Quarter) or the regional effigies were located.

      The art , and the temple are amazing. Thunderdome was fun. Over 65% of the people I talked to were first time burners. In a city of over 60000 people, I did find a few nice ones, but my money would have been better spent going to Brazil, where they truly have a culture of giving and kindness.

      If you are an artist, a nudist, or like drugs and alcohol, I say go and have fun. If not, try Rio.

    • Just call BM what it is…A time for people to cut loose, get high and not give a fuck about anything other than what they want to at that exact moment and time. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I try to live my life like that everyday. I dont need a week in the desert to do that but I wouldn’t mind going once in my life.

      Although I wanted to go back in the early and mid 90’s when I was a teenager, I had to postpone it. Now that I want to go, I find out that its now a quasi corporate multi million dollar affair. The BMORG, or whoever is responsible for this maker over $20 million per year. Remember that when you all talk about “giving” and “nothing is for sale”….

  31. Other than the beautiful art, this article could not describe Burning Man better. It is dead on! It really sucks!! Full of misfits, dirty hippies, dysfunctional people with serious psychological problems. Super dangerous for women for they can be drugged and raped! Do you really think men are going to keep their junks to themselves when they see naked chics! You can’t use money to buy things.. This is not a vacation it is however a mad-max type of adventure to flee the normal society. The percentage of good educated people that goes there is probably less than 1%. The rest, just be careful! And most of all it is soooo expensive. If you want to stay there for the whole thing, it’s probably gonna cost you a few thousand dollars! For that kinda money you could go to an all inclusive resort in a beautiful tropical paradise in the Caribbeans! What a waste! FUCK Burning Man!!

    • Yes you clearly have not been to burning man. The majority of people I met were highly educated. Pilots, Dr’s, teachers, writers, amazing artists, engineers etc…

    • Hi, your comment is offensively ignorant. There is no place on a forum like this to make sexist remarks such as “Do you really think men are going to keep their junks to themselves when they see naked chics!”. There are dangerous people everywhere, not just Black Rock City. Have fun in the Carribean, make sure you cover yourself head to toe lest a man see a square centimetre of bare skin.

  32. “Nearly everyone around you will be intoxicated, and some of them will be operating incredibly dangerous and highly experimental machinery designed to be maximally destructive.”

    I mean our friends who built an amazing art car have registered it with the DMV (dept mutant vehicles…) and I don’t think there are any ‘incredibly dangerous’ operators hanging about.

    BOTTOM LINE -> don’t go near a large piece of machinery you are supposed to. respect the owners of the artcars and know that if they ARE NOT SOBER they should not be driving just like in ‘normal world’.

    It’s funny, this list may get some people to stay home, unfortunatly most of the douches don’t research or read or prepare so they won’t know. Enjoy your burn and it’s just that YOUR BURN. someone else’s 2011 or 2012 may have sucked because perhaps they tried to camp with their friend in one tent, or they didn’t bring anything to sit on… its DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE.


    which was aweasome but too much $$$$ this year if bringing an RV.

    so … make what you will. don’t go if you don’t want to go, leave room for the good at will and like I’ve been saying since my virgin burn… “If you lose faith in humanity, go to Burning Man”

    see you on the playa peeps…. if you want to play on our stage, just come by and ask. Camp Tsunami – KRONiS

    • they’ll not learn SELF RELIANCE this way.. and you who doesn’t want to be there should leave a ticket available for one who does. just educate your friends. maybe have them read this article. peace

  33. The problem with this article is the like the photos you see on the web of naked men or topless women – yes, it’s there, but you make it sound like it’s 100% of people, and it just isn’t. “People die every year?” Not true – average is less than one a year out of 50,000 attendees. Regarding police here are the Washoe County sheriffs numbers for 2012: 13 misdemeanor citations, 7 DUI arrests, 4 drug arrests, 4 warrant arrests. That’s 50,000 people over a week’s time. The BLM writes about 300 drug citations a year. And mean people? B.S. There are always a few bad apples, but no other place where a perfect stranger will just offer to help you with anything you need and then offer you a beer.

    • The statistics on fatalities and other mishaps at Burning Man are misleading, thanks to the fact that if you die in Black Rock City, you won’t be declared dead until your body gets to a hospital elsewhere. The Org conveniently ignores such deaths as though they happened in Reno, which is only technically true in a legal sense, as ‘Reno’ is listed on the death certificates.

      Now wipe that kool-aid off your mouth, Andy.

      • I don’t know if that’s accurate. I just checked the afterburn reports going back to 2005 and half of the deaths they mentioned were in Reno hospitals or even later. I can’t say if they are whitewashing anything but they are certainly not ignoring all deaths in Reno hospitals.

      • I sure don’t know what Afterburn Reports you’re reading, but I read the ones that the Org publishes. Then again, we often get Org shills making comments here in an effort to deflect negative publicity. Makes me wonder. . .

    • yah but how many people had to “service” and officer or watch them take stuff to party with later. That is what I want to know!

  34. Been to BM twice… first time was awful, and second time was to give it a second chance. Meh, it was ok. Maybe it was better back in the day… seems like a modified college party at this point. Summer break anyone?

    I don’t hate BM but I don’t like it either, and I don’t get why people shit on those for whom it just didn’t work out by saying they don’t want us to come back. It’s not radical inclusion when you’re shutting out dissenting views. Is it so hard to believe that your niche sub-culture is not everyone’s cup of tea?

    It’s very creative and open, but so are half the festivals I’ve been to. The BM elitism is a big turnoff. It’s just a glorified party in the desert, but one that takes more money and resources to go to than any other. White privilege galore. I think I saw 3 non-white people in my entire first day. It’s sad that State funding for arts programs is drying up to such an extent that only the privileged can enjoy such creativity. And I’m sorry, but the black rock desert will never be the same. You can’t have tens of thousands of people there and leave no footprint.

    BM isn’t changing the world. It’s letting privileged people have their yearly outlet before they sneeringly go back to “default reality” where the rest of us chumps live. You change the world with activism, volunteerism, and outreach, not costuming and going to parties all summer.

    Oh well, c’est la vie. You’ve seen one group of naked hedons at a party, you’ve seen them all.

    • Couldn’t agree more with you! Well said! I met good smart people that go to Burning Man that do it with respect and goodwill, and I met total fuckups that go to this party and screw things up and think that they are better than anyone else! You are right! this is a glorified party to express your inner creep and perversions. There are those that express their mind with beautiful art projects. But this is not an Utopia, this is not an activist movement. This will never change the world for the better!

  35. Pfffffffffffft!

    it’s a working vacation….I get paid to spy on chinks, russkies, and the Mossad.

    burning man is a hot-bed of international intrigue, don’t go.

  36. Good article. These reasons will never stop me from going, but every single one of them is full of truth and there’s no point in denying it.

    • that’s an interesting comment. even if those “facts” are true, I’m very curious about BM. so what makes it worth for you? (as if that would be possible to grasp in words 😉 (just curious) cheers!

    • I bought my shade from these guys and so did some of my campmates. It’s as good as it gets and at a very fair price. The poles are thick enough to withstand serious dust storms, but not so thick that they add excessive haul weight…perfect sweet spot. Comes with a sturdy roof tarp. I put netting on the side and haven’t had to use any guy wires at all. Bonus…When the serpent twins roll by you feel all good inside too coz ya helped get them to the playa again.

  37. wow unbelievable..I can’t believe that someone would play such devious act to push new burners away from the experience. frankly some of this stuff is true and a good way to filter out the un-cool unprepared new junkies, but I have a better idea. maybe we should start a burning man orientation that would host all the new comers, spoiled brats. then from these the ones that are ready to mature to become deserving burners can graduate, something like “The Hunger Games”..get it !!

    • Right. . . and who judges who is ready to graduate, and who is not? You?

      I don’t know what you’re talking about when you call my article a “devious act.” Maybe you think it would be a better idea to never tell anyone anything real about Burning Man, so the new people can show up completely unprepared and expecting a mediated experience in which they will be pampered and catered to.

      • My boyfriend wants to go but this thing scares the shit out of me, plus, I don’t have the money. I am highly self reliant, educated and creative. But yea, no

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  39. Good true list, very real. I love BM and will continue to go until Ive absorbed it all, cant do that in one visit. Love and let love. Its communal, its tribal, its a shit load of fun. Stay home candyasses.

    • “candyasses”… brokeass here. A friend of mine goes every year and he has a container sent out by train. I’m sure I could get help and pointers and all that, but I am not only a candyass, but a brokeass. I also don’t like mean and snotty people. I really appreciate this list, thanks.

  40. Funny Margie’s horse is in the section of getting in trouble… hahahaha
    I agree There has to be a good ratio of vets to newbies… I love taking vergins to BM! Its like going for the first time again! Lats year was a Mind Blower for my new lawyer girlfriend! I loved it!! It was also a Mind Blower for my last Girl friend, and Changed her life forever! We both became Regional Contacts for Burning Man, and then she had me Kicked Out of my RC status, after 5 years of being an RC, when we broke up… So now Im part of a Small group of Burnners that have been “Kicked Out” … But still go! I have seen the Inner and the outer workings of BM. I love the people who put this event on! It has become a lot diffrent since my first in 2003, But its evolving, and changing like we all are. People said it was changing in 03′ as well. The Playa is just a small part of BM… Burning Man is a Culture that runs year long! Thats the job of the RC! To create BM Culture in everyday life using the 10 principals. Education, Education, Education! Its the only way to bring in Newbies, Teach them well, and they will become good ol’ vets building ART. Don’t teach them at all… and it will become just a dehydrated drug induced party in the desert.

    • You represent the BM community? Learn to spell. Use some grammar, any grammar. Learn to express yourself. This movement, like all artificially elitist movements, can only stand on the credibility of its weakest members. Once it hits the mainstream, like BM definitely has, it becomes the province of the ignorant, the dullards, and those who take advantage of others. The truth is, the synergy has long been gone from BM, and now it’s propped up on hype and misrepresentation. It’s true that it has disintegrated into a big frat party. It’s crumbling from within. It won’t be long, maybe even this year, when there will be some serious killings/mishaps/tragedies in Black Rock City that they will not be able to hush. The truth is, BM has gone the way of all cults – away from the original ideals and into corruption, lies, and irresponsibility. Chumps who still go? You’re way behind the learning curve. Chumps who still tout it as the Next Big Thing? You’re hopelessly naive and childish. Worse, you’re hopelessly out of date.

      • Lick a shit filled asshole moron. I’m so glad people like Odessa will never be at Burning Man. Go to the alternate festival-douchetard fuckwit Man.

  41. Burning Man is just like the default world, only in concentrated form. It takes the highest highs (and sometimes, the lowest lows) and magnifies them a thousand times.

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  43. sounds like people. nothing new under the sun and neither is this.alienated with too much time and money on your hands.enjoy and be miserable a while,escape for a few and enjoy the possibilities of getting played.sounds like an extension of spring break for those too old anymore or never had opportunity.then back to every day life. such as it is,enjoy if that’s what you think. personally I like it real so I’ll smoke one and go listen play some sounds.maybe head to cuba.just another as whole opinion

  44. When it finally came down to needing a lottery, BM sold out. There are other places, even in this country that could accommodate all who wish to attend. Further more, venues that could not only accommodate all who can pull it together to attend but do so with less policing or at least less branches of law enforcement.
    After hearing about the lottery in 2011 I asked a Navajo brother of mine about the idea of BM on the reservation in Arizona. Could be policed by Navajo police and money could go in to the pockets of the reservation instead of BLM ” no offense BLM”. I guess for me something really turned me off about it when I realized a lot of the burners I am used to seeing there would not be able to attend. It seems like at this point the only way to insure your whole crew can go is by having a theme camp or large art installation. Well BM, WTF?
    Every time I see BM now I think Bowel Movement and how much I dislike BM covered blue cubes to do your business in and the dreaded walk of shame to and from the porta’s. God bless Johnny on the spot!
    Would love to see the next level of BM!!! San Francisco could not hold us and now it appears Nevada can’t either. Unless of course you win the lottery. If you win the lottery are you still going to want to go to burning man or just be happy to have a good BM?

  45. And to the point of the entire site… The more they dissuade others from participation ,the more enjoyment for those who limited perspective of possibility and inclusion get. Sorry for the run on sentence . For those wishing to reply please allow 24 hrs. Of ego reflection….

  46. #11 is sooo true – but my answer was to learn to appreciate/tolerate it as all the other environmental stresses of the Playa. Smoke, dust, sun, cold, heat, dryness, fatigue, overindulgence, overstimulation are all there, and if you can’t take the music, with multiple versions simultaneously kicking out of sync beats into your brain, stay home, cause it can be the final straw!

  47. take what you want from the playa and don’t worry about anything else… He whole BM experience would not be as fulfilling as it is without vets and virgins and sparkle ponies

  48. my understanding of “fuck yer day”, based upon what happened to a friend and his girlfriend in 04. short version — they were “busted” for having sex in the open playa — busted by a group of guys who pulled up in a van, looking official, and telling them to get in the van, and open their bags for a search, or face immediate jail time. things got really messy and elevated and there was shouting, and at the last minute , van guys said, “just kidding, fuck yer day.” and took off.

  49. I’ve been twice with my husband and had a wonderful time. The people were great, the dust terrible but an adventure in acceptance! Of course there were times we weren’t having fun, but that is true of any experience. You can avoid anything that makes you uncomfortable, including the hedonistic side. Like life Burning Man is what you make of it.

    Number 10 does sum it all up well!

  50. #11. Don’t go if you have low tolerance for being bombarded with crappy electronic music 98.6% of the time. If you do have low tolerance, know that you can seek refuge at a very small number of camps like VBC, unless they’re being blown out by a neighboring camp with a huge soundsystem that no one except the owner is paying attention to. Then you’re fucked.

  51. I’m a 7 time burner and have thankfully never heard someone yell “fuck yer day”. What’s the point of that? It lacks originality and is definitely trying too hard to be an “insider”. I’ve heard some similar sentiments from douchey burners- usually propped up by being drunk and surrounded by like minded morons. Kindness and being open to experience will serve you better than fake authenticity on the playa.

  52. This list is on point. It’s the hard truth, and nothing but. I love burning man and will probably continue to go until it gets shut down or the world ends. I think the event itself is what you make it… you can get a lot out of it if that’s what you what, but an open mind is key. Personally, I’ve gotten so much personal growth from each year… that I am indebted to it. That being said… It’s definitely not for everyone. In fact, some people would probably consider it a nightmare of epic proportions. So I’d say, don’t go in expecting it to be “just a big ass party”. Yeah, it is that, but there’s more out there in the sand, and I can’t be sure you’ll remain comfortable or sane.

  53. Never heard “fuck yer day,” and have always found most burners to be smart and kind and generous – not mean. My friend did get a “nice store-bought costume” comment once, but hey, it was the truth!

  54. The one thing I hear repeatedly is how hard it is to survive at BM. It’s bullshit. It’s fucking CAR CAMPING. It’s hot there, it’s windy at times but unless you’re a clueless candyass who forgets to bring enough food, water or shelter camping, surviving there is a matter of dragging a bunch of crap out to the desert in a vehicle and hanging out for a week. Oh, and not ODing, if you’re into that kinda crap. I’ve had a way harder time camping in the snow.

    • That works fine when you’re prepared to just hang around camp and cower in your tent when the weather gets harsh. . . but most people don’t do that. Thinking “it’s only car camping, big deal” can get you into big trouble in a hurry should you decide to do something as simple and seemingly safe as taking a walk.

  55. Yes. It always bothers me when people think it’s all peace and love. It’s more like black sheep rednecks with ambition. It’s loud, abrasive, dirty, you burn a bunch of gas driving strange vehicles around, eat mostly bacon, drink cheap beer constantly etc.

  56. so true! 90% of problems that occur on playa would never happen if you follow 2 simple rules – don’t be stupid and don’t be an asshole. and if you don’t like it, you can stay at your home, and we’ll go back to ours. <3!

    • lol. In the spirit of this article, if you have to ask what DPW is, then maybe you need to read more about Burning Man before you go. But to be nice, they are the people who work their asses off for months on the playa before and after the burn to build it’s infrastructure. And yes, they tend to be elitist, but damn if you’ve been on the playa for a month before anyone else arrives, you’ve earned that right.

  57. Yeah, I heard about the physical discomforts way back. I like the desert; but not for more than a day. I prefer the forest. Oh well, I still like hearing about it and am glad it exists.

  58. my take on “Fuck Yur Day,” it means, each day is a gift, so grab it and hold it tight, and FUCK the shit out of it! Enjoy every moment of it! Give it all you’ve got.

  59. A bunch of selfish, mediated, white people with a bunch of money and no desire to help their fellow man, but plenty of desire to portray themselves as quality beings.

    • Building strong communities helps your fellow man. Burning Man is an incredibly strong community. A lot of minds are opened at Burning Man every year. People there are being themselves. I meet more open, quality people there in an hour than I do in an entire year in California… because people aren’t pretending to be something they aren’t.

      That being said, nobody said burners were trying to save the world… the fact that it has become “more than a party” is something else, and open to interpretation… BUT the BM organization has given a good portion of it’s profits to schools and infrastructure in Nevada and across the world. There’s also Black Rock Solar, who donate solar panels to schools and indian tribes in need… and there’s Burners without borders that organizes volunteer work… So… What’s your problem? Don’t like hippies?

    • Tell that to all the non whites there. Tell it to the neighboring Indians who get free/cheap tickets. Go fuck a goat in the ass you clueless fucktard. Your parents , spouse and kids hate you.

    • Dude…

      If this is not a joke…

      I love you.

      I just went to a regional equinox party.

      I don’t know how many dirty fucks I saw make out with at least half a dozen people in the span of the evening.

      And then the saliva stained fucks spread it around like peanut butter.

      One observation that I made was that the more trampy a tramp is dressed…

      The more likely they are to give you pizza dick, skaggmouth or pimpled lips.

      If you want a solid person that isn’t going to make your crotch fall out…

      I don’t know…

      Maybe get tested yada yada yada

      If you want playa dust in your pisshole with a touch of twelve other people’s juices…

      Be a super hip cynical fuck in Nevada.

      Notice how they can’t even find a spot in the bay.

      The home of the hippies gave them the boot.

      And don’t give me this…

      “We’re not hippies shit… or… we’re neo hippies”

      Your fucking hippies without the hope.

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