A guest post by Adrian Stefirta
Note: All images used in this article are copyright-free
5 Tips For Surviving Your First Burning Man Experience
Your first Burning Man should be a liberating experience. And by “liberating” I suppose it should be as far away from the outer world as it can safely be. There should be no Facebook feeds, retweets and all that meaningless stuff.
People claim that the Burning Man that is well prepared for is a spiritual experience like no other. That’s no mystery, I guess. Leaving your annoying nine-to-five job to interact with random people, far away from civilization, sometimes doing drugs you’ve never heard of can easily be one of the most thrilling experiences you’ve engaged in so far. Speaking of drugs…
1. Make Sure You Get Tickets Early
Ever hear the saying “The early bird gets the worm”? Well, the early bird gets to go to Burning Man as well!
Before we even get to the tips for when you arrive at the event, let’s first cover the fact that you should get tickets early. This is not something you’ll want to wait last minute for.
Burners.me wrote back in 2015 about 14 Tips For Getting Burning Man Tickets. The advice is still good to this day.
2. Get in the zone
The festival is famous for the community. You’ll definitely encounter the most bizarre people that have lots amazing stories and experiences to share, and it would be a shame not to get out in the world and sink in the energy surrounding you.
Leave your camera, don’t worry about your friends’ gastronomic preferences in your social media feed, and forget about your outfit. Nobody cares, neither should you. As an EDM fan, you might imagine that a festival is a place you easily get the vibe.
3. Self-reliance is crucial
Moreover, you could even say that self-reliance is in the spirit of the event. You must be ready for nearly everything that could go wrong and the more precaution you apply to your preparations, the smoother the experience.
You’ll need a huge amount of things starting with a flashlight and a pack of zip lockers to lip balm and a bicycle. There are so many things you’ll need, you’re guaranteed to forget something.
As mentioned above, leave your designer clothes at home and only bring clothing that is useful, warm (it can get chilly at night), and durable. You’re going to be exposed to numerous hours of sun, sand, and wind, which will be very demanding of your body and your clothing. Bear in mind that you’ll probably eat quite an amount of sand in the process, so why not bring a mask that you can wear when the wind is strong.
You see, people who haven’t taken proper care of their provisions have a special name they’re called on the Playa – Sparkling Ponies. You don’t want to be one.
4. Bring gifts
The sky’s the limit, but why not grab some practical things in a light excess? If you still have some spare space in your car, don’t hesitate to grab some snacks, water bottles, and other things that people around you could find useful. However, do not misunderstand the essential idea around gifts. You shouldn’t rely on people swapping their resources on yours because they’ve probably messed up and forgot to bring a bunch of important stuff, just like you did.
Gifts are about offering and not about trading, so don’t be offended if you give someone your grandfather’s watch and all you get is a free hug. Do not forget about the emotional and spiritual imperative of the event.
This is your first Burning Man experience. It’s one of a kind, and none will be same. You’re stoked and you’re freaking out. Regardless of that, you need to sleep. This may sound like a bizarre thing to say, yet there are so many amazing things happening on the Playa every single hour, that you’ll probably feel like a fool if you missed any of those. But this is another thing you’ll have to let go of.
Let your body rest a reasonable amount of time. You’re permanently exposed to sun, wind, sand, loud music, random people, alcohol, and crazy experiences. Let your brain rest. This is not a marathon you need to win, this is supposed to be an inspiring and spiritual experience. Remember?
Some people simply sleep throughout daylight and rave all night, which isn’t necessarily the best pattern to experience what the Burning Man has got to offer.
As an EDM fan, it is crucial that you perceive the Burning Man as a concept in its entirety. You could say that the festival isn’t about electronic music or karaoke but still many people go just because they have the best karaoke machines from the Music Critic’s guide to karaoke machines, as much as it is about the counterculture and its fringes. Well, you may claim that, given its background.
In the mid-nineties, Burning Man featured the Techno scene that was continuously emerging from the ghetto as its central musical figure. Nowadays, Techno is still in the underground of contemporary culture, yet, you can easily spot artists like Calvin Harris and others in the festival’s line-ups.
Is Calvin Harris about counterculture? I can hardly imagine. So what you need to know is the following – the festival does not focus on music as much as it focuses on the spiritual experience. Depending on your musical preferences, you may or may not want to choose other places to visit.
In my humble perspective, as a very opinionated appreciator of underground electronic music, there is nothing that mainstream artists like the above-mentioned can bring to my table, in terms of spirituality. But it’s your call to be made, so choose wisely before you decide to visit the Playa, expecting it would even remotely resemble a club in Ibiza.
Adrian Stefirta is an EDM producer & writer for MIDI Lifestyle. He’s also an aficionado of Techno and a resident at Waxtefacts Records.