Burning Man: An Inside View

Burning Man comes every late August, early September and marks our time to pack up the RV and begin the journey to Black Rock City, Nevada to attend the week long festival. Maybe you’ve heard of it? No description of the event can accurately depict the colors, emotions, creativity and awe that awaits every Burner (attendee). The year we attended, the event was entitled Fertility 2.0 and just as the ticket reads each participant is meant to be one creative spark in a sea of energy.

No amount of planning will prepare you for the dusty drive and arrival to the vast, dry lake bed, aka the playa of Black Rock City. For one week, you become a member of a community consisting of just over 50,000 people based on art, an experiment in self-expression, self-reliance, self-discovery, co-creation, gifting, civic responsibility, communal effort, participation and life celebration. When you arrive as a first timer, (virgin burner) you will be asked to get out of your car and ring the welcome bell, after which you will receive a hug from one or more of the greeters at the gate wishing you a great burn. If you are ready to dive into the dust you may be asked to make a dust angel.

The event takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, re-imagined every year but always known as, “The Man”.

You can expect to see astounding visionary art, interactive art and theme camps including dance venues, a bowling alley, a skate board park, a thunderdome arena, a roller skating rink and a movie theater, mutant vehicles (creatively altered cars and trucks), unimagined forms of glowing bicycles and tricycles and of course the Temple, which is also burned and redesigned yearly. As first timers we were in such awe that taking video was difficult, fortunately there are some amazing videos on Youtube that we are able to share.

This year the name given to the temple was, “Temple of Juno”. It was made up of a large central tower with a central altar space, sitting within a 150′ x 150′ walled courtyard lined with benches and accessed from four entrances. Intricately cut wooden panels and detailed shapes covered the courtyard walls as well as the interior space and altars, all filled with penned messages from burners offering intimate thoughts to be inevitably destroyed by the burn.

Everything you see and experience will likely take you from laughter to tears and back again. You may even be wondering to yourself why you came and turning to find the answer before you’ve truly pondered the question. The possibilities are limitless, and your limits will be tested. Your creative juices will over flow, and you’ll be amazed at the creativity of all that surrounds you. As stated in the BM principle, “Leave No Trace” you will leave with everything you brought in and maybe even an epiphany of self discovery. Take a look at the amazing video below, giving an aerial view of the city known as Black Rock  that has since vanished from existence until 2013.

The experience is meant to be shared and yet so very personal. Yes, there are drugs but only if you bring them. Many, including myself prior to going are under the impression that Burning Man is a drug induced, week long naked sex party. If that’s what you want it to be it’s yours for the taking, but the experience itself is the drug.

All dressed up in costumes that allowed us to be whomever we wanted to be, we rode our decorated, glowing bikes all through the playa to discover, enjoy and soak up all the cool in the heat of the day! It is something everyone should be a part of at least once. It will renew your sense of belonging and highlight your desire to be tolerant, kind and courteous.

* Certain Facts re: Temple obtained from Wikipedia
* Photos courtesy of Chris Emerick, Tamar Johnson and Pepper Weinglass
* For the Love of Art Cars Video: shared from Panigirl
* Burn Video: shared from Vegas Media Services
* Burning Man 2012 Aerial Tour Video: shared from Experimental Airlines