Mad Max Meets Instagram
No need to worry about makeup at Burning Man--the desert dust will gladly cake your face for free. Well, if you don't account for the cost of tickets, that is. But $500+ a pop seems worth it for some natural desert exfoliation and fun with your artsy friends. We're not sure what benefits sand has for the skin, but we can only hope it's good.
That being said, this picture gives us serious Mad Max vibes. From the outfits and the color scheme to the dusty setting and odd art piece in the background, it's basically Mad Max: Fury Road come to life -- luckily, without all of the war and resource shortages. It's a worthy alternative!
Dustin Hoffman, the genius behind this animatronic hermit crab was originally born in California but has lived everywhere from Ecuador to New York City. Obviously, he spends his spare time working in metal fabrication to create electric vehicles like this one. Burning Man is the perfect place for artists like Hoffman to show off their skills.
Nicknamed Shelly the Crab, this creation is described as "an animatronic, electric hermit crab sculpture" who is able to carry up to two people at a time. Plus, she has retractable wheels for a smoother ride as well as mechanical legs that actually walk. Inspired by Theo Jansen's windwalking creatures, Hoffman blew everyone else's creations out of the water with this crab.
Paris Hilton's Here?
Remember what we said about the Hollywood elite infiltrating Burning Man's sacred community? Well, here's Paris Hilton for you. She probably didn't bat an eye at the ticket prices, and who knows how long she actually stayed on festival grounds. Do you see this socialite sleeping in the dirt? Yeah, probably not.
This year's Burning Man isn't the first time she's attended, and it's certainly not the last. In fact, she's made a habit out of reposting pictures from Burning Mans in years past to show off just how much fun she has to her thousands of followers. Not gonna lie, her outfit this year was pretty cool. We're not jealous at all... Obviously...
The 2021 Burning Man art theme was "The Great Unknown," which feels appropriate because the "real" festival didn't actually happen. Instead of holding a burning Man in the Spring, like usual, it was canceled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19. The pictures from this year's festival are from September's alternatively titled event "Renegade Man."
This art piece also seems to fit into the theme. What's more of a "great unknown" than matters of the heart? Spanish artist Ilza Ponko posted this image on her Instagram page, saying, "Living with an open heart is one of the most important things to learn in life. A heart that forgives and that also knows how to recognize its mistakes with courage. An open heart knows how to enjoy the little moments."
Fur Real Love
The best aspect of Burning Man is its emphasis on expressing your true self, which means that there's no room for bigotry or exclusion. Attendees Bradley and his partner pose here in coordinating fur coats, black sunglasses, and funky pants. Their other pictures showcase their joyful time together on the playa.
Radical inclusion is the first principle of Burning Man enacted by co-founder Larry Harvey. He wrote, "Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community." Similarly, the last principle is immediacy. "Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture," Harvey wrote. "We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves..."
If you didn't know any better, you'd probably assume that these light paintings were an actual installation at this year's Burning Man; unfortunately, you'd also be a fool. How are we supposed to know what's real and what's not?! Everything lights up and floats around there... Give us a break!
Apparently, light painting tubes exist, and that's what the festival-goers used here to make make the party look more interesting than it actually was. The company behind the magic is @lightpaintingtubes on Instagram. There you can see the various ways light tubes can be used to brighten up your pics!
People might make jokes about the costumes and nudity at Burning Man, but it's actually written into the event's principles. One of the principles is "radical self-expression, which the website defines as "rising from the unique gifts of the individual... Participants at the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert are encouraged to express themselves in a number of ways through various art forms and projects. The event is clothing-optional and public nudity is common, though not practiced by the majority."
Along these lines, another principle is participation, meaning that people are heavily encouraged to engage in the activities of the festival rather than observe them or appropriate them for their social media. "Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic," the committee writes. "We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play."
Photographer Imogen Steele managed to nab the perfect shot of Camp Surly Bird, the unusually large chicken float in the background. The geniuses behind this poultry-themed creation call themselves Surly Bird and recruit members and volunteers to help them assemble the float for each year's festival. Most of them fly in months before Burning Man begins!
According to SurlyBird's Facebook page, their sound camp is a double-decker art car that "first debuted on the playa in 2003 and has undergone some amazing and imaginative transformations since then. As the DMV and Burning Man community are demanding higher quality art and ingenuity, the crew of Surly Camp rises to the occasion, offering the eyes new and inspiring imagery."
The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
There he is--the Man of the hour himself. And to think, all this craziness happens just so people can set him on fire. I'd be a little miffed if I were him. Artists spend weeks and weeks designing, collaborating, constructing, and delivering the Man in one piece to the festival.
But what do we do? Burn it down so that we have a pretty backdrop for our YouTube vlogs of us dancing and crying as it turns to dust. Perhaps that's what Burning Man is going for. You can put a ton of hard work into a piece of art, and its ability to evoke emotions can continue even once it burns away.
Who said Burning Man was only for humans to enjoy? Many festival-goers are animal lovers because they're so in tune with nature. So what do they do when Burning Man is coming up in a few weeks and they have a new puppy to take care of? Bring him along, of course!
This proud puppy's owner describes him as "Rowdy The Burner Puppy." Is that not the cutest -- and most appropriate -- name ever for a festival owner's dog? Rowdy... come on! We can't handle the cuteness. Plus, we appreciate that Rowdy's decked out in goggles to protect his sensitive puppy eyes from the dust.
Dust In Curious Places
Despite all the negatives of the festival, not everyone who goes to Burning Man is there to flaunt their wealth or act like a pretentious art historian for a week. In fact, the event started with a bunch of so-called "crunchy granola" hippies and artists who all have their unique personalities and artistic motivations to be at the festival.
In fact, these people have a great sense of humor. Half the fun of being a creative genius is using your art to make people smile! There's merit in constructing giant temples and makeshift men to represent humanity's shared understanding of loss... but sometimes we just want to laugh about everyone having desert dust caked onto our bodies in all the worst places.
Known as none other than Lord Snort, this wild boar sculpture debuted at Burning Man in 2016 and he's been fondly remembered since! Like all of the other art pieces found at the festival, he is large, expensive, and used as a backdrop for midday desert shenanigans. As you can tell, people love climbing him and shouting across the playa.
Burning Man's website lists Lord Snort as the creation of Californian artist Bryan Tedrick, who describes his work as "a wild boar roughly 20' tall and 30' long which balances on a shaft, allowing it to rotate 360 degrees. Made of steel, it is rough and unbreakable and people can climb all over it. It will serve as a gathering point for unimagined interactions."
While exploding wooden structures are pretty cool in theory, when you play with fire, be prepare to feel the heat. The festival is usually rife with arrests for everything from drug possession to assault, but there have been a few terrible accidental injuries that have happened since the festival first began.
The most recent was an accidental death that took place at the 2019 Burning Man. Shane Billingham, a New Zealand native, was found on Thursday, August 30, which was the fifth day of the event. According to The Guardian, the toxicology report "showed a concentration of carbon monoxide in his blood that would be poisonous to human life." Wonder how that could've happened...
Renegade Man's giant ping mantis sculpture isn't the first of its kind to appear on Black Rock Desert's. The praying mantis seems to be a muse for many artists over the past few decades. The mantis is a beloved art car that first debuted back in 2015 at the real Burning Man, a year after "The Mantis" sculpture was constructed on the playa.
Arizona artist Heather Dessel sculpted "The Mantis" using the hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) process. She told the American Galvanizers Association, "I wanted something more durable that would hold up to the rigors of being moved about while maintaining resistance to blowing sand, rain, and extreme sun. Hot-dip galvanizing seemed like the logical solution... An added benefit that was discovered during the process was that galvanizing is green. This fits with one of the key 10 principles, which include leaving no trace and recyclability."
Like Paris Hilton, this influencer reminisced on Buring Man of years past by posting a photo reel to her followers. You can't truly appreciate the fun times you've had without sharing it on social media, right? And, no, it's not bragging at all... Nope, not even a little bit.
The structure she's standing in front of is from 2019, when the theme was "Metamorphosis." Coordinators of Burning Man described the theme on their website, saying: "This year’s theme is a celebration of change, and an exploration of uncertainty... None of us knows what he or she will become, but we can seek to understand where we are at this point in our transformative trajectory, this fleeting chord on the strings of existence."
A LBD Won't Cut It
While we were just praising the exfoliation benefits of sand for the skin, no amount of looking sexy is worth the amount of sand this attendee is going to have to deal with at the end of the day. Believe it or not, this outfit is actually practical for the setting.
The goggles protect her eyes from the dust, which is a natural irritant. Then, she protects her hair with a head covering so it doesn't get damaged by the sun or whip her in the face. As for the rest of the outfit, she goes minimal to stick with the theme of Woodstock, which is generally as unclothed as possible, but the top and shorts are also a durable, breathable fabric that won't expose her to the world at a moment's notice.
The is man photographed here, Sunny Quetzalcoatl, calls himself "Cosmic Dream Serpent" on Instagram. Despite calling himself an artist, mystic, and "living legend," his account is oddly private. Burning Man is the perfect destination for spiritualists of all kinds. Sonny, for instance, is also a sobador, talismanist, and toltec oracle.
On his Facebook page, he further describes himself as a "sound alchemist, visual artist, designer, ontological engineer," and "an ecstatic technician of the sacred." All of these things you probably assumed based on the photo that @notyourphotographer captured from 2021 Burning Man, which goes to show how much information your outfit can convey at festivals and during daily life.
Despite what most of the pictures that influencers release from Buring Man, it's not all white desert backdrops and whimsical selfies in front of sound camps. In fact, all types of people gather at these festivals, including those who practice rather, well, demonic stuff. Look at this picture... what else could possibly be going on there?
Okay, okay. Just because there are antlers on fire doesn't mean they're Satanists. In fact, this is Hjeron O'Sidhe, a performer who describes themselves as a "skald, swordsman, and storyteller." "Skald" is basically a synonym for a poet who writes in one of the Old Norse forms. O'Sidhe seems to perform for a company called Mythmaker Productions who feature performers dancing with fire.
There's a lot to unpack with this... creation. What appears to be a mutant half-snail, half-school bus, the creator of this sound camp really flips the script on what people consider a party bus. From the gigantic rainbow shell to the expansive antennae, we'd love to know the artist's inspiration for this vehicle.
But if you look into the Burning Man photo and art archives, you'll quickly notice a pattern among these vehicles and their resemblance to none other than the beloved gastropod. Why? Do all the artists just LOVE escargot? Or is it just funny to construct a car out of an animal that's known for being slow and fragile? Yeah, we assume it's the latter.
For the Record
One of the most expensive installations in its history, this giant gramophone was the talk of the town (or the desert, in this case) at Burning Man 2017. Not only was this piece completely analog and workable, it was also used as a transportation device. Basically, it was another sound camp disguised as an art piece.
Title "La Victrola," the piece is made from five tons of steel and is 35 feet tall! Because it's movable and plays multiple records, "La Victrola" was used as the 2017 cabaret state for jazz artists and other performers. All in all, the creators of this piece cost up to $40,000!
To get a good grasp on just how massive these figures are, look how they tower over the mountains in the distance. It's all about perspective, of course, but even standing a few miles away from the mountains would further emphasize how massive these structures really are to the viewer.
Many of the art pieces constructed for burning Man are massive because they are built to encourage community participation, which usually means it's a thing for people to party in or on. On the other hand, Burning Man is like an outdoor art gallery, only differing from brick-and-mortar galleries in that the massive wooden art pieces burn to the ground by the end of the week.
Burning Man has hosted its fair share of wonderfully wise elephant pieces over the years, and 2021 was no exception. This elephant might have been a blow-up version and objectively inferior compared to years past, visitors like Xannarian got enough of a kick out of the thing to snap a picture!
Our favorite Burning Man elephant is definitely Slonik from 2019. Slonik was a 75-foot-tall green fluorescent elephant created by Russian artist Mikhail Tsaturyan. As described on Burning Man's website, "#Slonik is designed to draw attention to elephant mistreatment in Africa and Asia. We should not let the elephants go extinct. If you take one element away from the ecosystem it will affect all the other creatures including humans themselves! Slonik — transliteration from Cyrillic — is the diminutive form of a Russian word that means elephant."
The Desert Is Not the Place to Dress Like Royalty
I bet those clothes stayed white for all of ten seconds after this picture was taken. But that's not really the point, is it? These totally impractical outfits were put together for the sole purpose of snapping an Instagram-worthy picture of their "totally rad" time at a desert festival. No shame, but it's the truth.
Before it became a destination for those who wanted to take the most envy-inducing Instagram photos, Burning Man was an "underground gathering for bohemians and free spirits of all stripes," but it has since evolved "into a destination for social media influencers, celebrities and the Silicon Valley elite," as described by NPR in 2019.
This "Funky Skunk" is a lot like the Shelly, the hermit crab, but a little more dysfunctional. To be honest, we much prefer Shelly's look over the skunk's... but we suppose dysfunction comes with the name "Funky." He looks like a mix between a squirrel and a dinosaur chicken nugget. You see it, right?
But most people who were at Burning Man would probably defend Funky's appearance and claim that focusing on his outside shell isn't the point. The point is for Funky to bring people together with his flashy lights and free rides across the expansive desert. Keep Funky in might the next time you need a designated driver!
Let's Hope They Didn't Burn His Parachute Too
Here's a view of the festivities most Burning Man goers don't get to experience. This picture is probably heavily photoshopped, but the death-defying parachute man certainly isn't faking his fear. We're not sure what's going on with the macaroni-shaped print in the sand, but we're not here to question the photographer's choices.
The Attic covered Burning Man in September 2018, interviewing attendees about their experiences and analyzing how Burning Man got so popular. One person said, "Burning Man is about 'why not' overwhelming 'why'." Based on these pictures we've compiled, you don't have to tell us that more than once!
Doing your own thing is amazing. In fact, it's encouraged! However, quirky signs are not the best way to get your message across, basically because they're cringey. This sign doesn't convey, "I'm an individual!" but rather screams, "I'm desperate for attention!" and "We're better than everyone who couldn't afford a ticket!"
In fact, one of the core principles of Burning Man outlined by co-founder Larry Harvey is "radical inclusion" along with "gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy." In other words, a sign that shames everyone who couldn't come as weird and elitist is incredibly ironic.
We're sure she got up there safely -- not so sure she got down as successfully. The middle of the desert is the last place you want a broken leg, but as long as you got that Instagram photo, right? Do it for the 'gram! And if you do end up breaking a bone, you can capitalize on your pain by posting routine recovery updates from the hospital. It's a win-win!
Many of the art pieces brought to the festival are Avante-Garde and not easily understood. This giant "V" probably makes a lot more sense within the context of that year's theme, but looking at it as an outsider is just... confusing. This Instagram model claims the "V" stands for "Victory," so we'll have to trust her on this one.
And It All Goes Up in Flames
If you haven't journeyed to the desert to run around nude and set something giant on fire have you really lived? If you haven't journeyed to the desert to run around nude and set something giant on fire, have you really lived? That's what regular Burning Man participants would probably say to all of us weirdo normal people.
Most people like seeing things explode as much as the next person, but running around flammable objects in the buff isn't safe nor most people's idea of a good time. But it does make for some cool social media pictures for everyone who wasn't there to fantasize about for weeks.
Don't Forget to Pack a Fire Extinguisher
If you were worried that the desert heat won't be hot enough for you, don't fret--there will be plenty of pyrotechnics. From fireworks to exploding statues to burning down The Man, this festival is the place to be for pyromaniacs. And it's all completely legal (we assume)! Even when you're dancing during the day you can see bursts of fire explode from floats traveling across the desert.
Business Insider describes how the festival got its name: "The event derives its name from its culmination: the symbolic burning of a large wooden effigy, referred to as the Man, that occurs on the penultimate night of Burning Man, which is the Saturday evening before Labor Day." Makes sense!
Thar She Blows
We're not sure who was the captain of this ship, but if you find yourself on a pirate ship in the middle of the desert, then you're definitely off course. It's especially bad when you catch a Los Angeles social media influencer posing against your vessel for a brand sponsorship...
Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada has hosted this event since 1991, but it wasn't always Burning Man's home. Larry Harvey and Jerry James built the first "Man" in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Then, it was a small community function for hippies and free spirits, but the event's attendance has increased exponentially since the '80s. In 2019, nearly 70,000 people showed up!
Catching a Wave
If you thought that a baby sea turtle's journey from the sandy beach to the treacherous ocean is dangerous, just imagine them trying to making it to a northern Nevada desert. This art piece is representative of many Burning Man installations. Most are enjoyable to pose with during the day, but they're really built to shine in the darkness.
The blue light juxtaposed against the silvery-white light rippling across the suspended turtle makes it look like it's really jetting through the dark ocean depths. If we were festival-goers who spotted this structure in the middle of the night after a three-hour rave, we'd surely be losing our minds over the illusion.
Take Me To Your Leader
Even the aliens have to arrive at Burning Man in style. Although if they were looking for Roswell, their GPS is a little off. But if we were aliens flying above America and saw weird creatures burning a giant wooden likeness of themselves, we'd probably drop in to see what was going on, too.
Unfortunately for the aliens, Burning Man doesn't provide the best insight into what humanity is normally like from day to day. However, it can be argued that Burning Man draws out the most animalistic, natural desires of humanity, including dance, setting things on fire, and conversing with others.
No Building is Normal at Burning Man
We're not saying this mind-boggling structure leads Burning Man attendees to some magical wormhole that transports them into the ethereal plane, but we're not saying it doesn't. You'd have to ask someone who has been there to see what really goes on in these tends. Is it really just music and art appreciation, or is there something more going on?
Okay, okay. It's probably not that deep. Based on all the people laying around and staring at the center, it looks like a place for attendees to sit, relax, and contemplate while the festival around them explodes with music (and actual explosions). It's healthy to take a moment to reflect no matter where you are!
If the desert wildlife isn't enough for you, hopefully, someone will bring some more along with them. While there are plenty of actual animals living in the desert, they're probably not so fond of millennial partygoers infringing on their homes. So Burning Man decided to bring the animals for you to pose with, and they won't fight back!
This chameleon statue is already impressive to look at in the daylight, but its true purpose is to light up the night. Not only is the construction impeccable, but we can't imagine the time and effort it takes to execute arts pieces that are only appreciated for a week every year. Designed by Amit Weissenstern, this "Come-Million" is made of thousands of LED lights that change color based on how people interact inside of the structure.
Hope You Brought Your Library Card
Even in the middle of the desert, there's nothing better than curling up with a good book. Who would have thought you'd go to Burning Man to catch up on your reading? If that's the case, then count us in! We doubt these people have the energy to dance all day and into the night. They need to unwind at some point.
This library-esque structure is every bookworm's dream and was most likely constructed to fit that year's theme put forward by the Burning Man Project. While there's a lot of controversy surrounding "the problem of non-participatory influencers and elite at the event," as reported by the Burning Man Journal, it's nice to know that the festival hasn't slacked in the creativity deparment.
Drawing a Crowd
These people are probably having a great time with their daytime dance party, but all we see is one giant melanoma. Rule number one of any desert festival is this: wear sunscreen! If nothing else, broad-spectrum SPF is key for surviving a week-long dance marathon and salvaging any of your skin's health after the party's over.
Burning Man is made up of a range of "camps" featuring different activities and art pieces. A large part of the festival is made up of sound camps, which cropped up in the early '90s as San Francisco rave culture bled into surrounding areas. Terbo Ted was the first DJ to perform in Burning Man history as he blasted a vinyl record of Jean Michel Jarre.
Burning Man: Calling all mystical beasts! We're not entirely sure what's going on here, but that guy is almost certainly a wizard. There's only room enough in this "shelter" for one person, and we're not sure it can be classified as shelter when there's barely a roof, walls, or floor to protect you.
But when you're a mythical wizard camping out in the human world, Burning Man is probably the best place for you to be. Nobody will look at you weird for casting spells or sitting in a pale-white desert temple all by your lonesome. In fact, you'll be praised for it!
Just so we don't forget--because this is truly the incredible part of Burning Man--this giant art piece (and many others) was constructed and taken down in the span of this nine-day festival. This is like an engineer's fantasy...or maybe their worst nightmare, if you really think about it.
This piece is another installation that uses an aircraft as the basic theme, but this one has obvious differences from the normal plane seen earlier. For one, it's unnaturally curved and seems to transform into a trippy metal UFO that festival-goers can climb up to and party in.
The Mysteries of Egypt
Just another one of many context-free (but still amazing) temporary works of art you can find at Burning Man. There are a ton of different ways that spectators may interpret this art, and we certainly aren't the experts on Burning Man installations, so take it for what you will.
In our opinion, it looks like a wonky female gender symbol that's made up by a bunch of blocky puzzle pieces. However, it also looks like part crucifix and part infinity symbol made up of the same puzzle pieces... perhaps it's a commentary on being inclusive and open-minded? That's what Burning Man's all about, right?
Spiritual Enlightenment in the Desert
For Burning Man 2016, a pagoda-like temple was erected. In the desert. For nine days only. It's one thing to build a giant stick figure to burn down on day eight, and it's another thing to pay an architect to design a beautiful temple for the Hollywood elite to party in and destroy.
David Best created the first Burning Man temple in 2000 and returned over a decade later to make this one, simply titled "The Temple." "Over the years I've built eight temples," Best told Reno Gazette Journal. "I have realized now that the temple really belongs to the community. The man is the man. The temple is the temple. It doesn’t belong to me." "The Temple" is an "architectural tribute to loss" and the Gazette deems it the most significant burn aside from the Man.
A Fish Out of Water
These fish in a 2018 Burning Man installation feel right at home in the dry, dusty desert air. This year's theme was "I, Robot," so we're not sure how fish fit into the grand scheme of things, but who really follows the theme at these festivals? Just look at the 2021 Met Gala...
Perhaps it could be hinting toward a Matrix-like future overrun by technology. There could be robot fish swimming through the skies, or scientists could have found a way to biologically engineer truly flying fish. It also could be a commentary on climate change due to global warming and wasteful innovation. Once the seas dry up, the fish will have nowhere to go.
A Missing Piece
Some people try to fill that hole in their heart with drugs, alcohol, or whirlwind romances. Others use Burning Man. There's no better place to dance away your woes and temporarily fill those empty spaces than at desert music festivals. As you can see, this art piece is relatively straightforward.
The piece is called the "Open Hearted Meditator." It's known by the community as OHM and is a popular installation. Standing at 13' tall, the piece is described by the artist Swig Miller on Burning Man's website as a gender-neutral figure "sitting in lotus with a literally ‘open heart’. OHM "represents the sacred space of the heart."
Disco balls meet giant Russian nesting dolls... You'll only find this stuff at Burning Man! We all know that the real purpose of Burning Man is to have a good time, which includes a lot of dancing, drinking, partying, and waking up in random art installations. Did we get that right?
Therefore, these art pieces actually make more sense than many of the others we've seen. What's more Burning Man than disco balls and neon lights? Plus, these figures are super cute. We can only assume that they're supposed to represent the colorful attendees, but you'd have to ask the artist personally for that precious info.
Sure, It's Pretty, But What Is It?
Burning Man is a special place where you can explore the intersections of art, geometry, and psychedelic drug use. What more could a young twenty-something who doesn't know what they're doing with their life ask for? This piece, also from 2018, is described as a "geodesic sphere," but all we can think about are childhood memories playing Kerplunk.
Created by FoldHaus Art Collective, Burning Man's website describes the "RadiaLumia" as five stories tall and "covered with a breathing skin of origami shells and radiant spikes. Its shape nods to radiolaria, a tiny protozoa with intricate mineral skeletons that covered the desert thousands of years ago, when it was once the sea floor... The shells open and close in response to visitors’ presence, constantly in motion, sometimes protecting the intimate interior of the sphere, sometimes revealing a glimpse of its heart."
Fit for a Pharaoh
So did ancient aliens help build this pyramid, too? We'd ask the Discovery Network about that, but it looks like we already know the answer. While it'd be totally in Burning Man fashionfor aliens to plop a shiny pyramid into the desert, this building was constructed by PlayAlchemist for their camp.
According to their website, "PlayAlchemist is designed in the spirit of Alchemy with the aesthetic influence of the Giza Plateau. The Grand Pyramid, inspired by Great Pyramid of Giza, is a gathering place, a sanctuary, and a retreat. Once inside this 71ft high, 111 ft. base pyramid you are initiated to embark on a journey of personal transformation through the seven stages of alchemy… while outside, the seven days of Burning Man unfold."
Sound camps are a big deal at Burning Man because music and dance appreciation are key parts of the festival. Many of these camps feature art pieces in themselves that hold all of the sound equipment necessary to transform a portion of the bare desert into a hot party spot.
In fact, a bunch of different sounds are so prevalent at the festival that the coordinators of Burning Man released new guidelines around sound camps. "Bass travels multi-directionally and cannot be effectively contained with any structures. This gives “sound” as an art form an unfair advantage over other art forms," the coordinators explained. "Burning Man is dedicated to radical self-expression, but it is also dedicated to creating community. This means we all must find a way to get along with our neighbors..."
Now Boarding First Class
Burning Man is the last place you want to catch a plane. Because let's be honest--your seatmates are gonna smell like they just spent nine days in the desert. And why there's a ton of bikers hanging around the hanger is beyond us. Perhaps it was an event catered to hippie cyclists who enjoy crashing into each other.
We can only assume that this plane isn't functional. It's probably an art piece that fits into that year's theme set forth by Burning Man coordinators. According to Burning Man's website, "The participants design and build all the art, activities, and events. Artwork at Burning Man includes experimental and interactive sculptures, buildings, performances and art cars, among other media." We assume planes are categorized as "other media."
Burning Man in Lights
Here's a glimpse of the 2019 Burning Man before he ultimately went down in flames. As you know, the 2020 Man was completely nonexistent due to the pandemic, but the 2021 festival came back in full swing. Not as many attendees showed up as in 2019, but 20,000 tickets sold sounds like a pretty solid number to us!
The entire festival is named after the Man, a giant wooden effigy, and it's burning on the second to last night of the event. While Burning Man is known for everything from techno raves to out-of-the-box art pieces, the burning of the Man is seen as the crux of the festival and can't go on without it.
A Quiet Moment
As you can tell, not every moment is action-packed at Burning Man. But even the quiet moments are equally surreal. Everywhere you turn, there's a far-off art piece surrounded by influencers, a sound camp blasting techno music, and people kicking up dust in makeshift cars. Nothing about the festival is dull, that's for sure.
The bad thing about camping in the desert is that you really can't escape the gaze of onlookers without a tent of your own, but the good thing is that there's plenty of space to lie flat on your back and stare at the clouds with only distant music to bother you.
Until Next Time
Burning Man might be life-changing, but it doesn't last forever! You've got to make your way back to the real world at some point. Packing up after witnessing The Man burn to the ground is probably a very odd feeling. Many describe the event as ethereal and a spiritual experience, so returning to the "real world" isn't exactly motivating.
Imagine what attendees look like after they depart from the desert and return to their suburban home or urban loft -- covered in dust and glitter with a glum expression on their face for having to go to work on Monday. At least they have the pictures to remember their time at Burning Man and brag about their desert adventures to jealous co-workers.