Burning Man Festival, United States


The burning man is an alternative Festival in the United States where you find a week in a year from late August to early September to relax and celebrate.

In the middle of the Nevada desert is an extremely dry Lake and that is where the “Black Rock City” is found. A huge camping site where up to 50,000 Festival visitors from all over the world meet to celebrate together, party, make music, present art, or just romp.

At the burning man Festival in the United States (almost) everything is allowed. It all started as a hippie event on the beach of San Francisco before became mainstream. There are hippies with guitar now as well on the festival like yuppies and techno disciples who dance to electronic music.

Anybody who has experienced music festivals in Europe can expect Festival of the same luxury at the Burningman. The philosophy at Black Rock city is quite unique. There are for example no fixed bands that play, but everything is organized by the participants themselves. Most visitors join together in “camps” and organize their own little mini event. It is a mixture of Carnival, art exhibition, Nudism and a little music festival.

Money is a taboo on the grounds, so there is no buying and selling there on the grounds of the event. You can only buy water, soda and coffee in small cups at the camp center but not on the grounds. The revenues generated would go to the regions in India as donations.

When coming to the festivals, you have to come with enough supplies to last you for a week because you can’t get anything there since money is not allowed. It takes a lot to get used to things the way it is done there; there is also no phone or internet access. Just as electricity and water do not exist here and you have to make use of the Dixie toilets if you feel like using the toilet.

Important tips For Burningman Visitors

  • A camper (also known as RV / Caravan) is a must for every Festival visitor. There are sand storms with very fine sand. You should book as early as possible this camper as well as flights too. Reno city with its airport is the closest to Black Rock, but the flights are usually the most expensive here and the caravans cost 50% more during this time of the year. If you want to visit Burningman event, then you should fly to San Francisco and then borrow/rent a caravan from there.
  •  You need eating, drinking, hygiene items, clothing, etc. that would last you for a week here, and those will be checked at the entrance. On the festival itself, money is frowned upon. There is the possibility to buy cups way soda, water, coffee or tea, as well as bags of ice cubes only in Center camp, otherwise you won’t be able to buy anything at the burning man.
  •  Most visitors organize themselves into so-called “camps”. So search the place for other burning man visitors or organize yourself into a force, so you can divide on certain luxury stuff such as a generator or a bar-tent with each other
  • Black Rock City is located on a dried out Lake. Here there are no plants, stones, water or anything of the sort, but it has very fine, loamy sand just, the desert müt. There are always sand storms here and when it starts, you wouldn’t be able to see more than 2 meters from where you stand. This is why a mouth/nose guard is recommended, and you must bring it along with you, because you can’t buy it here. Unless you would want to just tie your clothes on your face like the cowboys. Multifunctional tube scarf is the best though, which you can easily wear around your neck when you don’t need it, and can also quickly pull over mouth and nose, if dust in the air is. Pair of sunglasses or ski goggles is also recommended, as they are also essential for the eyes. Two is always better, in case one breaks.
  • There are public toilets (Dixie toilets) on the whole site, so you should bring along toilet papers. There is no water for shower, just the little you can cook with, which should be in your motor home (caravan). You can clean out the body once or twice with little water and washcloth, but more or less it will remain unwashed. Through the dust and the wind you never feel sweaty or sticky so there isn’t much to worry about.
  • Commercial water tankers might come to render their services at the cost of $50 for a tanker full, with which you can fill up your water containers, then wash and cook.
  • Because there is there is money for you to go to any discos and bars for drinks and all, it is advised you bring enough alcohol that would last you the entire time.
  • Burnigman is huge. It is built with several main roads in a 3/4 circle to the outside. The main streets are named by time, E.g. 12:30, the outer rings are sorted by letter – A, B, C, etc. If you meet someone and ask where his camp is, for example, he would say “I live at 12:30 between Darwin and Earth on the right side”. A flag, high bar or similar is recommended to make your RV recognizable because they all look the same.
  • You should be sure to get a used bike which you would use in getting to places quickly and for when you might want to go and cruise a little. The Kiwanis Bikes program for burningman is terrific. For a few dollars, you could get a working bike which would benefit you a great deal. Noteworthy is the fact that only “mutant” vehicles and those vehicles which are creatively transformed are allowed to drive.
  • The burningman festival offers the Indian locals the opportunity to clean out the Caravans. You can see cleaning stations with the sign posts for cleaning services for both the interior & Exterior. If you do not keep your RV in order and clean, you will be surcharged by the owners when returning them. There are also places for “waste dumping”, here you can be disposed of the trash for a small fee.

Pictures of the burning man Festival

Videos of the burning man Festival

Germans describe their visit to burning man

Beginner’s Guide to burning man – basic info for newbies

The philosophy of burning man with impressive images vividly explained

Burning man Hula cam 2012

How to get to Black Rock City (Burningman)

Arrival by plane

The closest airport is Reno, and the flights to the Burningman are a tad expensive, also the RVs have special rates because of the festivals. To fly to San Francisco Airport and borrow/rent a large RV in advance is cheaper. In the United States, you can drive any size of car with a normal driving licence. One should be just over 21 years of age and must possess a credit card.

Driving through the San Francisco desert needs the RV running on a full tank and there are two expensive petrol stations which always have long queues, so you need to have your credit card in order to purchase fuel when needed.
Burning man has link to many road trips across the United States:
It is also a road trip through the West of the United States: to Las Vegas or Yosemite National Park, Los Angeles San Francisco, Reno, burning man, Reno, through Death Valley. You could also take a trip to Mexico, Tijuana, just turn off Camper on a guarded parking lot at the border and take a bus to San Francisco and from there coast along high.