For first-timers, as they are known in the official lingo, Burning Man can be a daunting experience. Organizers know this and have compiled a first-timers guide to help them navigate the experience. The harshness of the desert climate, with its blistering high temperatures in the day and icy lows at night, can test the mettle even of experienced partiers, not to mention the dust storms and torrential rain. The sheer immensity of the ‘playa’, the nickname by which the Black Rock desert is called by experienced burners, means that first-timers have to be careful and get their bearing.
Burners is the name given to veteran burners. These guys live by their own code, not immediately accessible to the uninitiated. Freakish carnivalesque costumes abound in the middle of performance art and bizarre statues; the theme this year (2013) for example is ‘Cargo Cults.’ The abundance of drugs and sex could prove tempting- but first timers might find that fear and loathing in the middle of nowhere is more than they can handle.
Despite all this Burning Man is undoubtedly a unique experience. As a celebration of creativity, of freedom and of the human spirit it is unmatched. Of course, come prepared. Bring supplies, lots of water, sun screen, be prepared to sleep rough, know that it’s not easy to go to and from the festival,
A carnival of musical and visual art set in the stunning backdrop of the Nevada desert, Burning Man promises to be a once in a life time event. Its ethos of giving and community building transcends hedonism and cannot be found in other festivals.