The peculiar Burning Man festival is coming on August 28 to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. 350 participants will expose their artworks until September 5.
The festival started in 1986 when two friends, Larry Harvey and Jerry James improvised a wooden effigy, which they set on fire in the Baker beach of San Francisco, in California’s Bay Area. The peculiar sight got the attention of about twenty other people, a very different beat compared to the latest attendance rates of the festival. The tradition continued growing as years went by. In 1990, just four years after the first festival, the tradition moved from the beach to a desert, as the event had grown quite big and popular.
What is ‘Burning Man’?
The festival is, at heart, a gathering of thousands to celebrate art and freedom of expression. Participants build the Black Rock City in Nevada desert, which is dedicated to ten principles of inclusion, communal effort, immediacy, participation, self-reliance, self-expression, civic responsibility, decommodification, not leaving a trace and gifting.
The event is known for its many art creations and activities, which includes dance parties, ambitious creative and crowdfunded projects, costumes, and of course, the titular “Burning Man” to celebrate the humble beginnings of the festival. This year’s Burning Man is set to burn on September 3.
The festival will also burn your cash: how much are ticket prices?
Although the only things visitors can buy in the festival are practically limited to coffee and ice, a trip to the festival is not cheap. This year’s festival has a $390 price tag on its tickets, with an $80 vehicle pass on top of it. Low-income individuals can try to obtain one of the four thousand tickets available for them, after verifying their income.
People who couldn’t purchase a ticket while they were available can try to buy one from a reseller, which can be at least twice as expensive. Another expense to keep in mind is traveling costs. Patrons have to get to either of the principal departure hubs to the festival, which are Reno and San Francisco.
Reno tickets went from $75 to $80, and large luggage has an additional $20 fee; San Francisco tickets are more expensive at $107, with an extra fee of $50 for bikes. Alternatively, patrons, nicknamed Burners, can rent recreational vehicles (RVs), the smaller ones can cost upwards of $7,640.
If their auto insurance does not cover rented RVs, there’s an extra $30 per day fee for the insurance. Another alternative is buying a one-way ticket from Advantage Flight Solutions straight to the festival. Prices are $384 from Reno, $760 from Oakland, and $1,195 from Burbank.
Renting a private plane goes from $2,000 to $14,000 depending on departing location and size of the rented aircraft. The expenses do not end there. Besides the tickets to the festival and the travel costs, there’s also food and drink. Burners must supply their own drinks and meals.
The most important thing to bring in is plenty of water, as the desert weather is not kind to the unprepared. Additionally, there are camps which charge members for shared expenses, and Burners must bring appropriate clothing for the occasion, the desert isn’t just blisteringly hot in the day, it’s also surprisingly cold at night.
The frequent sandstorms make goggles, dust masks and boots a must. However, as noted in the ten principles, the backbone of the festival’s economy is giving and receiving gifts, which range from food and water to classes taught by other Burners, to the very elaborated art projects that dot the landscape.