Burning Man: A Cultural Phenomenon
Once a year, thousands of people gather at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to co-create a sustaining metropolis built on the values of self-expression, self-reliance and communal contributions. Participants suspend everyday obligations to experience a place with no judgments or expectations in order to manifest a community with endless possibilities. For many returning burners, Burning Man is their second home and for new participants it is a life-changing experience. Only at Burning Man can you witness and participate in a utopian community, where creativity knows no bounds and the art of gifting expresses in-depth stories. Four FestPop staff writers attended Burning Man this year; Chris Hong, Karli Jaenike and Chris Rozzo popped their Burning Man cherries at Caravansary, this year’s art theme, while Tiffany Wood returned for her second year to the playa. At the end of the event, everyone packs up and leaves no trace that hints a city ever populating this desolate environment. What’s left from this experience are passionate memories and enlightening perspectives about Burning Man, where we all hope to return in the years to come.
You cannot just go to Burning Man. It takes months, even a year, of preparation. If you are virgin burners, you need to align yourselves with veterans so you are well-equipped for anything and everything expected and unexpected. “I camped with the same camp I did the year prior, bringing four virgins with me (one of whom was Chris Hong),” said second year burner Tiffany Wood. “We were located at 4:55 and Cinnamon, which was great because it was central and close to the Man. My camp could not think of a name, so we have been “No Name Camp” for the past four years. I am truly grateful for my camp as they have an amazing playa kitchen, shower and shade structures. Our camp consisted of 25 people, and each night groups of 4-5 would plan a dinner for the whole camp. One night, Chris used leftover apples, graham crackers (we forgot the marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores, FAIL), and maple syrup to make a delicious apple pie fresh off the oven grill. It might have been the playa belly talking, but that apple pie was the best thing I ate all week…possibly my life.”