What is burning man? Burning man is about dust, men, woman, desert, sand, space, music, art, nakedness, hippie, cars, bicycle etc. In other words, Burning man is all things to all people who want to experience a parallel world. To the uninitiated it is a big, huge C or semi-cycle were people come together to get away from it all. Why is it called "Burning Man"? Well what else would you call it when a group of guys get together to set fire to a huge wooden effigy. You could have also called the event burning woman, but it just sounds wrong. Anyway, you get the point. You will be forgiven to think that the Burning Man is just an excuse for a big party in the desert when in reality, it is!
Where: Black Rock Desert. Where is that? The Black Rock Desert is an arid region in northern Nevada with a lakebed that is a dry remnant of Pleistocene Lake Lahontan. region is notable the area of 19th century Emigrant Trails to California, as a venue for land speed records." Source Wikipedia.
How much: Free, well it used to be free until someone figured he could make money out of the event. You should be willing to shell out more than 200 dollars. If you were to pay in Euros it might be cheaper. That is the price you have to pay for FEEDOM of expression.
Hippie Dogs: If you have a canine friend with a hippie tendency, you might want to bring him along. Unfortunately, you cannot. There is no amount of barking that will get you and your little friend inside the burning man. You would think a festival that prone radical free expression would allow an artistic dog to participate. Wrong! Even if your dog can do the moonwalk better than Michael Jackson, he is not getting in.
How big is the Man? It has grown over the years to an impressive 12 meters. You can imagine the sight of a 40 feet long wooden effigy set on fire. That is not something you will do in your back garden. That is why they took the event to the desert. That way, you don't burn down the whole neighborhood. We don't want a repeat of the Great Chicago Fire.
Money and credit card shopping: Money is only relevant before you get into the burning man, black rock desert location. Once you are inside, you will have to find another means of survival. You can hardly buy anything with cash not to talk about credit cards. Exchange is the order of the day. It is a give and take culture. If you don't have anything to give away, you could resort to dancing or begging and hope someone will oblige.
How long does it last: Not long enough for some burners (that is what participants are called). If it could last forever, then the most participants would be elated. Can you imagine living in constant trance and high? That is how some people feel about the festival hence, the longer the better. As the saying goes, every good thing must come to an end and that goes also for the burning man. Does that imply that the Burning Man party is a good thing? That is a different story. Once the big guy is roasted, the party is officially over and you have to pack your things and leave. You might opt to stay but living alone in the midst of a vast desert is not what you will consider doing. After you get your fill of artistic expression for a week, it is time to head back to oblivion. That is where the rest of the population resides.
What is being celebrated: Nothing and at the same time everything. The burning man party is about celebrating yourself, celebrating art, celebrating freedom, celebrating with others, celebrating space and celebrating the god of rebellion. This implies that you celebrate what you want. It is a feast for the eyes and mind. Do you need a reason to party? With more than 40000 people gathered at the event, you will have more than 40000 reasons to celebrate something.
Where are you clothes?: What clothes! Sporadic flesh flashing can be seen at the burning man event. Some people would like to go back to Genesis. At that time, skin was the latest in fashion statement because less was more. You can get away with this for a week at the event. You need not forget that you are in a desert, dust and sand can get everywhere. It should not really matter as the bible say "dust you are and to dust you will return". Clothing is optional, which means you don't have to be naked.
Why Attend: You've got more than 200 dollars entry fee to give away. You know where to find the Black Rock Desert. You don't have a dog to feed. You are running away from something. You have a week of spare time to waste. You want instant connection with more than 40000 people. You have a hippie penchant. You want to worship at the feet of a burning wooden effigy. You want to express you art radically. You, and all about you.
Why Stay Away: If you are the type that gets quickly addicted to freedom and self expression, you might find it hard get back to the real world. You might experience withdrawal syndrome. It is just like going on vacation for about a month and having to face the next Monday morning at work. It is even worse than that. Other reasons why you might want to stay away might be related to your faith. Can you imagine the Pope going to the burning man festival? Why would he want to attend? Because he wants to impart some spiritual enlightenment? This is similar to the hippie movement in the sixties and seventies. The burning man is not really a movement but more about people trying to experience something different for a few days. The burning man is like heroine, once you are hooked, you might not be able to find your way back. If you you not edgy enough and can't stand being around more than 40000 super charged edgy people, then the burning man is not for you.